According to the University of Richmond's Office of the Registrar, approximately 300 undergraduate students will remain in Richmond this summer to take courses. Combining that with the city's average summer temperature of 85 degrees and venues willing to offer a variety of musical acts, the result will be a large number of options for summer music events. The four following venues provide a sample of the musical offerings in the area with acts ranging from bluegrass to ska punk and ticket prices ranging from free to $40.
Opening for its 24th season on May 9, Friday Cheers will offer a free concert series on Brown's Island, near downtown. The series will run every Friday until June 27. This event draws about 3,000-5,000 people per show according to festival manager Stephen Lecky. A local band is often featured as the opening act and followed by a national act. The music genre varies week-to week, ranging from jazz to reggae to rock and roll.
This year, one of the biggest acts to perform at Friday Cheers, according to Lecky, will be Carbon Leaf, a local rock band who has gained national recognition. Last year, they drew almost 7,000 people to their show at Friday Cheers. They will perform on May 16.
On May 30, another nationally recognized band, Arrested Development, will perform on Brown's Island. Arrested Development was a popular 1990s hip-hop group that acted as an alternative to "gangsta" rap. Their music, according to their Web site, promotes "family, spirituality and male responsibility."
Six other acts will perform and shows will last from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. The main public entrance is located at the corner of 7th Street and Tredegar Street. Beer trucks and food vendors will be available for the public.
"Our demographic is 18 to 45 years old," Lecky said. "It's a place to kick back on a Friday evening. For most college students it may be hard to come up with $20 to $25 for a ticket -- this a free event."
Toad's Place is one of the newest music venues in the city that provides a location for national acts to perform in the Richmond area. This summer, Toad's Place will provide diverse entertainment for a younger crowd. Event Planning Director Jerry Costa said its demographic ranged from ages 18 to 35.
"We hope to become more active with the colleges," Costa said. "Being more active with students lets us understand what artists they like."
Toad's Place does not book its acts very far in advance and tries to pick up performers as they tour near the Richmond area. This summer Toad's Place will feature acts such as rapper Rick Ross on May 18, southern rock band Sister Hazel on May 23 and ska punk band Less Than Jake on July 14. Ticket prices range from $10 to $40 on average. Toad's Place continually updates its calendar with new artists appearing daily. Toad's Place is located at 140 Virginia St. in the Shockoe Entertainment District along Canal Walk. The venue has a restaurant, Highwater Restaurant, attached to it and two separate bars.
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The National re-opened its doors this February for the first time since 1983. This summer it will host a variety of national acts on its vintage stage with ticket prices that range from $12 to $40.
On May 25, American rock band Augustana will perform and on May 29 punk band Pennywise will make an appearance. Folk rock artists the Indigo Girls will perform on May 31. This show will honor any tickets purchased for the canceled Indigo Girls concert that was supposed to take place at The Byrd Theater on Feb. 6.
In July, Denali, a local Indie rock band, will play at the National in a reunion show. This will be the first time the band has performed together since breaking up in 2004. Two special events will take place in July as well. On July 8, Weird Al Yankovic will perform his greatest hits and on July 9, reggae band Steel Pulse will appear at The National. The National will also host country music acts including Sara Evans, who will perform on Aug. 23.
The National constantly adds musical acts and the schedule is updated on a daily basis. It is located at 708 E. Broad St. The venue also features seven full bars.
INNSBROOK AFTER HOURS 2008:
Innsbrook After Hours is an outdoor concert series that hosts mostly mid-week shows. This year's series consists of many well-known groups including its biggest booked act to date, Poison, who will perform on Aug. 13. Other notable acts include country artists, Gretchen Wilson on May 10, Travis Tritt on July 12 and Trace Adkins on July 24. Hootie and The Blowfish will perform for the third year straight on July 9.
Laurin Willis, a concert promoter for Innsbrook After Hours, said that in years past most of the artists who had performed for the series had been classic rock acts. But in the past five years they have begun to bring in more country acts and cater to the 18-to-35-year-old demographic. General admission tickets range in price from $12.50 to $20. The venue also provides food and alcohol vendors. Innsbrook After Hours concerts are held at Snagajob.com Pavilion at 4901 Lakebrook Drive in Glen Allen.
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