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Festival of the River Announces Saturday Programs Including Performance with Tony-Award Winning Tap Dancer Savion Glover and ICA Artists!

(April 13, 2018 – Richmond, Virginia) The Festival of the River is a three-day celebration of Music, Art, and Environment taking place on Brown’s Island June 8 -10, 2018. On Saturday evening, June 9th, Tony Award-winning tap dancer, choreographer, and producer Savion Glover will perform under the Big Tent with the Richmond Symphony. Also on Saturday, as an extension of the Institute for Contemporary Art’s inaugural exhibition Declaration, the ICA and Richmond Symphony are co-commissioning three new performances by artists Hope Ginsburg, Paul Rucker, and Marinella Senatore — each of which is created with a rich group of collaborators.

Accessibility is a main goal of the festival. While Saturday and Sunday will be ticketed, we ask participants to pay what they can/wish, as they are able. Tickets can be found at: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/festival-of-the-river-tickets-45066569322

Saturday’s artistic line-up is the latest announcement of Festival of the River Activities that already includes Friday Cheers with Rhiannon Giddens, No BS Brass Band and the Richmond Symphony. More exciting news to come!

Savion Glover will be dancing as the Richmond Symphony performs Duke Ellington’s famous Suite from “The River,” where Ellington successfully combines facets of European traditional classical music with elements of jazz. Mr. Glover, currently celebrating his 33rd year as a performing artist in show business, has a growing list of Broadway and film credits including The Tap Dance Kid, Black & Blue, Jelly’s Last Jam, Bring in ‘da Noise Bring in ‘da Funk, the movie Tap with Gregory Hines and Sammy Davis, Jr., Spike Lee’s Bamboozled, and the acclaimed Academy Award Winning 2006 Warner Brothers release of Happy Feet and Happy Feet 2. Most recently recognized for his award winning choreography in the acclaimed Broadway musical, Shuffle Along, Mr. Glover continues to focus on bringing attention to the art form of Tap Dance as an instrumental component as well as maintaining a highly entertaining visual. In his hometown of Newark, New Jersey, Savion Glover established The HooFeRzCLuB School for Tap as well as Savion Glover Productions, highlighting the tradition of tap dancing and sound, and serving as a team-based organization that seeks to provide quality production and project management services for tap dancers.

Hope Ginsberg’s Land Dive Team: Amphibious James (2018) draws inspiration from the James River’s lush ecosystem. It is one of a series of Land Dives in which Ginsburg and others meditate in full scuba gear on land (or, as here, amphibiously). In those actions, the divers pay close attention to each site and its potential futures. A small group of divers and classically trained woodwind musicians will perform a new composition on land. Concurrently, several divers will walk into the James, broadcasting live audio.

Paul Rucker will be presenting Richmond: 7 to 7 (2018) with Vaughn Garland and the People’s Record of Richmond. This new symphonic work is composed by Rucker and performed in collaboration with members of the Richmond Symphony as well as musicians and students from VCU and the greater Richmond community. This musical performance will incorporate audio reflections by Richmond citizens on topics of racism and healing gathered by Garland and Rucker on one day in May, 2018—talking with citizens from 7am to 7pm at sites along the James River. Both Rucker and Garland are concerned with making space for voices and histories that are sometimes left out of civic conversations and historical narratives. The work continues Rucker’s ongoing investigation of structural and systemic racism and complements his large installation Storm in the Time of Shelter, presented at the ICA during Declaration.

In Richmond: Symphony of a City (2018), Marinella Senatore will create a large-scale participatory performance centering on a “radio drama”—an audio collage about Richmond, based in part on stories gathered from the city’s residents through an open call. The radio drama will be performed live under the Big Tent. During a prologue, community performers will activate other sites on the island and call attention to the performance; an epilogue will direct audience members to the next performance. The radio drama is directed by Tawnya Pettiford-Wates, a VCU professor and artistic director for The Conciliation Project, a non-profit social justice theater company based in Richmond. It will be recorded and broadcast later on local radio, and archived for further dissemination by the ICA. This performance is linked to Senatore’s Estman Radio project which will be presented at the ICA during Declaration — an installation that functions as a community radio platform, where any visitor can record and share their thoughts with others.

These performances reinforce shared values: both the Symphony and ICA are committed to providing inclusive platforms, supporting the development of powerful new creative works, and fostering collaborations that reach into the city and allow wide audiences to experience the transformative power of art. These three performances are also presented in conjunction with Sound Arts Richmond, a summer-long initiative to present sound art projects around the city.

The Festival of the River 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. This one-time festival will feature artists like Rhiannon Giddens, No BS! Brass Band, Savion Glover, Paul Rucker, Marinella Senatore, and Hope Ginsberg, and will showcase the very best of the James River, Chesapeake Bay, and the Richmond Region.

The Festival planning committee includes over 30 partner organizations (see full list below schedule) steered by a coalition between the City of Richmond, Venture Richmond, the Richmond Symphony, VCU Institute for Contemporary Art, Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay, 1708 Gallery, James River Association, and Capital Region Collaborative.

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.

The current general schedule of activities is as follows:

Friday, June 8, 2018 ($10/ticket)

Tickets: https://www.myticketstobuy.com/event/1277

  • Friday Cheers with Rhiannon Giddens and No BS! Brass in performances with the Richmond Symphony


Saturday, June 9, 2018

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/festival-of-the-river-tickets-45066569322

  • 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 Ginsberg, 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


Sunday, June 10, 2018

Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/festival-of-the-river-tickets-45066569322

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


Other activities and artists to be announced. Stay Tuned!


Current Festival of the River Partners Include:

1708 Gallery

Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay

American Civil War Museum

Art on Wheels



Capital Region Collaborative

Capital Trees

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

Chesapeake Climate Action Network

Children’s Museum of Richmond

James River Advisory Council

James River Association

James River Outdoor Coalition

James River Parks System

Junior League of Richmond

Keep Henrico Beautiful

Keep Virginia Beautiful


Pamunkey Indian Museum & Cultural Center

Richmond Region Tourism

Richmond Riverfront Plan

Richmond Symphony

Sound Arts Richmond

Studio Two Three

The Valentine

Venture Richmond

Virginia Canals and Navigation Society

VCU – Department of Dance

VCU– Institute for Contemporary Art

VCU– Life Sciences Outreach

Virginia Conservation Network

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation

Visual Arts Center

WCVE / The Community Idea Stations


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Erin Frye

Marketing and PR Manager

804.788.4717 ext. 121



Scott Dodson

Director of Advancement and Patron Communications

804.788.4717 ext. 120