The all-volunteer-run music, arts, and food festival is no more, at least temporarily. Andrew Cothern mourns its absence, and remembers all the good things it did for the city.
Photo by: Madison Price
Fall Line Fest, the two-day music festival that brought in acts like Big Freedia, The Hold Steady, and Death as well as a buttload (actual and unfortunate unit of measurement) of local bands, will not take place this year according to festival organizers. The all-volunteer run event was originally scheduled to take place November 6th-7th.
The FLF folks say the bad news is due to limited time and funding. When it came time to do Fall Line Fest again this year, says organizer Daniel White says the all-volunteer operation ran out of resources and energy.
Bringing in 100 bands to play a number of venues as well as hosting food and art events is definitely a big undertaking. And while I’m sad that Fall Line will not happen this year, I’m glad that this festival was able to bring something so great that Richmond desperately needed. As a festival attendee and promoter, I can say that the two years of Fall Line Fest were incredible. The first year, I saw at least 15 bands in venues around the city, experienced new artwork, and had some great food in the course of two nights. I was literally running back and forth between the venues in order to made sure I was catching all of the great music.
I watched Big Freedia twerk to a giant crowd, witnessed Death bring old school Detroit punk to the stage, and felt Fairweather damage my hearing. Fall Line introduced me to new artists like Kopecky Family Band, Landlady, San Fermin, Hop Along, Cruiser, and Rapsody–all of which I’m still listening to today. And, in the course of one weekend, I got to see many of my favorite Richmond acts, including Matthew E. White, Dead Fame, Jonathan Vassar, White Laces, DJ Mikemetic, Sundials, Anousheh, Lobo Marino, Chance Fischer, Sleepwalkers, and No BS! Brass Band. I wasn’t kidding when I say I saw A LOT of bands at this festival.
Fall Line Fest brought the city together–not just the artists and venues, but also the food community and art galleries. Venues were often packed, and everyone seemed eager to jump on board. Between all the music, the food panels, the brunch events, and even the “unofficial” Fall Line Fest events, like the WRIR Record Label Expo and the day shows at Ipanema and Steady Sounds, it felt like a true city-wide event.
“We were able to do something really special the last two years by bringing a unique festival experience to downtown Richmond,” White says. “We worked really hard to put on the festival, and we couldn’t have done it without all the help from our volunteers, venues, bands, restaurants, galleries sponsors, and attendees.”
I am so proud to have helped with this event, and much credit goes out to the festival organizers, who are some of the most dedicated music lovers in Richmond.
Even though Fall Line Fest will not take place this year, you can still get out there and support Richmond’s venues, restaurants, and galleries. That was the goal of FLF all along, as stated in their press release announcing the cancelation–“RVA has–and will continue to have–excellent and innovative music, food, and art. Go out and enjoy it!”
Strange Matter music booker and FLF board member Mark Osborne posted this on Facebook after the announcement: “Everybody still save the date of November 6th though…a couple of us are still doing a one-day fest then. Also still need a couple sponsors for it too if anybody has a rich uncle (with a business) trying to break into the music game.”
Will Fall Line Fest revive itself in some form in the future? Maybe. Organizers have not stated whether or not it’ll come back next year, but I sure hope so. Richmond’s music scene needs something like this.
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