FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Scientific American:Zollverein is a symbol of Germany’s transition away from fossil fuels toward renewable energy—a program called the Energiewende that aims to have 80 percent of the country’s energy generated from renewables by 2050. That program has transformed Germany into a global poster child for green energy. But what does the transition mean for residents of Essen and the rest of the Ruhr region—the former industrial coal belt—whose lives and livelihoods have been dramatically altered by the reduced demand for coal? The answer to that could hold some useful lessons for those undergoing similar transitions elsewhere.Spanning roughly 1,700 square miles (2,700 kilometers), the Ruhr Valley lies in the state of North-Rhine Westphalia, made up of 53 cities that came to depend on coal mining when it reached an industrial scale in the 1800s. At their height in the 1950s, the mines employed about 600,000 workers, entwining the region’s identity with coal.“Coal runs through my whole life,” says Spahn, whose grandfather, father and two sons were miners, too. But in the 1970s, as cheaper coal imports from other countries began to outcompete German production and drive down the price of domestic coal, it became unsustainable for the government to keep subsidizing the mines. At the same time, an appetite for green energy began in the 1970s, driven forward by a wave of anti-nuclear sentiment in Germany that gathered force after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986. And so, the phaseout of coal began.Today, only two hard coal mines remain, and in 2018 they’ll both be shut down. Germany continues to import hard coal from other countries for a substantial portion of its energy production—another habit it’s trying to kick, in line with its 2050 renewable energy target. The country also still extracts soft brown coal called lignite from hundreds of open-pit mines across the country. However, with the federal elections coming up in September, the phaseout of lignite is on the political agenda. Such a move would cost another several thousand jobs in the Ruhr alone—forcing the government to consider how to achieve a fair and final phaseout, and the role of renewable energy in that.The move away from hard coal has left a lingering legacy in some cities, where unemployment can exceed 10 percent. Still, overall it “was really a soft and just transition,” says Stefanie Groll, head of Environmental Policy and Sustainability at the Heinrich Boll Foundation in Berlin. “In the Ruhr area, union representatives and local politicians worked out a plan to compensate and requalify people who worked in the coal industry,” she says. For families like Spahn’s, it was a success: under pressure from the labor unions, the mines where his sons worked launched a proactive campaign in 1994 to train employees for different careers. “My one son is now a professional security guard and the other is a landscaper,” he says.The mines themselves have even become a cultural stage. A museum and gallery at Zollverein attracts over 250,000 visitors a year, and several other mines host music concerts, food and cultural festivals. In the nearby city of Bochum, an old industrial plant—now the site of the German Mining Museum—is surrounded with stately homes flanked by lush gardens. The change hasn’t gone unnoticed; the Ruhr was officially named Europe’s cultural capital in 2010.The Ruhr also has become attractive for businesses to invest. Zollverein, like many former mines, is now also home to several businesses. Artists, jewelry designers, choreographers, design firms and tourism companies are just a sampling of those who have made the trendy industrial space their home.In Gelsenkirchen, locals experience some of the highest unemployment rates, hovering around 15 percent. The city’s quiet streets betray signs of economic struggle, with many businesses boarded up. But since the 1990s, it has been trying to revisit its former industrial prosperity with the Science Park, a hub for regional business, which lies on the site of a former coal-powered steel plant. The building’s glass facade looks over a manmade lake flanked by rolling lawns, and its roof is outfitted with 900 solar panels that generate roughly one-third of the building’s electricity.“Gelsenkirchen was called the city of a thousand fires. It became the city of a thousand suns,”—a nod to the solar roof, and green energy technologies being developed at the park, says Hildegard Boisserée-Frühbuss, project manager at the park’s EnergyLab, a experimental laboratory that educates local students about renewable energies. The building now houses 51 businesses—mostly focused on science, technology and renewable energy development. Boisserée-Frühbuss spends her time working with local colleges and schools to give the youth exposure to these fields, in the hopes that they’ll be inspired to find employment there. “Once it was a steel foundry. Now the Science Park is a thinking factory,” she says.With the move toward renewables, how much the Ruhr will benefit—having sacrificed so much toward this clean energy goal—has become a primary focus. Some 330,000 people work in the renewable sector in Germany; 45,000 of those are in North-Rhine Westphalia—and that will grow, predicts Jan Dobertin from the National Association of Renewable Energies in North-Rhine Westphalia, known as LEE NRW. “The Ruhr region is now one of the biggest providers of green economy products and services, such as efficiency technologies, recycling or renewable energy,” Dobertin says. LEE NRW works with regional energy companies to build better political frameworks for integrating renewables in the Ruhr. “Our argument is that the renewable energy sector is much more employee intensive than [fossil fuels],” he says. A recent poll of Ruhr residents carried out by LEE NRW suggests that they have the public on their side: 64 percent of those polled want renewables to be a priority for the state government of North-Rhine Westphalia.In keeping with this trend, just outside the small city of Bottrop a plant called Prosper-Haniel—one of the two last hard coal mines in Germany—has become the frontline of a renewables experiment. Ahead of its closure in 2018, a consortium of local universities, consultants and mining operators are exploring the chance to turn the plant’s deep mine shaft into a hydroelectric storage facility. The plan is at a preliminary, exploratory stage, cautions André Niemann from the University of Essen-Duisburg, who is coordinating the research team. But if it works, it could store and provide power for over 400,000 local homes. He’s motivated by the chance to revive the industrial landscape he grew up in. “The question will be, what did we do to give the region back to the people?” he says.More: Germany’s Transition from Coal to Renewables Offers Lessons for the World The German Transition Model
Amazon, Installing Biggest Solar Array in New Jersey, Advances on Its Renewables Target FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:Amazon is not fooling around when it comes to renewable energy. The company’s web services division has set a mandate to move to 100% renewable energy, a goal that it shares with fellow technology giants Apple, ebay, Facebook, Google and Microsoft. But the parent company has not been idle either, and in May Amazon announced that it would install up to 41 MW of solar on 15 fulfillment centers by the end of the year.Yesterday the company announced that one of these installations has come online, which also happens to be the largest rooftop PV plants in the state of New Jersey. Roughly 20,000 Hanwha Q-Cells PV modules are mounted on Panel Claw Polar Bear III racking on the roof of an Amazon warehouse in Carteret, New Jersey, across the water from Staten Island, for a total of 4.98 MW-AC.Sol Systems developed, built and financed the project, which is now owned by IGS, which in turn sells the electricity generated to Amazon for a combination of on-site usage and net metering, and began producing electricity earlier this month.Amazon was the largest corporate buyer of renewable energy in the United States in 2016, but most of this was wind. In April the company filed an legal brief supporting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s continued implementation of the Clean Power Plan, which the Trump Administration has moved to either abandon or make meaningless.Amazon puts online New Jersey’s largest rooftop solar installation
Editorial: Propping Up U.S. Coal FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享New York Times:The fate of this boondoggle rests with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, an independent regulator that is not bound to do what the administration wants. Its five commissioners — three Republicans and two Democrats — ought to think carefully before casting their votes. Mr. Perry’s proposal could add around $11 billion a year to the cost of electricity, depending on how the rule is interpreted, according to four separate research reports. Yet it would do little to improve the electrical grid. That’s because less than one-hundredth of 1 percent of power failures between 2012 and 2016 were caused by fuel supply emergencies, according to the Rhodium Group, a research firm.Regrettably, facts do not seem to matter to Mr. Perry, who famously called for the elimination of the Energy Department without understanding what it does. He has used a number of disingenuous arguments to justify his cockamamie proposal, including suggesting that it would have helped the grid deal with emergencies like the 2014 polar vortex, when frigid winds slammed the Northeast. In fact, the grid worked reasonably well then thanks to wind turbines and demand response, the system where grid operators ask big electricity users to temporarily use less juice. By contrast, some coal-fired power plants were unable to generate electricity because their coal piles froze and their equipment malfunctioned in subfreezing temperatures.This proposal has been so poorly thought out that it has made odd bedfellows of groups that are often on opposing sides of big policy debates. The oil and gas industry, for instance, has teamed up with renewable energy and environmental groups to fight it. Eight former FERC commissioners from both parties have sent a letter opposing the plan, arguing that it “would be a significant step backward from the commission’s long and bipartisan evolution to transparent, open, competitive wholesale markets.”If the Trump administration were truly concerned about reliability and resilience, it would have taken time to study the issue and identify the grid’s weakest links. It would have found that many power failures are caused when hurricanes and other severe weather knock out transmission lines and other equipment. During Hurricane Harvey in Texas, where Mr. Perry was once governor, coal-fired power plants had to switch to natural gas because their fuel became too wet to be moved.There is no question the government needs to think about and prepare for more blackouts. Most scientists expect an increase in severe weather events because of climate change, which Mr. Trump has described as a “hoax.” But it is doing the country no favors by using electrical reliability as a ruse to prop up its favored fossil fuel and stick ratepayers with the bill.More: The Trump Administration’s Coal Bailout
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Charleston Gazette-Mail:While the energy industry awaits specifics on President Donald Trump’s plan to bail out struggling coal and nuclear plants, one coal waste plant in Marion County is hoping to stay open through state-level proceedings.The Grant Town Power Plant is at risk of shutting down as its owner, American Bituminous Power Partners, has been teetering on the verge of bankruptcy, according to company filings with the state Public Service Commission. The PSC denied in May the company’s proposal to increase its electric energy purchase agreement (EEPA) with FirstEnergy company Mon Power from $34.25 per megawatt hour to $40 per megawatt hour, which would have bumped up customer rates, so it could have a better chance at staying open.“Further…given the current energy market in [regional electric grid operator] PJM and AmBit’s financial condition, it is unlikely that AmBit will be able to emerge from bankruptcy as a going concern or be acquired by another entity without an amendment to the capacity rate under the existing EEPA,” said American Bituminous in its initial filing on the proposal.The Sierra Club has staunchly opposed the Grant Town plant’s EEPA, noting testimony from the state Consumer Advocate Division that said payments to the plant passed on to Mon Power customers “exceeded the market price of power by over $56 million” over a less-than-four-year period. “In approving the pass through of the cost of buying power from an outdated, dirty coal-plant, West Virginia’s PSC has shown that it favors bailing out corporate polluters over prioritizing West Virginia ratepayers and local economies,” Justin Raines, chair of the West Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club, said in a statement.The 80-megawatt plant, located at the site of the former Federal No. 1 mine, sells all of its energy to Mon Power under its current agreement. The plant burns waste coal from abandoned mines, consuming about 565,000 tons annually. It employs around 98 people full-time.American Bituminous has been in rough financial shape of late, saying in a March 2017 filing that it would owe an estimated $18.5 million to creditors in October.More: Proposal to sustain Marion County coal waste plant sees resistance West Virginia waste-coal plant on the edge of closing
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享Casper Star Tribune:Cloud Peak Energy, the coal giant that operates two Wyoming mines, filed for bankruptcy Friday amid mounting debt and declining demand.The filing follows months of troubling signs for the Powder River Basin operator, which for a time avoided the economic difficulties of its competitors but had of late experienced growing financial challenges as the market for its product diminished.The company’s filing indicated it had, as of the end of the year, nearly $929 million in assets and almost $635 million in total debts.In its announcement, the company said its mining operations would continue as normal as it moves through the bankruptcy process. But the filing represents the latest concerning episode for coal, which has been one of the main drivers of the state’s economy, along with oil and natural gas.Cloud Peak owns three Powder River Basin mines: the Antelope and Cordero Rojo in Wyoming and Spring Creek in Montana. The mines shipped 50 million tons of coal in 2018. Cloud Peak is Wyoming’s third-largest coal producer, and its mines represent 20 percent of the state’s coal miners in the Powder River Basin.Cloud Peak is the fourth major coal producer in Wyoming, the top coal-mining state, to file for bankruptcy in recent years. Bristol, Tennessee-based Alpha Natural Resources filed for bankruptcy in 2015, followed by top-producing Peabody Energy and Arch Coal in 2016. Westmoreland Coal, which operates the Kemmerer Mine in southwest Wyoming, filed for bankruptcy in October.More: Wyoming coal giant Cloud Peak files for bankruptcy Wyoming coal producer Cloud Peak files for bankruptcy
FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享BusinessGreen:The total pipeline of offshore wind projects worldwide has surged 47 per cent since January, signaling continued rapid growth for the sector as it weathers global supply chain disruptions and economic turbulence wrought by the coronavirus pandemic, according to RenewableUK.The latest edition of the UK trade association’s Offshore Wind Project Intelligence report today reveals the total capacity of offshore wind projects worldwide that are operational or in various development stages now stands at 197.4GW, up from 134.7GW in mid-January.The UK has retained its position as global offshore wind leader in the report, boasting a total pipeline of 41.3GW – up 12 per cent from January – while China has jumped from fourth to second place in the league table with an 80 per cent increase in offshore wind capacity from 14.5GW to 26.1GW over the period. The USA sits in third, meanwhile, with a total capacity of 16.3GW, followed by Brazil and Taiwan, according to RenewableUK.The report also notes that the UK remains the country with the most operational offshore wind in the world at 10.4GW, followed by Germany with 7.7GW and China with 4.6GW.Melanie Onn, deputy chief executive of RenewableUK, said the findings of the trade body’s report today demonstrated “enormous” global appetite for offshore wind projects as governments seek to transition their energy sources to cheaper, greener alternatives to fossil fuels in the coming years.[Cecilia Keating]More: Global offshore wind project pipeline surges in 2020 despite Covid-19 Global offshore wind pipeline nearing 200GW—RenewableUK
Russ Anderson at the southern terminus of the A.T.On his quest to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail, Russ Anderson of Linville, N.C., has endured hypothermic conditions, Army rangers with machine guns, and bears that know how to get food bags out of trees. Not bad for a 71-year-old retiree who’d never spent a night on the A.T. before deciding to hike it from end to end.How much of the A.T. have you hiked so far? I’m 178.5 miles in. I started in Springer, made it to the Nantahala Gorge, then skipped the Smokies and hiked into Damascus. This summer, I hope to start in Damascus and head north, then come back to do the Smokies in the winter.Is it as tough as everyone says? It’s like six or seven hours of extreme manual labor. Even if you’re 25 years old, it’s difficult. Those first days in Georgia were tough. Foggy, drizzling rain, cold, hail, sleet, freezing winds. Once I arrived at a shelter, I stripped off my rain gear and got into my sleeping bag. It took two hours to get warm again. But it’s worth it. The trail itself, the people I’ve met…it’s worth it.What does your wife think about you thru-hiking the A.T.? She doesn’t like it. A person my age is supposed to be the leader of a family. I’m not supposed to disappear for six months. In a sense, I feel like I’m cheating the people in my lives. My wife and I are empty nesters, so she’s alone when I’m out there hiking. Even my friends think I’m crazy. They say I’m going to get eaten by a bear or fall off a cliff.What made you decide to undertake this hike? I’m a retired naval officer. My life has been filled with unusual adventure. I just need more of that. Only 11 people over 70 have ever thru-hiked the A.T. And none of them had tried hiking it for the first time over 70. So that got me interested.What’s been your most memorable moment on the trail so far? My second night out, I was sleeping in a shelter with 10 other people. All of a sudden, I hear a big explosion. Then machine gun fire. Then I hear yelling and shouting. None of us knew what was going on. Everybody was wicked scared, thinking the Russians were coming or something. Turns out, we were in the middle of an Army Ranger training exercise. We sat there for two hours while things blew up all around us. 1 2
At present the U.S. Food and Drug Administration doesn’t require labels for foods with genetically modified ingredients, but labeling proponents believe consumers have a right to be able to make informed choices about which foods they put into their bodies and support with their pocketbooks. Dear EarthTalk: Can you fill me in on what the “Just Label It” campaign is and what it is trying to accomplish?— Eric Altieri, Columbus, OHJust Label It is an effort spearheaded by organic farmers and food producers, consumer and public health advocates and environmentalists to persuade the federal government to require that foods with genetically engineered (GE) ingredients be labeled accordingly. Consumers have a right, they believe, to be able to make informed choices about which foods they put into their bodies and support with their pocketbooks.Most Americans aren’t aware that some 80 percent of processed foods at grocery stores contain GE (also known as “genetically modified,” or GM) ingredients—yet in polls 93 percent of us support the notion of mandatory labeling of such foods. At present the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) doesn’t require labels for foods with GE ingredients.Proponents of Just Label It worry that genetically engineered plants (and animals) could wreak havoc on human health and natural ecosystems, given how little we know about them and their ability to proliferate beyond our control. Among the concerns: There has been no long-term health safety testing on GE ingredients because they are so new; unexpected mutations can occur which can introduce unknown toxins into the food supply; the increasing use of herbicide-resistant genes in crops is leading to the overuse of herbicides in general; and the planting of GE crops that are programmed to generate their own pesticides means that more pesticides are in our farms and fields than ever before. Perhaps most worrisome of all is that, unlike chemical pollution or even nuclear contamination, so-called “genetic pollution” (as some critics refer to GE) cannot be cleaned up after the fact once the proverbial genie is out of the bottle.“What unifies many of us is the belief that it’s our right to know,” Just Label It organizers report. The idea for the campaign grew out of a 2011 meeting of organic stakeholders organized by Organic Voices, a project that documents the oral history of organic farming and sustainable agriculture.The first order of business for the “Just Label It” campaign was to submit a legal petition—written by attorneys at the non-profit Center for Food Safety—to the FDA in September 2011 calling for the mandatory labeling of GE foods for sale in the United States. At this point, FDA is taking public comments on the petition and will issue a final ruling on it later in 2012.Consumers can make their opinions on the topic heard by FDA regulators by customizing and submitting the form letter available at the JustLabelIt.org home page. To date some 600,000 people have sent along comments to the FDA due to the campaign’s outreach efforts. Just Label It aims to get that number to one million by the end of spring 2012, and is now working with 450 different partner groups to help spread the word. Campaign organizers are hoping that this outpouring of support will resonate with FDA regulators when it comes time for them to decide whether or not the U.S. should join almost 50 other countries–including South Korea, Brazil, China, and the European Union—in requiring GE labeling across the board.CONTACTS: Just Label It, www.justlabelit.org; FDA, www.fda.gov; Center for Food Safety, www.centerforfoodsafety.org; Organic Voices, www.organicvoices.com.EarthTalk® is written and edited by Roddy Scheer and Doug Moss and is a registered trademark of E – The Environmental Magazine ( www.emagazine.com). Send questions to: email@example.com. Subscribe: www.emagazine.com/subscribe. Free Trial Issue: www.emagazine.com/trial.
Dear Mountain Mama,Running has always been my solace. To escape everyday stress, process loss, or deal with drama, I laced up my running shoes. Each time my foot struck the trail, I relaxed a bit more. With every exhale, a sense of calm and clarity replaced chaos. As my body found its rhythm, I experienced joy. Some runs I even felt invincible.But Boston changed all that. This week my legs felt as heavy as my heart. My mind turned over the bombs, the stolen lives, the injured runners, and then it rested on the dead-too-soon- eight-year old. What type of person does this? I feel like running has lost the sense of innocence. How do I find the courage to lace up my shoes?Yours, Gutted by BostonDear Gutted,Of course you’re mourning, Gutted by Boston. We all are. The running community is close-knit. The loss of one runner ripples through the souls of all of us. We think of those poor runners and spectators who came out expecting to celebrate physical accomplishments, and we shed tears for them and their families.Boston is also a very personal loss to all of us. First our government buildings, and then our airports and even our schools were tarnished by acts of violence. And now our most cherished marathon has been turned into something else. Races are where we go to be our very best selves. We go to push ourselves to do something and be someone that even we may not yet realize is possible. Now instead of hopes and dreams, Boston conjures up sad, horrible, scary, devastating, and ugly images.It’s impossible to even begin to imagine what kind of monster would be motivated to do something so sinister. The killers who set off the bombs have caused enough harm. To give those monsters the chance to replace the feel-good associations of running with nightmares is unacceptable.While we are powerless to undo the events that unfolded at Boston, we alone are responsible for our thoughts. We must not give that power to dark and evil people.Of course thoughts of Boston will stay in our minds. We will shake our heads, not able to process the enormity of what happened. Our hearts will remain heavy with loss.But when are thoughts turn to the events that unfolded at Boston, let’s also remember just how amazing runners are. Let’s remember how inspiring, encouraging, supportive, modest, decent, and hardworking the community is. When I ran this week, my thoughts turned to Boston. I pleaded with the universe to somehow make right out of the madness.And then I remembered the kindest act another runner once bestowed upon me. I’ve never told anyone this story, but I’ll tell you now, Gutted by Boston. My hope is in telling it that with the sadness you might also find the courage marvel at random kind acts others sometimes bestow upon us when we are at our most vulnerable.Years ago when I worked at a big corporate law firm and was billing eighty plus hour weeks, I dreamed of one thing. I wanted to qualify for Boston. That meant running a marathon in 3:40, roughly 8:20 minute miles. I carefully planned my training schedule and taped it above my bed.The week before my marathon, the closing of a multi-million dollar merger forced me to work into the wee early morning hours. Needless to say, my taper had not happened the way I had hoped. I hadn’t slept or got in my last few runs or eaten the way I had planned. Nor had I pooped. Not once, not all week.I fiber-loaded, but still nothing moved. My pants felt uncomfortably snug. All I could think about was clearing my intestines, one nice big toilet-filling expulsion.The morning of the race I toed the start line completely clogged. I hoped that things stayed put just a while longer, three hours and forty minutes longer to be precise.At first they did. I was hitting my splits. As I passed the thirteen-mile marker, I started to think that I just might quality for Boston.But a half mile later I felt that uncomfortable sensation, a tidal wave rippling through my intestines, quickly downward. I tried to shortening my stride. With every footstep, the pressure intensified. I realized I had to find a bathroom immediately. I panicked, looking around the paved streets, the concrete sidewalks, and the locked towering office buildings. I scooted off the course, down an alley, in an attempt to preserve some dignity.A male voice called after me, “I’ll cover you with my coat.”“No, I’m not peeing. It’s more.”“I know, I’ve been exactly where you are right now.”With his back turned to me, he held is coat to offer some semblance of privacy. Inches away I made the most gruesome sounds. And then a week of backed-up bowel movements rushed out. The whole time this kind stranger stoically held his coat between us.When I was finished, he offered me napkins. I couldn’t meet his gaze as I took them from his hands. Then he held out a bag for me to dispose of the napkins and encouraged me to finish my run.I wanted nothing more than to disappear in the shadows of the buildings. But when I looked that kind man in the eyes, I felt inspired. That was the first and only marathon I’ve ever finished. My time was exactly four hours.That man offered me comfort during a time when most others would have chastised me or looked the other way. At my most human and embarrassed moment, another runner possessed the grace to help.Gutted by Boston, we must look for the light during this time of darkness. We must search for our own uplifting and funny and human running stories. The best we can do is to share those stories and that love now. Gutted, lace up your shoes and run toward the light!Best,Mountain MamaGot a question for Mountain Mama? Send it here
Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion is just that, a reunion—a gathering of musicians from many genres of American music. Twenty crowded stages were scattered around downtown Bristol, packed at all times it seemed. Every corner I turned was full of beautiful music and amazing smells from the food vendors. Set up along State Street and Lee Street, vendors of all kinds were selling handmade goods, clothes, and most importantly, cold drinks.State Street / Joshua T. MooreFriday Evening At BristolMy wife and I arrived shortly after 6 p.m. on Friday via the shuttle bus from the Bristol Mall. I couldn’t believe this was my first time at the festival, as I live just thirty minutes away in Church Hill, Tenn. I stepped off the shuttle and made my way to State Street, which was packed with people hopping from one stage to the next, shopping, eating, and having a great time.Railroad Earth / Joshua T. MoorePeering down State Street, the State Street Stage sits right in the middle of the road, just below the Bristol sign. A perfect setting for the city of two states. I arrived just in time for The Waybacks, who are a fantastic Americana band and a great set up for Railroad Earth. Railroad Earth unsurprisingly played to a packed crowd and, as I listened, I couldn’t help but think that they reminded me of a country music Grateful Dead.Getting An Early Start On SaturdaySaturday came quickly and my wife and I made it to the festival early. We wanted to roam around and catch as many different bands as we could. Lauren Morrow of The Whiskey Gentry put on a great show at the Piedmont Stage. Meanwhile, Devon Gilfillian, a gospel-blues musician from Nashville entertained a large crowd on the nearby 6th Street stage.The War and Treaty w/ Ketch Secor of Old Crow / Joshua T. MooreI made my way back to the State Street Stage to hear The War and Treaty and was very impressed with this duo’s show. To top it off, Ketch Secor, of Old Crow Medicine Show joined them on stage to play harmonica for a song. The harmonica paired with the vocals of The War and Treaty so well that you could feel the energy as the crowd cheered them on. To be honest, it was great to see this kind of camaraderie between musicians. It really brought out the “Reunion” feel.Chris Hillman & Herb Pederson ft John Jorgenson & Mark Fain / Joshua T. MooreChris Hillman, a Country Music Hall of Famer, performed a great show with Herb Pederson, John Jorgenson, and Mark Fain.Folk Soul Revival, a local band, always draws a large audience known as the “Congregation.” They played an energy-packed show, with the crowd singing along to every song. I can’t think of a better band to open for Old Crow Medicine Show. They really set the tone for what I consider the best concert series I’ve ever been to.Folk Soul Revival / Joshua T. MooreOld Crow Medicine Show packed Bristol to the brim. As I looked out from the stage, all I could see were thousands of people crammed into every opening you could find. As the first chords were played to “Wagon Wheel,” you couldn’t hear anything but the roar of the crowd singing at the top of their lungs.Ketch Secor of Old Crow / Joshua T. MooreAs they left the stage for the evening, the audience cried for an encore! Of course, they more than graciously came back to play two more songs. However loud “Wagon Wheel” was, it was topped by none other than “Rocky Top.” That’s how you end a show, especially here in East Tennessee and Southwest Virginia.Sunday rolled around and as I started to calm down from an exciting night I began to wander around listening to great music. The Old 97’s played a great show, Dale Watson and his Lone Stars delivered a classic country set, but one small group that really grabbed my attention was Birds of Chicago. This was another husband and wife duo with an accompanying guitarist from Nashville.The original songs paired with the beautiful tones of the duo really drew me in. I loved every song they sang, which really topped off an amazing weekend of great music in a town known for music. The Birthplace of Country Music didn’t disappoint and left an impression I will never forget. This may have been my first Reunion, but it won’t be my last.