Fall Line Fest returns to rock Richmond

Ben Gadams
Contributing Writer

Richmond gave a city-wide display of local music, art and food Sept. 5 and 6 with the second-annual presentation of the Fall Line Fest.

Fall Line Fest hosted over 50 bands, both local and national, across six of Richmond’s premier music venues. Festivities included art galleries, live mural painting and a brunch prepared by local chefs.

Festival attendee, Lucy Dacus said she enjoyed this year’s presentation of Fall Line Fest.

“It was so much fun,” Dacus said. “I think that it’s a really good thing for Richmond.”

Last year, the festival involved 42 bands, nine local art galleries and near-capacity audiences at each of its five venues. Initially, the focus was to expose new audiences to local talent. After the success of its initial run in September 2013, the organizers of Fall Line Fest pledged to return in 2014. 

This year, the festival hosted a vast array of local and national groups from all sorts of genres, from punk-rock, to metal, to alternative rock, reggae, hip-hop and more. Local groups that performed included pop-rock group the Sleepwalkers, surf-rock group The Milkstains, reggae artist Mighty Joshua and folk artist Jonathan Vassar. Groups of national renown performed too, including Real Estate, Death and The Hold Steady.

The Sleepwalkers performed their set to a standing-room only crowd at The Camel on Friday night. As they broke out into their local hit “Off on the Weekend,” members of the audience could be seen jamming out and singing along. The Sleepwalkers played a 40-minute set, plus an encore that lasted until 11:30 p.m. The atmosphere was electric as they rocked out loud across the crowded room.

The music began at 6 p.m. Friday, and continued into the early morning on Saturday. Groups played simultaneously across the festival’s six venues, making it impossible to see them all. Visitors had to travel between The Camel, Gallery 5, Strange Matter, the Broadberry, The National and November Theatre. 

An art presentation, themed “Rhythm,” was open to the public on Sept. 5 at Gallery 5. There was a juried art exhibition, as well as live painting by local artists, accompanied by music. A mural was also painted live at the Quirk gallery on Broad street.

The exhibition at Gallery 5 will be on display until Sept. 25.

Fall Line Fest also coincided with First Fridays in Richmond, which meant the arts district was already alive with the latest from the Richmond art scene.

The festival displayed some of the tastes of the city with “Fall Line Brunch Fest,” presented by Kroger. The brunch featured some of Richmond’s most talented chefs. The local chefs offered their signature dishes in a buffet-style setup. Food was available for free to anyone with a wristband that stopped by the Broadberry between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6.

The festival has grown since opening for the first time in 2013, but it is still run entirely by volunteers. Last year, the festival had a 10-member board of volunteers. This year, the volunteer-run event still holds a commitment to showcasing Richmond’s vast artistic community.

Volunteer and co-organizer at the festival, Daniel White, took some time to enjoy the bands in between shifts.

“There was a lot of great energy in downtown Richmond,” White said. “I saw some amazing bands myself.” 

The volunteers that put on Fall Line Fest are poised to keep the festival going in 2015.

The event is funded entirely by corporate sponsors, and Fall Line Fest itself is listed as a non-profit organization. The only participants who benefit from the festival are the bands and venues.

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