For the past three years, local film collective Good Day RVA has hosted an all-local, free music festival at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.
This year, the group is back with a bigger and more expansive tribute to local music than ever, and we’re stoked to debut the lineup here at Dust Up.
Check it out below:
Also, get a load of that amazing poster by Victoria Borges. She’s done all of the previous posters for Good Day Fest, and they are always up there with the best local show posters of the year.
To learn more about the video series, festival and all things Good Day, I spoke with co-founders Chris Damon and Evan Hoffman. But before you forget, check out the event page and smash the going button for one of the best days of local music all year.
For folks who don’t know, what is Good Day RVA?
Chris Damon: Formally, Good Day RVA is a 501(C)(3) non profit, DIY collective of filmmakers and artists dedicated to showcasing Richmond’s diverse music scene, its creative community, and its cultural beauty.
Evan Hoffman: Informally, Good Day was born from an idea Chris and I had to create live performance music videos for local bands set at interesting locations in the city. We felt the desire to shine a spotlight on the budding music community that we were witnessing rise around us. After we shot our two first videos we quickly saw the potential of making a series that would not only showcase the vibrant music of Richmond but also give life to it’s unique settings. We envisioned creating a video archive that would document the emergent cultural and artistic renaissance of our city. Since then Good Day has evolved to organizing and hosting events, benefits, and providing our videography skills to assist local non-profit and community organizations. We offer our services at no cost to the bands and survive off donations to our nonprofit. Check out our page via EnRichmond to learn more!
How did you guys transition from making videos to hosting a festival?
Evan: As we were filming new videos and going to local shows, we saw how inclusive and symbiotic the music scene really was in Richmond. Local musicians are highly supportive of one another and help lift each other up. We wanted to foster that spirit by creating a festival that would feature some of the best music our city has to offer in a one-day setting. We also were looking for local musicians, artisans and community organizations to cross-pollinate and collaborate – to grow the interconnectivity within the artistic community that we were seeing begin to flourish.
Chris: The festival was something we talked about producing a year before it actually happened. When I was introduced to Kerry Anderson in early 2013 (by Brandon Crowe), we became fast friends and discussed the loose logistics of having a festival in Good Day’s name. We had only produced two videos at the time and had barely made a mark on the scene; we were still introducing ourselves to bands and to the community as a whole, but there was certainly a shared interest in making something happen.
What is important about a festival that exclusively spotlights local music versus the traditional model of locals with regional/national headliners?
Evan: It really serves a breeding ground for generating new ideas and art at the local level. Bands from different scenes who may not necessarily have played together before begin to form connections and book shows together. Local screen printers and shirt makers meet a slew of new bands that begin using their services. Illustrators connect with musicians about album and poster art. Important community organizations and local causes have the opportunity to build new bridges. That was what we witnessed from the first festival, a great coming-together of the various roots and branches that form our thriving artistic community. That spirit has carried over into each of our subsequent festivals and serves as one of the main inspirations for hosting these events.
Chris: Good Day RVA and its members simply understand, and understood, the need to excite locals about the music happening around them. We love a wide variety of music and may one day involve hosting touring musicians at the festival, but we have an enormous list of Richmond bands who are all worthy of sharing our stage. We certainly took influence from Shannon Cleary’s annual showcase Commonwealth of Notions; his work was the Master Splinter to us Turtles.
Every festival features elaborate themes and hand-made props for each stage. What is it like putting together a giant art project at the same time as a music festival? What were some of the past themes, and can you reveal the themes for this year?
Chris: When we were building the stage props for the first festival, we simply used what we could acquire around us. Stuff Redux, now SCRAP RVA, generously lent us their space that was a stone’s throw away from the brewery, and gave us use of most of their materials; our ideas couldn’t have happened without their help. The festival “themes” started subsequently. For the festival’s second year, we had a prehistoric theme outside and a futuristic theme inside, and last year’s themes were underwater and Mars, respectfully. Each year has seen a growing list of helpers who have lent their time making these silly designs, and we couldn’t thank them enough.
Evan: We want there to be a new scene on each stage for every different festival – keeping the visuals fresh and exciting for the concert-goers as well as for the strong presence of talented photographers that are pivotal in supporting the local music community. We are currently using my basement at Good Day house to create props for a psychedelic jungle scene and a dreamy living room set for the outside and inside stages. It is a lot of work, considering all the other moving parts we are trying to wrangle in prep for the festival, we have had help from of a lot of friends and would love more – feel free to contact me or Kate (who spearheads the prop creations) about helping for this year!
How did you choose Hardywood as the location? What is special about that venue in particular that speaks to your goals with the festival?
Chris: We chose Hardywood as a location because of its size, its indoor/outdoor nature, and its revolving, hungry (or rather thirsty) clientele. More than anything, however, we were impressed by their philanthropy. When the brewery went all-hands-on-deck and hosted a benefit for Sub Rosa Bakery after it caught fire, we knew we had found our people.
Evan: Hardywood was a place that we both respected – they bring in a lot of great local acts on a weekly basis and they have an incredible amount of space. Considering the amount of bands, artists, vendors, and community organizations we have involved – we need all the space we can get. We loved working with Kerry Anderson, the previous event manager, who made the whole process very smooth and mutually beneficial. Hardywood also has a great track record of working with and supporting important local organization and causes. Additionally, Hardywood pulls in a large and diverse crowd which offers bands the chance to reach fresh ears.
So far you haven’t repeat booked any of the bands from previous festivals. What is the thought process behind this, and do you think you’ll ever book a band a second time?
Evan: The amount and the rate of music exploding out of Richmond is amazing. There were literally a few dozen more great options we had for this year for new bands. We saw this phenomenon early on and wanted to try for as long as possible to continue to only offer completely new acts each festival.
Chris: Of course, we would love nothing more than to host any and all of the bands that have already played the festival, but we will be stubborn with no repeats for at least the next few years. I think it is a testament to this city’s music scene that we are able to do this with a new, diverse lineup each time around.
What about the first year’s festival led you to want to host another?
Chris: I don’t think it was ever a question that we wanted to host a second festival, and a third, fourth… Good Day will be doing this for a while.
Evan: The first year’s festival was a transformative experience for those involved and for most of those that attended. It really affirmed what a lot of people had been seeing develop within the local art scene: the budding of an open and inclusive environment, an incredible diversity of talents, and a growing multitude of those eager to support the work of local musicians and artisans. The raucous late night performance by local favorite noise rockers, Navi, really put the exclamation point on the whole day. The energy skyrocketed when three woman, who randomly stumbled upon the festival from a winery bus tour, jumped on stage and began smashing drums and dancing with the band. What initially would have come across as obnoxious turned out to be a joyful and climactic event and, along with moshing and stage-diving, perfectly paralleled the intensity of the music and the day. Seeing all different types of people from a variety of neighborhoods around the city come together to find a common cathartic experience in Navi was beautiful to behold and inspired us to keep it going for as long as we can.
In your fourth year, what is new and exciting about the festival this time around? Will you be premiering any new videos?
Chris: This year’s “Fourthcoming” festival is gonna be a wild one. The lineup contains a broad palette featuring familiar musicians such as Gull, Positive No, and Anousheh, new supergroups like Opin and The You Go Girls, and exciting new mainstays like Blush Face and Wester Green. I am also beyond excited to host McKinley Dixon & Friends specifically, as I’ve been listening to them a ton lately.
Evan: This year we will have even more local artisans and makers that will be selling their goods throughout the day. And yes, we plan on premiering a video this year! People sometimes are unclear about what Good Day does – some knowing us only through the festival – so we wanted to exhibit was our main focus is – making quality live music videos that are free of charge to local musicians. I will also be playing the festival for the first time this year with Blush Face, and our currently plan is to debut our first LP there too!
A Good Day in RVA IV: The Fourthcoming will be held at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery on June 3rd.
Admission is free. Click here to visit the event page.