Festival of the River: Three Days of Music, Art and Environment Under the Big Tent and on Brown’s Island

A unique coalition including The City of Richmond, Venture Richmond, the Richmond Symphony, VCU Institute for Contemporary Art, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, 1708 Gallery, James River Association, Capital Region Collaborative and other partners announces a special three-day event, The Festival of the River, which will take place on Brown’s Island June 8-10, 2018. This one-time festival will showcase the very best of the James River, Chesapeake Bay and the Richmond Region. Festival highlights will include contemporary art installations, performances under the Symphony’s “Big Tent,” cleanups along and around the River and family-friendly environmental education activities including Back to the Bay in celebration of Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week. For more information about Back to the Bay and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, click here.

The Festival planning committee includes over 30 partner organizations in addition to those listed above (see a full list below).

The current general schedule of activities is as follows:

Friday, June 8, 2018:

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  • Friday Cheers featuring Rhiannon Giddens and No BS! Brass band performing with the Richmond Symphony.

Saturday, June 9, 2018:

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  • Morning activities including region-wide cleanups along the James River and Chesapeake Bay Watershed
  • Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay presents Back to the Bay, family-friendly and educational activities in celebration of Chesapeake Bay Awareness Week
  • Performances by contemporary artists Hope Ginsburg, Paul Rucker, and Marinella Senatore are presented as part of VCU’s Institute for Contemporary Art’s opening exhibition Declaration, in collaboration with the Richmond Symphony and Sound Arts Richmond
  • Performances under the “Big Tent” throughout the day including tap-dancing phenomenon, Savion Glover performing with the Richmond Symphony
  • Walking Tours (schedule below):
    • 3pm – 4:15pm: Capital Trees
    • 3:45pm – 4:30pm: The Valentine
    • 4:30pm – 5:15pm: American Civil War Museum
    • 5:30pm – 6:30pm: James River Park System

Sunday, June 10, 2018:

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  • All are invited to a daytime picnic to create a ‘Richmond Community Member Quilt’ on Brown’s Island, Bring Your Own Blanket
  • Family concert by the Richmond Symphony

Other activities and artists to be announced. Stay Tuned!

The Festival is made possible through generous support received to date from the City of Richmond, E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation, Richard S. Reynolds Foundation, League of American Orchestras, National Endowment for the Arts, Virginia Commission for the Arts, Loveland Distributing, and Ballast Point Brewing Company.

Current Festival of the River Partners Include:

1708 Gallery

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

American Civil War Museum

Art on Wheels

Blue Sky Fund


Capital Region Collaborative

City of Richmond – Department of Public Utilities

City of Richmond – Department of Public Works

City of Richmond – Public Art Commission

Chesapeake Bay Commission

Chesapeake Bay Foundation

Children’s Museum of Richmond

Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU

James River Advisory Council

James River Outdoor Coalition

James River Parks System

Junior League of Richmond

Keep Virginia Beautiful

L.L. Bean Outdoor Discovery Schools

Middle James Roundtable

Pamunkey Indian Museum and Cultural Center

Peak Experiences

Reedville Fisherman’s Museum


Richmond Audubon Society

Richmond BridgePark Foundation

Richmond Region Tourism

Richmond Riverfront Plan

Richmond Symphony

Sound Arts Richmond

Studio Two Three

Tricycle Gardens

The Valentine

Venture Richmond

Virginia Canals and Navigation Society

VCU– Life Sciences Outreach

Virginia Conservation Network

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Virginia Department of Environmental Quality

Virginia Department of Forestry

Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries

The Virginia Institute of Marine Science

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts

Virginia State Parks

Vogt Oyster Co./Big Island Aquaculture