RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) – If you enjoy the Friday Cheers concerts, don't forget your wallet this year. Venture Richmond announced it will now charge a small admission fee to get into the longest running concert series in the city.
Starting in one month, on every Friday night through June, Brown's Island will be packed with people who are excited to hear live music. This year, in order to get into the series that's known as the only free concert in town, you'll have to fork over two bucks.
Aparna Bansal looks forward to the start of the Friday Cheers concerts every year.
"I love Friday Cheers" said Bansal. "I always wish that they'd do it longer in the summer."
Bansal lives in an apartment building right on the river. She said the series offers free fun, right in her backyard.
"Given the economy, everything we can get these days for free is well appreciated by everyone," she said.
It's that tough economic climate that's causing the change to now charge the admission fee. Venture Richmond Director of Events Lisa Sims said Friday Cheers, along with the group's other events, is funded through sponsorships and help from the city. That money just isn't coming in at the same levels.
"When there are other concert series around you're sort of looking for the one thing that sort of distinguishes you and it always has been free," she said. "This is something we struggled with, we debated about, but we just felt it was the best thing to do now."
Venture Richmond has asked for donations in the past, but Sims said they needed a more formal, regular funding method. The fee only applies to those 13 and older. In the grand scheme of entertainment costs, Bansal said two bucks isn't too bad.
"Anywhere else you would go; anything else you would do on a Friday would cost more than $2. So, I think it makes sense," she said. "I just hope it doesn't go up from here."
As of now, all other Venture Richmond events will still be free. Friday Cheers starts May 7 and runs through the end of June.