WYDaily.com is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.
The Virginia Arts Festival is kicking off its 20th season Friday with live music and great food in downtown Norfolk.
The outdoor party will take place on the MacArthur Center Lawn, heralding the beginning of a season that is packed with art events that will span across Norfolk, Newport News, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach, Williamsburg and James City County.
Friday’s opening night party will begin with remarks from festival officials and Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim before segueing straight into the debut performance of the Virginia Arts Festival Bells – a 23-bell carillon that will serve as a roving ambassador for the Festival’s 20th celebration season and future seasons.
After the Bells wrap up their performance, Semi-Toned will take the stage. This award-winning, all-male a cappella group hailing from Exeter University is “famed for their dry humor, tight harmonies and even tighter trousers,” according to a recent Festival press release.
Hampton-based the Fuzz Band will wrap up the evening with its unique blend of R&B and funk.
In addition to enjoying the live music acts on display, partygoers will also have the chance to purchase food and beverages from a diverse line-up of vendors including California Pizza Kitchen, Capt’n Crabby’s and Karnage Asada.
Though the opening night festivities will wind down around 9 p.m., the Festival itself will only be winding up in the coming weeks.
This year’s highlights include a performance by cellist Yo-Yo Ma and pianist Emanuel Ax at Chrysler Hall on April 12, a Boyz II Men concert with the Virginia Symphony Orchestra at Chrysler Hall on May 22 and the multiday Virginia International Tattoo 2016, a performance of more than 1,500 musicians at Norfolk’s Scope Arena.
As for Festival events Historic Triangle residents can check out in their own neck of the woods, Grammy-winning musician Bruce Hornsby and his musical friends will be putting on a three-day Funhouse Fest from June 24 to 26 on the lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.
Locals can also head over to the Williamsburg Winery for two chamber concerts featuring classic musicians playing in an intimate setting. These shows will take place on June 23 and 24.
The opening night celebration is free and open to the public; gates open at 5 p.m. Parking is available in the MacArthur Mall north lot.
For more information on the Festival and to purchase tickets, click here or call 757-282-2822.