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Arts & Entertainment

2nd Street Festival Announces Full Performance Schedule




The 2nd Street Festival returns this fall, Saturday-Sunday, October 7-8, marking its 35th anniversary! The FREE annual festival celebrates the rich culture of Downtown Richmond’s historic Jackson Ward neighborhood and is produced by Venture Richmond Events.

Over the years, it has become one of the Mid-Atlantic’s largest street festivals. Thousands visit historic Jackson Ward each year to reminisce about the days when 2nd Street was the heart and soul of Richmond’s African-American community and was known as “the Harlem of the South.” Today, Jackson Ward continues to be a thriving neighborhood and community.

The 2nd Street Festival is an annual celebration over two days that features three stages of live musical entertainment along with a Kidz Zone, popular food vendors, a marketplace and Artists Row to shop, and the Richmond Metropolitan Antique Car Club.

“As we unite and commemorate the 2nd Street Festival’s 35th celebration, we reflect on its longevity and value. In 1996, I started as an event volunteer and still love the festival twenty-seven years later,” said Sharon Bassard, events and booking manager with Venture Richmond Events. “I have witnessed the economic growth of the Jackson Ward community and am personally proud to be a part of the neighborhood’s success. Alongside Mavis Wynn, the festival’s operation manager, we spend most of each year producing the 2nd Street Festival. With a bit of patience and a lot of joy, we have seen Jackson Ward develop and grow just as the 2nd Street Festival grows and changes with it.” 

This year’s festival features headliner Average White Band on Saturday, October 7, on the Main Stage. Regarded as one of the top Soul, R&B and Jazz-Funk groups and first known for the timeless instrumental hit ‘Pick Up the Pieces,’ Average White Band’s appeal lies in their diverse songwriting and unique approach to rhythm and blues. With multiple gold and platinum albums and three Grammy nominations on the legendary Atlantic label, they were the first Brits to top the US Top 100 Singles, Albums and R&B charts. The six-piece band took their instrumental cues from jazz giants Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Al Green and Stevie Wonder to create their own authentic R&B blend, which, with the tongue-in-cheek name, happily surprised both black and white audiences alike.  

2nd Street Festival 2023 Stage Schedule

(Subject to change)



11:30 – 12:30pm   Aubrey Smalls Quartet

1:00 – 2:00pm      DJ Drake and MC Choco  

2:30 – 3:30pm      Rodney “The Soul Singer ” Stith

4:00 – 5:10pm      J Baxter & the S.A.U.C.E.

5:45 – 7:00pm      AVERAGE WHITE BAND



1:00 – 1:30pm      Michelle Lightfoot & Friends

2:00 – 2:30pm     Virginia Union University Choir

3:00 – 4:00pm     Legacy Band

4:45 – 6:00pm      I Would Die 4 U; A Musical Tribute to PRINCE




12:00 – 1:15pm     COUNTERPOINT featuring Wayne “Big Patt” Patterson

1:45 – 2:45pm      Debra Dean and the Key West Ensemble

3:15 – 4:15pm      Jason Jenkins Group

4:45 – 6:00pm    The Marvin Taylor Experience



1:00 – 2:10pm      Drummer, Billy Williams, Jr.

2:45 – 4:00pm     Carl Lester-El Quartet featuring Corey El 

4:45 – 6:00pm     Nathan Mitchell  



11:35 – 12:00pm        Welcome – Historic Jackson Ward Association- Janis Allen – Lift Every Voice and Sing – Milani Hopkins – Renaissance Roll Call – Gary Flowers

12:20 – 12:50pm        Sports Backer’s Fitness Warriors

1:20 – 2:20pm            Blendmasters Own DJ Hammer 

2:50 – 3:50pm           The Line Dance Prince – Carlos Vieira                         

4:10 – 4:30pm             Richmond Urban Dance


1:10 – 1:40pm      Village of Faith Ministry 

2:05 – 2:35pm      Carlehr Swanson

3:00 –3:30pm     Happiness Dance Studio performing Tap Dance  

4:00 – 5:00pm     The Johnny Lee Long Band

PLEASE NOTE: We suggest people bring their own chairs to best enjoy the shows at each stage.

Ceremonial Kick-Off Parade

The festival opens with Jackson Ward’s historic organizations. No floats needed as we recreate and honor the benevolent, religious, financial, fraternal/sororal and civic organizations that played a vital role in the history of the Jackson Ward neighborhood. The short parade starts at 11:15am on Saturday at 2nd and Broad Street and moves three blocks northward to the Eggleston Community Stage on Leigh Street for an opening welcome from the neighborhood association. Help to kick off the festival and show your community support! If your organization would like to be included in this parade, please contact Gary Flowers, our parade partner, at 773-230-3554 for more information. 

Featured Jazz Stage Artists,  The Marvin Taylor Experience and Nathan Mitchell

Richmond native and saxophonist, Marvin Taylor, has lived his life in pursuit of the joy and connection experience through the power of music. He has played with some of Jazz Music’s greatest including Dizzie Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Gladys Knight, Alex Bugnon, Kirk Whalum, Bob James and many others. Taylor performs Saturday, October 7 from 4:45-6:00pm on the Jazz Stage.    

Closing the Jazz Stage on Sunday is Nathan Mitchell. Back by popular demand, this Grammy nominated, and three-time NAACP Image Award keyboardist has performed twice at the festival  and is a fan favorite. He will be featured on Sunday, October 8 at 4:45pm. The Jazz Stage is booked by Desiree Roots Centeio.

Sunday’s Closing Performance, I Would Die 4U: A Musical Tribute to PRINCE

As a returning crowd favorite, this musical tribute band brings the electric joy and eclectic funk of Prince’s music to the stage with the recreations of Prince’s greatest hits, funkiest jams, and most soulful ballads. Accompanied by his incredibly talented band, Anthony Cosby, Jr. takes you on an unforgettable musical journey. Anthony is a musical theater performer based in Richmond 

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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.