Friday Cheers returns for 36th season of live music

Updated: Apr. 6, 2021 at 6:14 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Friday Cheers, Richmond’s longest-running outdoor concert series, is returning for its 36th season.

The 2020 season was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but starting May 7, music will once again travel across Browns Island and the riverfront.

“I’m excited it’s coming back,” said Carrie Marston, a Friday Cheers attendee. “We love the event, we missed it very much last year.”

Marston and her family are annual Friday Cheers goers; the return of this series bringing them a sense of normalcy.

“People are ready to be out and about in a safe way, and people are ready to show their support for this local community,” said Venture Richmond’s Director of Events Stephen Lecky.

Bringing the outdoor concert series back in 2021 was incredibly important, Lecky added. Some musicians haven’t performed before a live audience in quite some time.

“They are pumped; They are really, really excited,” Lecky said. “It’s a big-time winner for folks to play outside, have their friends and family come, keep distanced and just play - like you said actually have an outdoor show.”

“No BS! is coming and No BS! is our favorite, so we are absolutely coming to that one no matter what, but we’re still debating about the others,” Marston said.

That is because Marston is concerned about how people will attend the shows, specifically in pods that are socially distanced.

“Which is literally two, four and eight-person groups in their own little space,” Lecky said.

Pod map for Venture Richmond's Friday Cheers concert series
Pod map for Venture Richmond's Friday Cheers concert series(Venture Richmond)

“I know for a fact it’s really hard to hear the music from this half of the island where the eight-person pods are,” Marston said. “We come with our family, so we’ll need at least an eight-person pod.”

As a result of this new change, concert-goers will have to buy tickets online in advance. Tickets will not be available on-site.

“The May 28 show is sold out, tickets are going fast,” Lecky said. “There are a limited number of tickets available, limited capacity, and as I said, people are ready to support their neighbors, support their friend who may be the musician, or might be the food vendor and give back to Richmond.”

The series is presented by Hardywood Park Craft Brewery and produced by Venture Richmond.

“Venture Richmond has helped make downtown Richmond a true cultural gem, and the team at Hardywood is thrilled for the opportunity to partner with them to bring people together over great music and delicious beer,” said Eric McKay, president and co-founder, Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.

Meanwhile, all food and beverage sales will be done online.

According to the Friday Cheers website:

  • Beer and wine will be available for pre-order to be picked up on the day of the show, as well as for sale on site. It is highly recommended that patrons pre-order beverages. Click here to order. Coolers will not be permitted on the island. No cash sales on-site, all orders taken through the Noble beverage purchase app. Beer will be served via can, no pouring from kegs.
  • Food vendors will be spaced around the venue in order to insure social distancing. Advance online ordering will be available and highly recommended, as will online ordering at the event. We are excited to welcome Goatacado, Boka Tako, Strawberry Street Catering and Nadar’s Bistro.

The seven weeks of concerts are rain or shine.

Here is the following schedule of events:

  • May 7 – Cris Jacobs Band (8:00) with Deau Eyes (6:30)
  • May 21 – Agents of Good Roots (8:00) with Leon III (6:30)
  • May 28 – An evening with Art of Noise RVA (6:30) SOLD OUT
  • June 4 – NO BS! Brass (8:00) with Piranha Rama (6:30)
  • June 11 – An evening with Suggesting Rhythm (6:30)
  • June 18 – Mighty Joshua (8:00) and Erin & the Wildfire (6:30)
  • June 25 – Butcher Brown (8:00) with (6:30) Shormey

COVID-19 safety precautions will be in place during the events. More details on safety guidelines can be found on Venture Richmond’s website.

To purchase tickets, click here.

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