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King University News :: King Photo Students Focus on Social Media at Bristol’s Rhythm & Roots Reunion

Every third weekend in September, the streets of downtown Bristol, TN/VA come alive with the sounds of Appalachia past, present, and future.  For the second year, King University’s Photography Department collaborated with Bristol Rhythm Roots Reunion (BRRR) to promote the festival instantaneously through social media.  King Photography met with bands one-on-one for video and photography sessions.

“King’s Photography Department’s project with BRRR this year was three fold in focus – social media, studio photography, and videography,” said Joe Strickland, assistant professor of photography for King University.  “We were able to cover the event from the stage to the streets.  Everything went exceedingly well.” 

“The Birthplace of Country Music® loves working with area colleges on special projects that give them real-world experience,” says Charlene Baker, director of marketing for the Birthplace of Country Music®, parent organization of Bristol Rhythm Roots Reunion. “This is the second year we have worked with King University students. Their work at Bristol Rhythm Roots Reunion is very valuable to us; they did a wonderful job. We hope to work with [King Photography] on other projects throughout the year.” 

Students utilized social media such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, to build the excitement among fans, encouraging them to make their way to BRRR to enjoy the multitude of bands and performers.  “We had a group of 12 students overseeing social media for BRRR,” said Strickland.  “They did a great job showcasing the venues through photos and posts to social media.  Although the photos were taken with the student’s cell phones, many turned out high quality images.”

In addition to managing social media for the festival, King Photography students collaborated with The Birthplace of Country Music® and L.C. King Manufacturing Company in conjunction with Live Breathing, a professional video group, to provide videography and studio photography for BRRR bands.  Both photography and video studios were set up in L.C. King’s downtown Bristol warehouse which houses manufacturing for the 100 year-old world famous Pointer Brand workwear. 

“It was a really solid experience,” said King senior Trevor Wentt. “We got to shoot with a bunch of bands all day Saturday from nine in the morning till around midnight.” 

Students had the privilege of working hand-in-hand with Live Breathing to film videos of festival performers on location.  They also used the plant as a backdrop for professional photography sessions with bands.  “Aesthetically, the backdrop of a working American clothing manufacturing plant was amazing.  This hands-on experience was truly invaluable for our students,” commented Strickland.

“L. C. King has always been open to visitors from around the world; there are none more welcome than locals,” said Ben Collins, director of brand and digital for the L.C. King Manufacturing Company. “Our relationship with King University is a real blessing, having been a true partner providing amazing interns and much more. We are happy to be an accessible place to learn real world skills in marketing and business. We enjoyed King Photography students being creative on site during Rhythm and Roots. Later in the year we plan to host a MBA student class visit where they will be exposed to manufacturing, fashion, strategy and more.”

“Our students experienced a fast-paced, hands-on real world experience for improving their skillset,” said Strickland.  “We are grateful to our partners for a truly amazing experience.”

For more information on King University’s Photography Department, visit or contact Joe Strickland at 423.652.4709 or  

Photo Note:  Photos in order top to bottom by King University Photography students Hillary Griffin, Sarah Guy, Trung Phan, and Trevor Wentt. Cover photo for story by Anna Walker.


King University is a Presbyterian, master's-level comprehensive university.  Founded in 1867 as King College, the University offers more than 90 majors, minors, pre-professional degrees and concentrations in fields such as business, nursing, law, medical and health sciences, pharmacy, education, and humanities.  Graduate programs are offered in business administration, education, and nursing.  A number of research, off-campus learning opportunities, and travel destinations are also available.  King University is a NCAA Division II and a Conference Carolinas member with 25 varsity athletic teams.  For more information about King University, visit  King University does not discriminate against academically qualified students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, age, or disability.  King University is certified by SCHEV to operate locations in Virginia.  For more information, contact the King University office at Southwest Virginia Community College, 309 College Road, Richlands, VA 24641.