Music and Culture

Richmond is a city of surprises. It’s the capital of a state where agriculture is the top industry, but also a thriving metropolitan area with more than a million people from all walks of life. From roller derby to farmers markets, marathon training to band practice, Richmonders are all about getting out of the house to meet up with like-minded folks.

Richmond is home to the Science Museum of Virginia, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Virginia Holocaust Museum, which educate and entertain Richmonders through full calendars of events and exhibitions.

The greater Richmond area includes a number of ethnic groups that form significant minority communities. Throughout the year, events like the Armenian, Lebanese, and Greek food festivals, the Festival of India, and ¿Qué Pasa? — a festival celebrating Hispanic cultures — bring together Richmonders from all backgrounds.

Another reason Richmonders come together is to celebrate music. Richmonders love music — at times it seems like everyone in Richmond is in a band of some sort or another. Jazz, bluegrass, and indie are among the most popular styles for local groups, though the varied sounds coming out of the city are beyond categorization. To get a real taste, download the Sounds of Richmond No. 3, the latest free compilation of local music put together by the alternative newspaper Style Weekly.

Among the biggest music events during the year is the 2nd Street Festival, a jazz and R&B festival in Jackson Ward. During summer months, Richmonders flock to downtown’s Brown’s Island for Friday Cheers, a free concert series featuring regional favorites and national touring acts. In October, the Richmond Folk Festival takes over the river front.

Other major summer music series include Innsbrook After Hours and Groovin’ in the Garden at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. Both feature an impressive list of musicians.

The newest live music venue downtown is Strange Matter, located on the canal, though it has serious competition in some of Richmond’s other venues — like The National, Kingdom, the Canal Club, and the downtown music hall at Capital Ale House.

Visit’s music and nightlife section to find out about upcoming shows.