First Fall Line Fest blends music and food

The Southern Belles performed at The Camel on Friday, Sept. 6 as a part of the first Fall Line Fest.

Craig Zirpolo
Editor of The Horn RVA

Students and Richmond natives flooded the downtown Arts and Culture District last weekend for Fall Line Fest. A new, multi-venue festival, Fall Line is shaped by the diverse ties between art, music and food in Richmond, said Jesse Medaries, co-owner of Spacebomb Records and one of the event’s 10 volunteer organizers.

“There is a lot of crossover in Richmond between people who work in restaurants and people who play music. That has gone back a long, long time,” Medaries said.

To respond to the creative symbiosis between food and music, organizers paired five performers with chefs from Richmond restaurants to create cooperatively inspired meals, from banana cream eclairs with whiskey caramel sauce to rock shrimp ceviche.  A food panel at The Camel opened Saturday’s events, furthering the discussion of culinary and musical appreciation.

Beyond foodie appeal, Fall Line Fest sought to unify the many smaller subcultures of art, music and food that drive the creative ambitions of Richmond as a whole.

“We really wanted to get people out in our city and show them everything that it has to offer,” Medaries said.

In an effort to showcase the many active venues in Richmond, The Hippodrome, The Camel, Strange Matter, Gallery5 and Love RVA hosted musical performances.  The musical offering featured headliners Neon Indian and Big Freedia alongside locals No BS! Brass Band, Photosynthesizers, Hold Tight, Inter Arma and many others.

Organizers teamed with First Fridays to help bolster attendance for the events on the opening night, while Saturday boasted free, co-sponsored afternoon performances from Zac Hryciak and the Jungle Beat at Ipanema Cafe and Captain Captain at Big Secret Gallery.

Nine art galleries housed a variety of local, national and international works, and the VCU Institute for Contemporary Art accommodated the festival’s ticketing booths, food carts and the ICA’s first installation, “Synaptic Bliss,” by video artists Aziz and Cucher, in the parking lot at the corner of Broad and Belvidere streets.

VCU student and festival attendee Maya Walters appreciated Fall Line Fest’s emphasis on a symbiotic relationship between food, art and music.

“There is definitely a tie between restaurants and performers, from hosting gigs to providing work and well-being,” Walters said.  “Many local restaurants also showcase local artwork as well, so it only seems natural to create an event celebrating all three equally.”

While fans and organizers look forward to round two next year, Fall Line Fest has yet to set concrete plans for a return in 2014.  The 10-person panel of organizers is set to meet next month to begin discussions, according to Style Weekly.

“So far I think we are definitely all on board to keep this going,” Medaries said.  “As the years go by the scope and approach will change, but we absolutely plan on hosting Fall Line Fest for a long time.”


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