With the great weather we’ve been enjoying this spring, and summer right around the corner, it’s finally time for the season of outdoor concerts and festivals. Kicking the season off will be the Virginia Avenue Music Festival, held in Fountain Square and Fletcher Place in Indianapolis. The festival will feature 130 bands and 170 live performances between May 9 – 13th. Oh, did I also mention that the entire festival is free to attend? Because it is.
A Week of Live, Local Music
For anyone itching for the festivities to start, Tuesday evening will serve as a kickoff for the festival. Between 8:00 – 10:00 pm, head to Square Cat Vinyl for some live music from two bands to set the tone for the week. Mighty Brother will be playing there, while the other band is currently in TBD status. Tuesday’s concert at Square Cat will also be free, in case you were wondering.
Over the course of the week, bands playing the Virginia Avenue Music Festival are scattered across participating venues in town. These include The Pioneer, Fountain Square Plaza, The Hi-Fi, Square Cat Vinyl, Wildwood Market, Howdy Gals, Chilly Water Brewing Co., Hotel Tango Distillery, Bluebeard, Calvin Fletcher’s Coffee Company, La Margarita, The Lo-Fi Lounge, and others.
Along with enough live music for the entire family, this year’s Virginia Avenue Music Fest will include a music panel each day leading up to the weekend at a different venue. The first is the Indiana Record Labels Panel, which takes place on Wednesday at The Lo-Fi Lounge. The panel will include members of three Indiana record labels, who will discussing music in Indiana, what they’re proudest of from their labels, and the future of music in the Hoosier state. The panel takes place from 6:30 – 8:30 pm at The Lo-Fi.
Thursday’s panel topic is Music and Social Justice at The Green Room from 7:00 – 9:00 pm. Music has always been a way for passionate activists to spread their messages, and raise awareness for issues that would otherwise go ignored. The three major movements this panel will be discussing are LGBTQ, women’s rights, and Black lives Matter. Speakers include members from MelaNation, DONT SLEEP, and Indy10 Black Lives Matter.
Friday’s panel, “Great Exposure” at Southeast Community Services covers concert photography. Sponsored by Roberts Camera, the panel consists of three professional concert photographers: Tim McLaughlin from Hapless Guitar Photography, Lora Olive from LivePixLive, and Kenneth Parks of KP’s Photography. They’ll be talking about how they found success in the industry, and sharing tips for other aspiring photographers. After the discussion, they’ll also have a stage set for anyone to step up and practice their photography skills.
While we can’t really cover all 130 bands that will be performing this week, but we can provide you with a few to look out for this weekend.
On Saturday, The Hi-Fi’s stage will be the venue that’ll get you the most bang for your buck (even though everything’s free). The doors to the Hi-Fi open at noon on Saturday, and the first band, Vilai Harrington and the Hamptones, starts playing at 12:30. Hail Your Highness plays at 1:45, followed by Cyrus Youngman & the Kingfishers at 3:00, and Lucille Furs at 4:15. The last band to play is Joshua Powell & the Great Train Robbery, from 5:30 – 6:15 pm.
For Sunday, we recommend that you stick to the Main Stage, at least for the first part of the day. If you do, you’ll get the chance to see the 3rd Annual Random Band Challenge winner from 11:45 am – 12:30 pm. On January 4th, band members were randomly selected to form several new bands, who then had roughly two months to prepare three songs to compete in a battle of the bands in March. After being judged by a panel, the winner received a recording package from Uptown Sound, a cash prize, and this opening slot at the Virginia Avenue Music Festival.
With all that the Virginia Music Festival has to offer this year, you’d have to be a crazy person to miss out. We barely covered all the music there is to enjoy, let alone the art vendors, beer and wine, and food vendors that will add to the festival atmosphere. Get some sun in your eyes this week and expose yourself to great music, food, friends, and community.