Battle at Bristol guide: What’s Happening, When, & Where

Bristol, TN (WJHL)  — When the football flies in the Battle at Bristol, many of the fans will have enjoyed three full days of pre-game celebrations.

With 150,000 plus fans coming for the University of Tennessee vs. Virginia Tech game, parties have been planned in all three of the Tri-Cities.

It’s an obvious economic boost, so the Chambers of Commerce created a website outlining pre-game events.  You can check out the complete directory here.

Here’s a streamlined ABC Tri-Cities guide to the must-attend events.

THURSDAY – September 8th

Brewfest at Bristol

5:30 – 9:30 p.m.
Downtown Center / Country Music Mural
810 State Street
Bristol, TN

A craft beer festival featuring more than 40 breweries and live music.
Tickets $50



Battle on the State Line Kickoff

6:00 – 10:00 p.m.
State Street
Bristol, TN

A free event to kick off the weekend of Battle at Bristol celebrations. Music groups “Folk Soul Revival,” “Brothers of the Highway” and “James Meadows” will perform on the Food City State Street main stage


9:15 p.m. – Bristol Sign Lighting

The iconic sign over State Street will be lit in orange and maroon bulbs.


Bootleg Bash

6:15 – 11:00 p.m.
Founders Park
120 Commerce Street
Johnson City, TN
Johnson City joins the celebration with a pre-game celebration at “Founder’s Park” featuring live music.


Inky Johnson at Dobyns Bennett

6:30 – 8:00 p.m.

Tickets: $5 in advance – $10 at the door

DB High School Dome

Former UT Player Inky Johnson will speak about overcoming a devastating injury through faith and perseverance.




Downtown Kingsport Patio Party

7:00 p.m.

Broad Street
Macado’s Restaurant and Bar

The City of Kingsport will close Broad Street as the Model City joins the Battle at Bristol pre-game party. The Catfish Frye Band will perform from 7-10 p.m. followed by karaoke until midnight. Macado’s Restaurant and Bar is the party host.



FRIDAY – September 9th


Battle on the State Line Pep Rally

11:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
State Street
Bristol, TN

Fans will meet former UT and VT players in a pep rally downtown. Live music starts at 11 a.m.. At 2 p.m., the Food City Sports Desk begins on the Main Stage hosted by ESPN host Dr. Jerry Punch, former Virginia Tech Head Coach Frank Beamers, BMS General Manager Jerry Caldwell and others. The Pep Rally starts at 3 p.m. when the UT and VT spirit squads and mascots take the main stage.



Honda Ridgeline Presents: Bristol’s Tailgate Party
Starring Kenny Chesney

6:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.

special guests “The Band Perry” and “Old Dominion”

The concert will be held inside Bristol Motor Speedway. Tickets can be purchased at

Parking lots, the ticket office, and the Interactive Fan Zone all open at 9 a.m.. Groups will perform on the Bud Light Stage starting at 2:00 p.m.

Gates open at 5:00 p.m.

Lance Stinson will perform after the main concerts starting at 10:15 p.m..



SATURDAY – September 10th

ON TV: Battle at Bristol Pre-Game Show

7 pm

ABC Tri-Cities

The show will get your ready for the big game with last-minute updates from Bristol Motor Speedway in a one hour broadcast event.


Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol

Parking lots and security check points open at 7:00 a.m..

The ticket office, Interactive Fan Zone, Guest Services, and Souvenir store open at 8:00 a.m..
Concerts start on the Bud Light Stage at 12:30 p.m..
Spectator gates open at 4:00 p.m..

5:30 p.m. Virginia Tech Hokie Walk at the Fan Zone Earhart East/ Blue Bridge

5:30 p.m. Tennessee Vol Walk at the Fan Midway / Orange Bridge

7:30 p.m. Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol Pre-Game Ceremonies
8:15 p.m. Pilot Flying J Battle at Bristol Kickoff

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