Bruce Hornsby to Perform, Organize Festival Williamsburg Shows

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Courtesy Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers
Courtesy Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers

Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers will perform in Williamsburg for the second year in a row.

Hornsby, a Grammy-winning artist and lifelong Williamsburg resident, will not only put on at least one show on the lawn of the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Art Museum in Colonial Williamsburg, but also invite some of his famous friends to participate in a string of shows for Festival Williamsburg.

The festival, which is part of the Virginia Arts Festival and celebrating its 20th season, announced Hornsby’s involvement at a presentation for Williamsburg City Council’s work session.

Though it traditionally has taken place over Memorial Day weekend, Festival Williamsburg has moved its schedule to June 23 through 26. The shows at DeWitt Wallace will take place Friday through Sunday, or June 24 through 26; both a tented portion of the lawn and an open area will seat about 1,500 people each for a total capacity of about 3,000.

Previously, the festival’s large-scale shows took place in the Virginia Room of the Williamsburg Lodge, which has a capacity of about 900.

The weekend concert series will open Friday evening with a performance on the main stage on the art gallery lawn. Four performances will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

Festival Williamsburg has not yet announced when Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers will perform or whether the band will perform more than once over the weekend. Hornsby’s band is the only confirmed act at this time.

Hornsby, who is curating the lawn series, and his team are in final negotiations with several acts.

“He’s calling on his friends from around the world because Bruce has worked and continues to work with the best artists in folk, jazz, blues and rock,” said Robert Cross, executive director of Festival Williamsburg. “… If all the people who Bruce is talking to confirm, it’s going to be a remarkable weekend for the festival and the city.”

Because of Hornsby’s success in multiple genres, the festival will benefit from his connection to an array of artists that will give the festival a “vibrancy and recognition” outside the local market when it comes to attendees, Cross said in an interview with WYDaily.

The full lineup is expected to be announced the last week of February. Tickets are expected to go on sale March 4.

Though Hornsby has committed only to curating the 20th season, Festival Williamsburg is hoping to maintain the partnership beyond 2016, Cross said.

Hornsby last performed in Williamsburg as part of 92.3 The Tide’s 10th birthday celebration at Lake Matoaka Amphitheatre last May – an event Cross said inspired Hornsby “to do something bigger in his hometown.”

Virginia Arts Festival organizers will be working with the City of Williamsburg and Colonial Williamsburg on a parking and shuttle plan, as well as other logistics, in the coming weeks.