RICHMOND, Va. -- Tuesday morning, Mayor Dwight Jones joined other community leaders in Chimborazo Park to announce the first ever East End Festival.
Councilwoman Cynthia Newbille hopes the three-day event will bring thousands of people to the East End to celebrate music and the arts, while enhancing lives of Richmond Public Schools music students.
The city is partnering with Richmond Symphony, Bon Secours, and Richmond Public Schools to host the festival; its official title is RVA East End Festival: The Gift of Music.
Bon Secours Richmond Health System has joined festival partners as a sponsor towards a pledged goal of $100,000 to provide musical instruments and related materials to students at Bellevue Elementary, Chimborazo Elementary, Fairfield Court Elementary, George Mason Elementary, Woodville Elementary, Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School, Armstrong High School and Franklin Military Academy.
Anchored by a performance by the Richmond Symphony under its new “Big Tent”, the festival will also give much professional, community and school groups a chance to perform on the Symphony’s new state-of-the-art outdoor stage.
Newbille said the event will be about celebrating music and talent but most of all it will be about improving the education and lives of Richmond students.
"It is one thing when you have a party, but this is a party with a purpose, that will provide the gift of music to our young people,” Newbille said.
Mayor Jones followed up by expressing how important he believes music classes are for students.
"This is going to bring into the lives of these young people, an open door and a clear window to cultural experiences that they might not otherwise have,” Jones said.
The East End festival dates are May 6 – 8.
Richmond’s favorite No BS! Brass Band, vocalist Desiree Roots and the Richmond Symphony will kick off the festival on Friday.
Saturday will include a variety of performances by students from Richmond Public Schools, the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra Program and many local artists – to be announced.
The festival will conclude Sunday afternoon with performances by local spoken word artists, gospel artists, and several church choirs. Other activities during the festival include, a “Kids Zone” featuring face painting, arts and crafts, a community mural project and other hands-on activities for children to enjoy.
The festival is intended to attract thousands of people from throughout the region over the course of the weekend. Local restaurants, craft beer, vendors, businesses and non-profits will also be featured. Festival admittance is free and open to the public.
Organizations, artists, and vendors who wish to participate in the festival should go to rvaeastendfest.com to complete an interest form. There will be limited performance time availability. Entry fees may apply to participating vendors.
Sponsor, business partnership and individual support opportunities are also available. For more information, please visit rvaeastendfest.com or call 804.788.4717.