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Arts & Entertainment

Five Must See Richmond Folk Festival Acts

The goal is obviously to see them all but these are the ones we’re most excited to see.

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It’s my favorite weekend in Richmond. Performers throughout the world descend on Richmond for the Richmond Folk Festival and give us three days of free music. Every year I discover new sounds or styles I’ve never heard of and that discovery is great and I’m sure will happen again. This list is of bands that I know for sure I’ll be catching unless of course one of those surprises sucks me in. Fortunately, four of the five picks play multiple times.

Also, check out this Spotify list made by a friend of the Richmond Folk Festival that has most of the bands.

Son Rompe Pera – Punk Marimba and Cumbia

What happens when you take a punk band and set them in front of some traditional Mexican instruments? The answer is Son Rompe Pera.

NPR has a great article on their history.

After all, its members first cut their teeth as musicians in the streets, alongside neighbors and friends. They began performing nearly 20 years ago as a traditional marimba band led by their father José Gama Sr., who enlisted sons Kacho, Mongo and Kilos to flesh out the ensemble. Son Rompe Pera would frequently perform at weddings and private parties, running through cumbia, danzón and cha-cha-chá classics, and even a few pop-rock favorites by Timbiriche and El Tri.

As they grew up, the boys veered off into rock ‘n’ roll, playing in punk bands around Mexico City and Mexico State’s gritty underground. They continued performing with their father, but also got into skateboarding and psych music, soaking up experiences that expanded their worldview to reframe rock and cumbia as allied genres instead of foes. Tradition and modernity coexist peacefully within Son Rompe Pera, and cumbia is still very much its backbone. Even as the brothers’ love of punk and rockabilly began poking through their crisp guayaberas with colorful tattoos and coiffed, greaser hair, cumbia has always guided them back home.

Richmond Folk Festival Bio

Led by marimberos Kacho and Mongo Gama, who play the melody and bass parts, respectively, the group also features Kilos Gama on auxiliary percussion, Richi López on drums, and Raul Albarrán on bass guitar. Together, they bring a powerfully cathartic, playful energy to the stage, which is met with frenetic, ecstatic dancing—pulling everyone from cumbia dancers to metalheads onto the same dancefloor. “I always try to transform myself and be what I am, says Kacho. “I always try to get that across to the people.” The way Mongo sees it, “it’s all about sweat, energy, and cumbia.”

Saturday

  • 5:30 Dominion Energy Dance Pavilion
  • 8:30 Altria Stage

Sunday

  • 5:00 Altria Stage

 

 

79rs Gang – Black Masking Carnival Music

I love nearly anything out of New Orleans. When you combine dramatic costumes with a rich history and New Orleans funk, hip hop, and R&B you can’t go wrong.

Richmond Folk Festival Bio

“Masking” in New Orleans refers to “Black Masking Indians” or “Mardi Gras Indians” ceremonially stepping into the streets in their hand-sewn, three-dimensional feathered and beaded suits. Though exact origins are hard to pinpoint, since at least the 19th century Black New Orleanians have paid homage to Native Americans who assisted their enslaved ancestors on Mardi Gras—the final day of Carnival. Through a spectacular display of Afrocentric visual, musical, and theatrical arts, they represent their neighborhoods—moving through and confronting one another in city streets with tambourines and cowbells, and performing a shared canon of call-and-response chants that, over generations, has influenced virtually all of the city’s signature music traditions. The Wild Magnolias, a famous Black masking gang, made history in 1970 when Big Chiefs Bo Dollis and Monk Boudreaux added funk musicians on several game-changing records. Fifty years later in 2020, 79rs Gang changed the game again—releasing Expect the Unexpected, a groundbreaking record incorporating electronic elements and hip hop.

Saturday

  • 3:00 Altria Stage
  • 7:00 Dominion Energy Dance Pavilion

Sunday

  • 5:00 Dominion Energy Dance Pavilion

 

This one seems appropriate with the recent hurricane Ida that hit Florida so hard.

Scott Miller – Roots-rock Singer-songwriter

If I ever move out of Virginia, Scott Miller will be the one I turn to remind me of Virginia.  His skill as a songwriter manages to bring laughs, introspection, and more during a single set. He loves the history of Virginia but doesn’t glorify the lost cause.

Richmond Folk Festival Bio

Recently inducted to the East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame, fiery roots-rock singer-songwriter Scott Miller returned to his native Virginia to tend the family farm while continuing to release and perform new music informed by that rural area, history, and Appalachia. The Staunton native first made a name for himself in the 1990s as guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter with the superb pop rock band the V-Roys before establishing himself as a gifted and eclectic solo artist, first with his ad hoc group the Commonwealth and later on his own. Miller is one of Virginia’s most vivid, storytelling songwriters known for his ability to explore the complexities that are often entangled with everyday emotions, sometimes spurred on by the troubles, travails and complexities of today’s world.

Saturday

  • 3:15 Center for Cultural Vibrancy Virginia Folklife Stage

 

Jesse Daniel – Honky Tonk

This will make you feel like you’re sitting in a bar in Texas sipping Lone Star and working up the nerve to dance with that lovely across the bar. Bring your cowboy boots and a well worn hat.

NPR featured Jesse for one of their Live Sessions

 Daniel’s time in the Golden State wasn’t always so inspirational. A punk-rock kid who cut his teeth in the dive bars and local clubs that dot the San Lorenzo Valley, he developed a taste not only for the road, but also for the substances that sometimes come with a life spent onstage. As times got harder, so did the vices. What followed was a period of addiction, arrests, jail time, and rehabilitation centers. Years later, after reclaiming his life by kicking those habits to the curb, Daniel shines a light on his darker days with Rollin’ On’s autobiographical songs. “Champion,” with its Mariachi influences and Tex-Mex twang, tells the story of an old drug-dealing acquaintance of Daniel’s, while “Old at Heart” contrasts his youthful appearance with a history of hard living. Elsewhere, Daniel contrasts the bright boot-scootin’ bounce, pedal steel guitar, and fiddle riffs that fill “Only Money, Honey” with a frank account of a working musician’s financial struggles, then recounts his hometown hell-raising during the lovely, waltzing “Son of the San Lorenzo.” Don’t mistake Rollin’ On for an album that glorifies Jesse Daniel’s outlaw-worthy past, though. Jail time isn’t street cred. Instead, Rollin’ On finds its frontman reveling in his newfound health and happiness, reflecting on the roadblocks of his past to show just how far he’s come. Playing a crucial role in that forward momentum is his musical and romantic partner Jodi Lyford, who co-wrote much of the album’s material and sings harmonies throughout.

Richmond Folk Festival Bio

Jesse Daniel has a story to tell, and there’s nothing quite like honky-tonk music for delivering tales about life, love, and hard times. At just 30 years old, he’s had a rocky journey and done a lot of living and learning, imbuing his music with a striking honesty and authenticity. With a strong foundation in the Bakersfield sound of his native California, Jesse writes classic country songs with heart and grit, marked with a rollicking, hard-driving sound all his own.

In the world of classic country, California has always been on the map. Dubbed “the Bakersfield sound,” the state’s signature style was developed in the 1950s in and around the city of Bakersfield, located about 100 miles north of Los Angeles. The area was the destination for many southern and midwestern Dust Bowl migrants, collectively known as “Okies,” who brought their country music with them. Partially a response to the more highly produced Nashville style of the ’50s, the Bakersfield sound combined early honky-tonk and western swing with elements of rock and roll. Popularized by artists like Buck Owens and Merle Haggard, it became one of the most influential country sounds of the 1960s, inspiring a honky-tonk revival and forming the basis for 1970s country rock and outlaw country.

Friday

  • 7:30 Dominion Energy Dance Pavilion

Saturday

  • 2:00 Altria Stage

Sunday

  • 2:30 Dominion Energy Dance Pavilion

Korean Performing Arts Institute of Chicago – Pungmul and Samulnori

This won’t be for everyone because the drums can be a little harsh sounding at first. Those that stick it out will be treated to a visual and sound feast. Ribbons and drums galore.

Richmond Folk Festival Bio

All the pageantry and vibrant energy of a harvest festival in rural Korea comes together in the flying footwork, brilliantly colored dress, and joyful percussion of pungmul, breathtakingly presented by the master artists of the Korean Performing Arts Institute of Chicago.

Pungmul has long been central to celebrations in Korean farming communities where traditional agriculture was a communal undertaking. In most towns, musicians encouraged farmers in the fields, blessed crops, and entertained at festivals. Combining percussion, singing, and dance, pungmul is known for celebratory, hours-long performances. Skilled musicians and dancers propel the event, playing complex rhythms, creating mesmerizing, multicolored circular patterns with the long single ribbon on their sangmo hats, and performing thrilling acrobatic feats—but pungmul also made space for all to participate by joining the dance or tapping on a hand-held sogo drum. Pungmul served these festive and ritual functions for generations, and even took on political overtones when pro-democracy movements embraced it in the 1960s and 1970s.

Saturday

  • 3:45 Street Performance at Tredegar Plaza
  • 6:30 Carmax Stage

You can check out all the artists’ bios here and the full schedule here. You can tell me how wrong my picks are at the Folk Festival I’ll be there from start to finish.

Make sure we can keep having this festival by donating in the buckets at the festival $5 or more at least. It’s a bargain don’t be one of those dollar droppers. Also, you can donate online.

Bring your dancing/walking shoes and I’ll see y’all at the Richmond Folk Festival.

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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.

Arts & Entertainment

Punks for Presents Tickets on Sale Now

Punk music shows that provide presents for kids in need is a truly worthy cause.

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A Richmond punk rock Christmas tradition beginning in 2005. Christmas themed punk and metal parody bands putting on shows for charity every year!

You can learn more on Instagram or Facebook. Their still looking for prize donations and sponsors. Head over to one of those social media spots and drop them a DM.

Lineup

December 9, 2022 NIGHT 1 – THE CAMEL $10 ALL AGES
https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/5838562/punks-for-presents-at-the-camel-richmond-the-camel
IMAGINARY TOYS (THE CURE)
TOY DIVISION (JOY DIVISION)
X-MAS (X)
JOLLY HOLLY (BUDDY HOLLY)

December 10, 2022 NIGHT 2 – WONDERLAND $10 21+
https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/8522910/punks-for-presents-at-wonderland-richmond-wonderland
ROCKET QUEEN (GUNS N ROSES)
SMOOCH (KISS)
MERRYDETH (MEGADETH)

December 16, 2022 NIGHT 3 – RICHMOND MUSIC HALL $10 ALL AGES
https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/2384207/punks-for-presents-at-richmond-music-hall-richmond-richmond-music-hall
YOOL (TOOL)
SNO TEMPLE PILOTS (STONE TEMPLE PILOTS)
HIGH VOLTAGE (AC/DC)
SMASHING PRESENTS (SMASHING PUMPKINS
)SNOASIS (OASIS)

December 17, 2022 NIGHT 4 – HARDYWOOD $10 ALL AGES
https://www.etix.com/ticket/p/4831118/punks-for-presents-at-hardywood-richmond-hardywood
OPERATION ICY (OPERATION IVY)
DEC.ENDENTS (DESCENDENTS)
MXPXMAS (MXPX)
SALT, SWEAT, SUGAR-COOKIES (JIMMY EAT WORLD)
RUDOLPH THE RED NOSED REIN-QUEERS (THE QUEERS)
KRIS LITTLE KRINGLES (STIFF LITTLE FINGERS)

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We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Arts & Entertainment

VMFA announces upcoming exhibition “Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour — Frederick Douglass”

“We are thrilled to have Lessons of the Hour — Frederick Douglass in VMFA’s collection,” said Cassel Oliver. “Frederick Douglass’ powerful orations and the innovative and captivating cinematography of Issac Julien will help visitors better understand Douglass’ legacy and the relevance to our contemporary experience.”

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The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts (VMFA) this week announced the multi-screen film installation Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour — Frederick Douglass, on view at the museum in Richmond from December 10, 2022 through July 9, 2023. The installation is organized by Valerie Cassel Oliver, VMFA’s Sydney and Frances Lewis Family Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.

“The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is delighted to present this compelling work about Frederick Douglass, one of the most significant figures in American history,” said Alex Nyerges, VMFA’s Director and CEO. “Through his advocacy in abolition and women’s suffrage, he called on the nation to make important reforms and embrace human rights, regardless of race or gender.”

The Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will present the film as an immersive ten-screen experience as envisioned by its creator, internationally renowned London-born artist and filmmaker, Sir Isaac Julien. The work is a poetic meditation on the great abolitionist and features a series of vignettes from Douglass’ life prior to and during his travel to the United Kingdom in 1841. Using arresting visuals and sound, Julien brings the historical figure to life and collapses time and space to bridge history with the persistent concerns of our day.

“We are thrilled to have Lessons of the Hour — Frederick Douglass in VMFA’s collection,” said Cassel Oliver. “Frederick Douglass’ powerful orations and the innovative and captivating cinematography of Issac Julien will help visitors better understand Douglass’ legacy and the relevance to our contemporary experience.”

Douglass is portrayed by Shakespearean actor Ray Fearon in a series of fragmented scenes that are woven with spoken word, photography and contemporary footage to make the historic figure’s modern-day relevance and resonance undeniable. The 25-minute installation, which appears on multiple screens where images converge as a whole and then fragment into a montage, can be watched repeatedly, welcoming visitors to sit in the meditative space for a nonlinear viewing experience that makes each encounter with the work unique.

The installation also includes three tintype portraits — a collaboration between Julien and photographer Rob Ball — of the film’s subjects, Frederick Douglass, his wife Anna Murray Douglass and prominent African-American photographer J. P. Ball. Douglass was aware that words and images had powerful meaning. He used media, specifically photography, to counter the misperceptions of Black people in 19th-century America. Through a lifelong collaboration with Ball, Douglass had portraits taken of himself, portraying the Black body as noble and beautiful, and became the most photographed individual of the century.

The world premiere of the rare ten-screen film installation of Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour — Frederick Douglass took place in 2019, at the Memorial Art Gallery at the University of Rochester, which commissioned the film and partnered with VMFA to acquire the work for both museums’ permanent collections.

For more information about Isaac Julien: Lessons of the Hour — Frederick Douglass and programs related to the exhibition, visit www.VMFA.museum.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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Arts & Entertainment

Catch the Holiday Spirit at Maymont with Christmas tours, wreath workshops and a Merry Market

Check out the historic mansion decked out for the holidays, get your shopping done, and enjoy a merry good time at Maymont this holiday season.

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There’s no place like Maymont for the holidays, and something for everyone at the estate this time of year. First, starting November 18 through January 1, 2023, a special Christmas-themed audio tour will be offered at Maymont Mansion, which will be decorated for the season in Victorian style. The self-guided tour provides insights into the high pomp — and hard work — of holiday entertaining during the Gilded Age.

Second, the public is invited to create their own fresh evergreen wreaths in one of seven hands-on Wreath Workshops, Tuesday, November 29 – Saturday, December 3, under the expert guidance of Maymont staff. And a new event, Merry Market, Friday, December 2 & Saturday, December 3, celebrates winter with a two-day, pop-up holiday market of 50 local artisans, plus cozy fire pits, a festive holiday bar, live music, crafts for kids and a chance to take a selfie with Saint Nicholas.

The highlight of Merry Market is shopping for locally crafted, and imported handmade gifts in an outdoor marketplace surrounded by historic buildings draped in fresh evergreen garlands and twinkling lights on the Carriage House Lawn. Shoppers can stay fueled up with something tasty from the festive holiday bar and food vendors, and warm up around fire pits and outdoor heaters, while an a cappella vocal group and a jazz combo set the mood. Kids can make their own handmade gifts and decorations and snap a photo with Saint Nicholas.

Artisans will be selling a variety of hand-crafted accessories, décor, and housewares that make thoughtful gifts for the holidays. Among the offerings are stained glass artworks by KiYay Studios, pottery by Tana Makes, art prints by Laura Marr/FlourishRVA, fair-trade décor and accessories selected and imported by one little world, handmade jewelry by Bee is for Bead, gifts for nature lovers by Rabbit & Wren, handmade fabric products from India imported by Asha project, art by Abuelita’s, custom polymer jewelry by SassyHappy, woodworking by Southside Sawdust, plus, hand embroidery, candles, soaps, knitwear, pet treats and accessories, and much more!

“Merry Market is a chance for the community to celebrate the season with friends and neighbors in the unique historic setting at Maymont,” said Parke Richeson, Executive Director. “With live music, holiday lights, cozy fire pits, and crafts for kids, everyone will enjoy relaxing on the Carriage House Lawn along with a little holiday shopping with local small businesses and craftspeople.”

Saint Nicholas will be available for photos with the family, and children can also make their own gifts and holiday decorations at the crafts tent. A selection of food, desserts, hot coffee, cocoa, and other beverages will be available for separate purchase from food vendors, including Goatocado, The Cocky Rooster, Monique’s Crepes, Timber Pizza, and Pops Kettle Corn. The festive holiday bar will serve red wine and holiday craft beers to guests ages 21 and over.

Merry Market tickets may be purchased in advance or at the gate for $10 per person; $5 for children ages 3 – 12; and free for children ages 2 and under. Maymont members enjoy free admission. Guests who present an EBT card receive discounted tickets for $3 (on-site only) through the Museums for All program. All proceeds benefit Maymont.

Please note: Maymont will close at 4 pm on Friday, December 2, and 1 pm on Saturday, December 3, to prepare for Merry Market. Guests will enter Merry Market through the Historic Estate entrance at 1700 Hampton Street. Event parking is available at the Historic Estate parking lot and The Robins Nature Center, in addition to street parking. The Maymont Farm entrance is closed for the event. Merry Market takes place entirely outdoors, rain or shine, except in the case of severe weather. Guests are advised to wear weather-appropriate clothing and footwear suited for an outdoor lawn.

The Wreath Workshops tend to fill up in advance and include wreath supplies and refreshments, but guests are advised to bring their own snippers and gardening gloves. On Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2-3, Wreath Workshop admission ($55 per person, $41 for members) includes admission to Merry Market. Times vary; visit the events calendar for details.

Holiday Audio Tours are $8 per person, $6 for children ages 3 – 12, and free for Maymont Members and Museums for All participants.

Will you help support independent, local journalism?

We need your help. RVAHub is a small, independent publication, and we depend on our readers to help us provide a vital community service. If you enjoy our content, would you consider a donation as small as $5? We would be immensely grateful! Interested in advertising your business, organization, or event? Get the details here.

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