Last summer, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to the beautiful city of Richmond, VA to attend the Richmond Jazz Festival in Maymont (August 8 – 9, 2015) sponsored by Altria with electric service provided by Dominion electrical.
It was by far the best time at an outdoor jazz festival I have attended in several years. The beautiful area of Maymont in Richmond is a beautiful part of town, the venue is host to a beautiful scene of rolling hills and spacious areas to comfortably see all the acts at the four different stages hosting various artists. There several food trucks with a variety of delicious food items to purchase as well as vendors selling products and merchandise. Dominion electric’s charging stations for phones and plenty of port-a-potties for attendees made this venue one of my favorites for live outdoor music!
The food trucks were a mix of local business and some out of town vendors including one from my city of Chicago. I was excited to see them being a part of this great festival. My favorite was the seafood truck from Richmond. I think I ate there at least three or four times during the two day festival — yummyliciousness all the way around. I also visited several marketplace vendors where I purchased hats, natural haircare products from Adiva Naturals, and a few cigars from Havana Connections to take back to Chicago.
The venue was set up so everyone in attendance could enjoy many artists of their liking and walk around the beautiful landscape while venturing to the various stages. We got up early on Saturday because we did not have tickets and so waited early in line before the venue opened. While in line we met several wonderful people from the Richmond area and many who were jazz aficionados who have attended the D.C. Jazz Festival along with other festivals around the United States. The Richmond Jazz Fest had has many friendly people for working it as they did attending it.
Once the venue opened there was a mad dash for the perfect sitting spot with our chairs and blanket to enjoy the festivities under a beautiful majestic tree which gave us shade for the afternoon. There were three stage areas — all with great artists — and so listeners had to manage their time accordingly because there was always the possibility your favorite act was playing at the same time as another favorite act.
The first day was overcast in the morning, but by mid-day the sun began to shine and so did the musical acts. Then the decision of who we wanted to see most at the different stage venues was upon us (we decided to see as many as possible without to much overlap).
We had the pleasure of listening to Jazz Funk Soul with Jeff Lorber, Everett Harp, and Chuck Loeb, Rebirth Brass Band, Kamasi Washington, Spanish Harlem Orchestra, Kirk Whalum with Kevin Whalum and Will Downing. I was especially fond of listening to local favorite JTucker and the Krew! We tried to stay for New Edition but it took longer than expected for them to come to the stage due to the sound system needing some adjustments. That was the only negative aspect of the venue, that the sound system set up sometimes took longer then expected in between the acts.
On Sunday, we got up and did the same thing all over again. We lined up early before the venue opened, met new friends in line and interacted with new staff members to purchase our tickets. We found our same location area that we sat in on Saturday and made new friends in surrounding area. There was such warmth and friendship amongst the attendees it felt like old friends gathering for fun, sun, and a great day of music. We were able to see Sweet Honey in the Rock, Anthony Hamilton, Natalie Cole (we stayed briefly but so glad we did because it would be the last time we would see her perform before her death), and for the grand finale we watched Lauryn Hill as the last act of the festival and it was fabulous!
If you or someone you know is looking for a new and exciting jazz festival to attend this year, The Richmond Jazz Festival Maymont is a must! Be sure to visit the website for more information and vendor application to be a part of this growing festival with a gorgeous backdrop of trees and rolling hills with the stage venues set amongst the beauty of the Richmond, Virginia.
Article originally published: February 3rd, 2016 Slant News: