Friday, December 8, 2023

Funhouse Fest may be gone, but a new festival has come to take its place

Bruce Hornsby performs Saturday, June 23, 2018, on the closing day of Funhouse Fest in downtown Williamsburg. (Bryan DeVasher/WYDaily)
Bruce Hornsby performs Saturday, June 23, 2018, on the closing day of Funhouse Fest in downtown Williamsburg. (WYDaily file photo)

A new music festival is descending on Williamsburg this summer.

Williamsburg Live is a new concert experience from the Virginia Arts Festival that will take place on the lawn in front of Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, Arts Festival officials said Tuesday.

The announcement comes just four months after Bruce Hornsby announced he would no longer continue the annual Funhouse Fest event, which was a two-day concert series each June that also took place on the lawn in front of the Arts Museums of Colonial Williamsburg.

In November, representatives from the Virginia Arts Festival said they were planning another two-day concert event to replace Funhouse Fest. Rob Cross, executive director for Virginia Arts Festival, said the organization had been planning to come out with an announcement about a replacement after the 2018 holiday season.

“We’ve been doing a weekend in Williamsburg for probably 20 years now,” he said. “So as part of Virginia Arts Festival, we had partnered with (Hornsby) in the past but he needed time to work on other projects. So we are moving forward and continuing with the same partners.”

There are a lot of similarities between Funhouse Fest and the new festival, Cross said, such as the location and partnership with Colonial Williamsburg and the food truck availability.

“The most exciting thing is the world-class performances we are bringing to Williamsburg,” he said.

The festival will kick-off on June 21 at 7:30 p.m. with an evening performance from nine-time Grammy winner Norah Jones, followed by Mandolin Orange and Emmylou Harris on June 22.

Tickets for the festival go on sale online on Friday.

In the past, Funhouse Fest has garnered $675,000, with $368,000 coming from ticket revenue of the 7,400 guests in 2018.

Cross said he expects there to be a similar turnout this year, despite the change of the festival’s name and backing of Hornsby.

“We are definitely expecting similar if not more attendance this year,” he said. “We are making it a weekend for Williamsburg, it’ll make it a destination location with world-class performers.”

Hornsby’s manager, Marc Allan, did not respond for comment.

Tickets for Williamsburg Live go on sale Friday and will be available online at, by phone at 757-282-2822, or in person at the Virginia Arts Festival Box Office at 440 Bank Street, Norfolk.

Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron
Alexa Doiron is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She graduated from Roanoke College and is currently working on a master’s degree in English at Virginia Commonwealth University. Alexa was born and raised in Williamsburg and enjoys writing stories about local flair. She began her career in journalism at the Warhill High School newspaper and, eight years later, still loves it. After working as a news editor in Blacksburg, Va., Alexa missed Williamsburg and decided to come back home. In her free time, she enjoys reading Jane Austen and playing with her puppy, Poe. Alexa can be reached at

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