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The 2017 Richmond Jazz Festival — Another Instant Classic

sterlinggsms April 25, 2018
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Richmond Jazz Festival goers gathered by the Virginia is for Lovers stage to see Erykah Badu perform (photo credit: @_houseofo)

The eighth annual Richmond Jazz Festival was deemed an instant classic! We’re always thrilled at the opportunity to bring world-class talent to the heart of our beautiful city for an amazing cultural experience full of music, art and cuisine. Following an incredible lineup and amazing experience at last year’s festival, this year followed suit and we were able to bring together an awesome community of music lovers, festival goers and visitors from all over the world in near-perfect seasonal temperatures.

This year’s visual theme captures Richmond’s culture and one of music’s most recognizable instruments — the guitar. The work of local street artists Hamilton Glass, Ed Trask, Matt Lively and Mark Jenkins is collaged onto the guitar’s frame. The vibrant array of colors and unique subject matter fuses well with what the guitar represents — a multi-faceted instrument used for virtually all music genres.

In late May, we hosted our Richmond Jazz Festival artist release event at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. The festival lineup included world-class talent such as Pat Metheny, Erykah Badu and Common with the Richmond Symphony.

Front cover of the 2017 Richmond Jazz Festival newspaper

As an effort to heighten awareness for the festival, we published newspapers that included information about the festival, the performers, news stories and more! The newspapers were available, free of charge, in most coffee shops and major businesses around the city. We also created a digital version, so that our out of town Richmond Jazz Festival fans could join in the excitement.

The 2017 Richmond Jazz Festival App

Festival attendees loved the Richmond Jazz Festival app due to its user-friendly interface and real-time connectivity. The app included an interactive map, a social feed which users populated with moments from the festival, artist performance schedules and much more!

CaRue, the ultimate pairing of music and Carytown culture

This year, we introduced an exciting prelude to the festival called CaRue — the ultimate pairing of music and Carytown culture. Teaming up with the Carytown Merchants Association and with a number of Carytown shops and restaurants serving as venues, patrons enjoyed 32 free, live performances by some of Richmond’s best local talent from August 5th through August 10th. We’re already looking forward to doing it again next year and growing CaRue in the years to come.

The Hippodrome Theater stage was set for Future Prospect featuring Sam Reed and legendary bassist Nathan East (photo credit: @_houseofo)

The 2017 festival’s official kick-off was a double-header of incredible music. On Thursday, Richmond citizens of all ages gathered at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery for an electric performance by Richmond’s own The Flavor Project, while the Bobby “BlackHat” Band had people on their feet at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. Friday was “Homegrown at the HIPP” at the historic Hippodrome Theatre in Jackson Ward. The packed house was blown away by a stellar performance from Future Prospect featuring the awe-inspiring Sam Reed. Legendary bassist Nathan East closed out the evening with a bang and set the high-energy tone for the rest of the weekend.

Common (photo credit: @visualsbybenjah)

On Saturday morning, Euphoria kicked off the day on the Virginia is for Lovers stage, followed by the one and only Pat Metheny, legendary blues duo TajMo and songstress Melanie Fiona. Common closed out the night accompanied by our very own Richmond Symphony with a performance that gave nods to some of Richmond’s most famous landmarks and included a touching tribute to all those affected by the tragic events that day in Charlottesville.

During a break between performances on the Virginia is for Lovers stage, we honored a very special festival attendee. Sonya Morton, a frequent Richmond Jazz Festival patron, had battled breast cancer for more than a year but was deemed cancer-free just a few months before the festival. Sonya and her husband were introduced on stage and she delivered a heartfelt, inspiring survivor message to the audience. Sonya and her family were also treated with the Richmond Jazz Festival premium C-Suite experience.

The Manhattan Transfer (photo credit: @joey_wharton)

On the Dominion Energy and Straight Ahead stages, music lovers were treated to performances by Joey DeFrancesco + the People, BJ the Chicago Kid, The Manhattan Transfer, Secret Society, Bob James, Jazmine Sullivan, Harvey Mason and Peabo Bryson, along with some of the region’s best musical talent.

Butterscotch (photo credit: @joey_wharton)

Sunday featured Legacy Unplugged, piano prodigy Joey Alexander, guitarist extraordinaire Norman Brown, one-woman symphony Butterscotch, Elle Varner, The Isley Brothers, David Benoit, Robert Cray and more. Erykah Badu closed out the festival with a soulful performance to an enthusiastic crowd of fans and patrons.

Chateau Ste. Michelle, a subsidiary winery of Ste. Michelle Wine Estates, served as the 2017 Richmond Jazz Festival wine sponsor. Chateau Ste. Michelle offered specialty wines in celebration of its 50th anniversary. (photo credit: @_houseofo)

Over the course of our four-day weekend, we welcomed thousands of guests and attendees and as always there was much more than music. Patrons enjoyed culinary delights from dozens of vendors under the Big Bistro Tent and complimentary wine tasting featuring Chateau Ste. Michelle Wines from Washington State. LIFEWTR was also on hand sampling their electrolyte-infused water, while three artists painted large canvases as diners looked on. Additionally, the giveaway of the TAG Heuer timepiece and Apple Watches, courtesy of Fink’s Jewelers and BMW of Midlothian respectively, generated excitement among Richmond Jazz Festival fans and the Greater Richmond community.

We want to thank all of the attendees, sponsors, vendors and performers for making this year’s festival another success!

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