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RVAHub Guide to the 15th Richmond Folk Festival

Starting on Friday, Brown’s Island, and the area around Tredegar will be filled to the brim with music and much, much more.

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The biggest and we believe the best festival in the area kicks off on Friday. This is the 15th Richmond Folk Festival and runs for 3 days full of not just music, you’ll find food, crafts, and fun for the kids. You could attend every hour of the festival and you’ll still miss something awesome. Here are some of the tools you’ll need to get the most out this weekend.

Festival Hours:

  • Friday, October 11: 6:00 PM – 10:00 PM
  • Saturday, October 12: Noon – 9:30 PM
  • Sunday, October 13: Noon – 6:00 PM

Check out the Performers:  Styles range from jazz to gospel to Irish and rockabilly and salsa and more. Obviously you’ll be checking out the names you know but make sure you stop and visit those performances that you’ve got no idea about. It’s amazing what you’ll discover.

Our DON’T MISS THIS NO MATTER WHAT PICK is CASYM Steel Orchestra

CASYM is a thunderous orchestra consisting entirely of steel pans—percussion instruments fashioned from 55-gallon oil drums and played with rubber-tipped mallets. The virtuosity of its members and the versatility of its repertoire demonstrates this instrument’s incredible range. Annual participants in the New York Caribbean Carnival, CASYM is not just a musical group but also an organization that uses music to inspire youth of Caribbean heritage to imagine a brighter future.

 

Our SECOND DON’T MISS THIS NO MATTER WHAT PICK is: Bombino

In Niger, a teenage Bombino befriended guitarist Haja Bebe, who provided the budding musician early gigs playing political rallies as well as a stage name derived from the Italian word for “little child,” a fitting nickname for the band’s youngest and smallest member. When Bombino’s first album became a hit on local radio in Niger, his music career took off. He still found time for a surprising excursion: serving as actress Angelina Jolie’s guide for a weeklong visit to the Niger desert. By 2011, however, Bombino was recording and touring internationally to far-reaching acclaim. In 2019, his album Deran was nominated for a Grammy® for Best World Music Album, making Bombino the first artist from Niger to be nominated for a Grammy®.

Despite achieving global stardom, Bombino remains devoted to singing about Tuareg life. Following after the trailblazing Tuareg guitarists who brought this music out from the front lines and refugee camps, he continues to combine traditional Berber sounds with a rock and roll swagger. Bombino harnesses this prodigious talent to share a message of peace and, as he eloquently explains, “to encourage pride in our people for all the beauty our culture possesses.”

 

Performance Schedule: Take a peek so you can plan ahead! When in doubt head to the Dominion Energy Dance Pavilion trust on this one, this spot is always hopping.

Getting There:

  • FREE parking and shuttle buses from City Stadium
  • Using Lyft to get dropped off at Canal and 7th? Get 20% off two rides to and from the Fest, Oct. 11-13. Enter RFF2019 in the Promos tab on the app to claim.
  • Ride your bike and park at 2nd and Byrd streets
  • Walk across the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge (or the T Pot, if you’re a local!)
  • Paid downtown parking is also available
  • Brand new this year RVA Tuk Tuk will be on site, providing free rides all 3 days of the event. If you haven’t seen RVA Tuk Tuk yet they’re cute three-wheeled vehicles that can seat up to four.

Maps and Directions

Admission: FREE! Enjoy all of the performances on all 7 stages, including the Richmond Times-Dispatch Virginia Folk Life Area & Stage, and the CarMax Family Area at no cost. Food, drink and merchandise are available for sale.

Since we’re talking about drink don’t miss out on the special brews at the WestRock Craft Beer Tent. The full schedule of beers can be found here.

Do NOT bring: Dogs (except for service animals) no matter how well behaved or friendly he is is not allowed.  This rule causes some consternation amongst some but the no dog rule is pretty much standard for all big music festivals. In fact, all the rules are pretty standard big music festival rules. Leave all your Coolers/large backpacks, Alcohol, Glass Bottles, Drugs or Weapons, Laser Pointers, Bikes, Skateboards, Inline Skates or Flying objects (drones, kites, frisbees, footballs) at home. These rules seem obvious but they’re broken every year.

Donations: This is probably the most important. Don’t forget to make a drop in the bucket! A $10 per day donation helps keep the Folk Festival FREE and is amazing small amount to pay for such a great festival. New this year, you can also Text to Donate: Text: FOLK To: 24365

Go to the Richmond Folk Festival website for even more festival info.

 

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Richard Hayes is the co-founder of RVAHub. When he isn't rounding up neighborhood news, he's likely watching soccer or chasing down the latest and greatest board game.

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Downtown

New report finds Virginia Capital Trail generated $8.9 million in local economic activity last year

The report concluded that the Capital Trail contributed approximately $8.9 million in economic activity during FY 2018-19. The Trail which has seen a 65% increase in trail usage in March and a 46% increase in April over last year, is a driving stimulus for local business, tourism, and economic activity, the report found.

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The Virginia Capital Trail Foundation recently released an economic impact report by the University of Richmond in collaboration with the Institute for Service Research, the findings were significant.

The report concluded that the Capital Trail contributed approximately $8.9 million in economic activity during FY 2018-19. The Trail which has seen a 65% increase in trail usage in March and a 46% increase in April over last year, is a driving stimulus for local business, tourism, and economic activity, the report found.

The full economic impact report can be found here.

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Community

Venture Richmond Spruces Up Downtown

There are 126 new hanging baskets installed along Broad Street from Belvidere to 12th Street in the Arts District and in the Shockoe neighborhood. Just one of the new beautification projects from Venture Richmond recently completed.

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Venture Richmond just completed efforts to enhance the downtown area including Canal Walk and Brown’s Island.

They’ve been funding beautification projects in the downtown area since 2013. Over the years they’ve worked with

Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens, Capital One volunteers, and Virginia BioTech Park volunteers.

“Beautification projects are critically important to Downtown and its gateway neighborhoods. They help to inspire civic pride, create a sense of place and enhance the environment for businesses, residents and visitors, as well as attracting bees and butterflies to our urban areas,” said Lucy Meade, Director of Economic Development and Community Relations.

This year’s beautification projects included:

  • 126 hanging baskets installed along Broad Street from Belvidere to 12th Street in the Arts District and in the Shockoe neighborhood
  • 24 planters on Broad Street, 3rd Street, and 5th Street
  • 13 planting beds in the 400 block of East Grace Street
  • 5 medians including two blocks of Broad St. from Foushee to 1st Street, 3rd Street and I-95 ramp; 12th and Canal streets, and 14th and Dock streets (last two complete in early July)
  • 300+ annuals planted along the Canal Walk and around the Headman Statue on Brown’s Island

In addition to items above, the Clean & Safe Program’s contractor, Community Business Group (CBG), a local minority-owned firm, has been providing the “essential service” of sidewalk cleaning seven days a week throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, they have collected 269,000 gallons of trash and leaves.

​Following damages that occurred to businesses during recent protests, Venture Richmond and CBG launched a new Graffiti Cleaning Pilot Program as part of Clean & Safe. Property owners and businesses in the Downtown Service District area can request help removing graffiti by emailing [email protected].

Another item you’ll see soon is social-distancing circles on Brown’s Island to help visitors mantain social distancing.

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Business

Venture Richmond teams up with city for “Picnic in a Parklet” program to assist businesses during reopening phases

“We acknowledge the difficulty Richmond businesses face when trying to safely reopen and want to do what we can to make that easier on them,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Riverfront and Downtown Placemaking for Venture Richmond. “Parklets have the potential to offer an attractive, comfortable space for customers to physically-distance adjacent to the business, which may be needed for a smoother reopening. We look forward to working with any business in the city that submits a request.”

RVAHub Staff

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Venture Richmond has announced a new initiative, “Picnic in a Parklet,” a program designed to assist Richmond restaurants and other businesses with Phase 2 and 3 of Forward Virginia. Through this new partnership with the City of Richmond, business owners can receive design and permitting assistance for their requests for more outdoor space, particularly parklets.

Parklets are outdoor patio spaces constructed in the on-street parking lane of the street in front of a business that can function as an area for customers to gather and/or take to-go orders and eat outside in a physically-distanced environment. Parklets are, by definition, public space; but, restaurants can offer lightly packaged to-go orders for people who simply want to dine in the parklet in front of the restaurant.

“Transforming our use of public space innovatively and sustainably requires partnerships just like this one,” said Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. “By linking the business and design communities, this program will expand the city’s growing network of creatively designed public spaces.”

Business-owners who are interested in temporarily converting an on-street parking space adjacent to their storefront into a parklet will be connected with Venture Richmond to better assess their needs. If a parklet will be helpful and appropriate, Venture Richmond will work with the American Institute of Architects Richmond Chapter (AIA Richmond) to connect businesses with a certified architect for pro-bono parklet design services. Venture Richmond will assist the applicant through the steps needed to obtain a permit from the City of Richmond.

“We acknowledge the difficulty Richmond businesses face when trying to safely reopen and want to do what we can to make that easier on them,” said Max Hepp-Buchanan, Director of Riverfront and Downtown Placemaking for Venture Richmond. “Parklets have the potential to offer an attractive, comfortable space for customers to physically-distance adjacent to the business, which may be needed for a smoother reopening. We look forward to working with any business in the city that submits a request.”

Unless otherwise specified or revoked, parklet permits are valid for three years. All requests within Richmond City limits will be considered.

Requests for parklets can be submitted through the RVA Strong website. General information about parklets can be found here, and more information about the City of Richmond’s Parklet Program can be found here.

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