Not A True RVA Music Fest, But It’s A Start

I’m sure by now, you’ve been bombarded by information on this weekend’s big music festival – the RVA Music Fest. It’s safe to say that Shockoe Bottom is going to be insanely crowded and lots of good music will be heard.

The festival has been in the works for quite some time and if successful, could lead to an annual event of showing off some of the best music Richmond has to offer.

Just look at everything included in the two-day festival.

RVA Music Fest Showcases – Saturday, Sept. 10

  • Audra the Rapper, Nickelus F, Noah O, Artik Phreeze, Swordplay, Cain McCoy, Just Plain Ant, Ohbliv – The Camel
  • Club Luv featuring DJ EPOC – New York Deli
  • Dead Fame, Canary Oh Canary, League of Space Pirates – Balliceaux
  • Heavy Grinder, Nint3ndo, Ameera – Hat Factory
  • Long Arms, Loren Ipsum, No Dice -The Republic
  • Long Jawns – Bellytimber
  • Miniature Tigers, Baby Help Me Forget, Fire Bison, Marionette – Strange Matter
  • Downbeat Switch, The Kindling Kind, Mulle – Cafe Diem

The Main Event – Sunday, Sept. 11

  • Stage 1 – Girl Talk, Best Coast, the Trillions, the Diamond Center, White Laces, the Silent Age, Climbers
  • Stage 2 – No BS Brass Band, Goldrush, Black Girls, Antero, Luggage, Proverbial
  • DJ Tent – Doddie, Long Jawns and Bobby LaBeat of Audio Ammo; Mr. Jennings and Akasha of PLF; Shugadadde, JMungz and Rometti of Euphoria; M.A.S.S. FX and Skywalk3r of NLP; Jesse Split and Joanna O of Turnstyle

The After Party – Sunday, Sept. 11

  • The Men, Flechette, Caves Caverns – Strange Matter

Now, as awesome as this event is, all the acts playing are seriously focused on one particular scene. It’s completely catering to the indie rock and underground crowds – which is the typical crowd who reads RVA Magazine (the event’s sponsor). Don’t get me wrong, all the local bands participating are incredible and there is some amazing talent taking the stage, but Richmond’s folk, jazz and pop rock scenes are completely ignored. I wouldn’t get so worked up if the festival wasn’t touted as “The music festival of Richmond” and “showing off the best of local music” because it’s not. It’s only one small part of an even more amazing bigger scene.

And I’m surprised that Richmond’s two biggest music venues – The National and the Canal Club – are not included in the showcase evening (maybe because they are not advertisers in RVA Magazine, but I could be wrong on this). While they’re not on the official RVA Music Fest bill, The National and Canal Club are also hosting local acts the same evening.

  • The Canary Promise, East Coast Secondaries, Empire, Gandhi’s Gunmen, Others May Fall, The Weakest – The National
  • Seraph, Beyond The Victory, This Mountain is Man, Artifice, Silence is a Burden – The Canal Club

Hopefully if this festival becomes a yearly event, groups in other genres can be included in the lineup which would create a more diverse selection of artists and by doing so, bring in a lot more people.

In any case, the RVA Music Fest will be the place to be this weekend. Go and enjoy live local music.

4 thoughts on “Not A True RVA Music Fest, But It’s A Start

  1. Just to give you the perspective of a local musician: booking local indie rock shows at the National or Canal Club is an absolute nightmare.

  2. I have to take slight issue with your criticisms about what we chose to include on this fest. For one thing, getting far-reaching enough to include things like jazz and folk on a show like this is risky, because it threatens to dilute the support you’ll get from any one group within the local scene. If we did the best we could to make the bill as wide-ranging as possible, we could have gotten a lot more eclectic, but we may also have ended up with a bill that 90% of people looked at and only saw one or two acts they wanted to come see, thereby hurting our attendance. That said, we did feature No BS Brass Band, whom I would think would appeal to the jazz/folk crowd, and I don’t know why you included a reference to “pop rock” as a genre we neglected, considering the amount of bands that fit that description (Black Girls, White Laces, The Silent Age, The Diamond Center, etc) that were already on the bill.

    I feel like there are other festivals already being done that focus on things like jazz and folk–and yes, those festivals may pull a more wide-ranging crowd in terms of age than ours did. However, if we were going to draw the kinds of people who’d be most into the headlining acts we booked, we had to book support acts that mainly fit with that style. As I said before, I feel like we would have run the risk of watering down the bill and hurting our attendance if we’d gone any more wide-ranging with it. I personally would have liked to see some punk/metal groups on the bill, either for the showcases or the main event, but it was not to be, and I understand why that decision was ultimately made.

    Either way, the proof was in the pudding, and it seemed to me like a lot of people came out and had a really good time. I hope you and your readers were among that number, but if not, no worries–we’ll try to make next year’s an improvement on this year’s.

    Thanks, take care.
    Andrew Necci, editor-in-chief, RVA Magazine

    • I wasn’t able to make it, but plenty of my readers did and they all told me it was a great festival, so congrats on that. I can definitely understand the risk of diluting your crowd and keeping it focused on one scene to get a better turnout. This was by no means a negative criticism of your event or the bands playing (many of whom I support regularly). It was just an observation I had. There were acts I would have like to see included as I’m sure ones you would have liked as well. Hopefully, the event can grow into an even bigger festival next year.

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