More What’s Booming RVA: May 2 to 9

By Annie Tobey | May 2nd, 2024

A week of events to keep you entertained and inspired

Musician Howard Levy. Used in: Arts in the Park, plant sale, Bootleg Shakespeare, American diversity, pianist John Bayless: What’s Booming in Richmond, Va, May 2 to 9, 2024.

You know those weekends where choosing is a challenge? Welcome to Richmond in springtime! Top recommendations include the iconic Arts in the Park, a huge plant sale, Bootleg Shakespeare fun, events honoring American diversity (yes, several Cinco de Mayo events), musician Howard Levy, and pianist John Bayless, a virtuoso who still astounds with use of only one hand. What’s Booming in Richmond, Virginia, May 2 to 9, 2024.

Check out the Boomer Top 5 picks in RVA here, browse the week ahead below, and go to our updated events page for Down the Road happenings and ongoing exhibitions and performances.

May 2 to 9

Thursday, May 2

The Wood Brothers w/ Lindsay Lou. The American roots band blends folk, gospel, blues, and jazz. May 2, 6 p.m., on Brown’s Island, Richmond.

“The Forgotten Battle of Wapping Heights.” Dr. Timothy Orr, associate professor of military history at ODU, discusses the battle also known as the Battle of Manassas Gap. May 2, 7 p.m., at Pamplin Historical Park Education Center, North Dinwiddie.

The Howard Levy 4. This multi-styled band from Chicago features the Grammy Award-winning diatonic harmonica master, pianist, and composer Howard Levy, guitarist Chris Siebold, upright and electric bassist Joshua Ramos, and Brazilian drummer Luiz Ewerling, for music in a range of styles that includes jazz, Latin, world music, and blues – a diverse repertoire of original compositions. Levy also tours as a solo artist, with Trio Globo, and with Bela Fleck and the Flecktones. May 2, 8 p.m., at The Tin Pan, Richmond.

“Fiddler on the Roof.” See Boomer’s Top 5 Picks.

Friday, May 3

Friday at the Museum: Dabbs House. Learn about this historic Henrico property. May 3, noon to 4 p.m., at Dabbs House, Henrico.

Closing Reception. Artists Isabelle Abbot of “Intimations” and Laurie Fisher of “Rebel.” May 3, 2 to 5 p.m., at Page Bond Gallery, Richmond.

First Friday Event Highlights

  • RVA First Fridays. Stroll the art galleries along and around Broad Street, plus restaurants, shops, and other organizations. Presenting live music, special events, tastings, and more. May 3, beginning at 5 p.m. – times vary at the many venues around downtown Richmond.
  • First Friday at the Library of Virginia. View a display by Virginia artists, enjoy refreshments, get creative in the makerspace, explore the current exhibition, Indigenous Perspectives, and visit the Virginia Shop for books and gifts. May 3, 5 to 8 p.m., at the Library of Virginia, Richmond.
  • First Fridays for the Whole Family. Free museum admission, family-friendly activities, antique cars, and café specials. May 3, 5 to 8 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture, Richmond.
  • After 5 Fridays | First Friday: Cosplay. Celebrate favorite anime-inspired characters. DJ Jay Dion will be spinning Japanese music from TV, film, and video games as well as popular city pop and Japanese funk. May 3, 6 to 8 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.
  • Take the Love Bus. Let the heart-covered bus from The Valentine shuttle you between First Friday stops: The Valentine, Library of Virginia, Gallery5, the ICA, Elegba Folklore Society, and Broad & 6th Street parking. FREE. May 3, 5 to 9 p.m., in downtown Richmond.

History & Hops. Costumed interpreters bring the past to life, alongside carriage rides, activities, craft beer, and food trucks. FREE. May 3, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Historic Hanover Courthouse, Hanover.

The Richmond Kickers vs. One Knoxville SC. May 3, 7 p.m., at City Stadium, Richmond.

Spring Plant Sale. More than 40 vendors selling plants and other garden-related items. May 3 and 4, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days, in parking lot B at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond.

Bella White with Colby T. Helms & the Virginia Creepers. Kick off the 2024 Friday Cheers, Richmond’s longest-running concert series. May 3, 6:30 to 9 p.m., on Brown’s Island, Richmond.

Read Broadly: Third Annual Ashland Book Festival. Meet two successful authors, A. J. Finn, “The Woman in the Window” and “End of Story” (May 3), and Tim Kaine, U.S. Senator for Virginia and author of “Walk Ride Paddle: A Life Outside” (May 4). May 3 to 4 at Ashland Theatre, Ashland.

Saturday, May 4

Spring into Birding. Take a guided walk with a ranger to discover migratory birds during prime spring birdwatching time. May 4, 9 to 10 a.m., at Powhatan State Park, Virginia.

Arts in the Park. One of RVA’s most iconic events, an outdoor juried arts and crafts show with more than 350 artists in a beautiful Richmond setting. Fine art paintings, metal crafts, pottery, jewelry, and more. Plus local food vendors. May 4 to 5 at The Carillon at Byrd Park, Richmond.

RVA Rest Fest 2024. A celebration of wellness with group classes, speakers, music, and food. Attendees can enjoy a variety of sessions (yoga, breathwork, sound baths, etc.) and live music as well as presentations and panel discussions. May 4, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., at The Cardinal, Moseley.

Asian American Festival 2024, used in What's Booming, May 2 to 9

Asian American Celebration. See Boomer’s Top 5 Picks.

Richmond Bluegrass Jam, used in What's Booming May 2

Richmond Bluegrass Jam. See Boomer’s Top 5 Picks. 

¿Qué Pasa? Festival. See Boomer’s Top 5 Picks. 

If Walls Could Talk: New History During the Great Depression. President Franklin Roosevelt and two federal works projects programs: the Historic American Buildings Survey (HABS) took photographs and recorded information on buildings from the country’s beginnings through World War I;  WPA collected and recorded hundreds of autobiographical accounts from former enslaved people. What did these projects uncover? May 4, 2 to 3 p.m., at Meadow Farm, Glen Allen.

“May the 4th Be with You.” A GreenSpring American Youth Harp Ensemble concert, inspired by the music of John Williams and “Star Wars.” A galactic musical journey featuring arrangements that defy the typical expectations of the harp. May 4, 2 p.m., at St. John’s United Church of Christ, Richmond.

Let’s Go Camping Intro Course. Part of the Virginia State Parks series of educational experiences on outdoor activities. Learn skills and gain confidence. May 4, 2 to 4 p.m., at Powhatan State Park, Powhatan.

Bootleg Shakespeare Presents “Love’s Labor’s Lost.” Like old “bootleg” cassettes – copies of copies, a little distorted – the Shakespearean comedy is presented by actors who have had only one day of rehearsal, just before the show. Plus live musicians playing cool tunes. And an open bar to build appreciation. FREE. May 4, 7:30 p.m., at Dominion Energy Center, Richmond.

Robin and Linda Williams. Shady Grove Coffeehouse presents the popular, prolific folk duo whose career includes hundreds of performances on “A Prairie Home Companion.” May 4, 8 p.m., at the Unitarian Universalist Community Church, Glen Allen.

Mozart, Price & Beethoven. The Richmond Symphony presents Beethoven’s buoyant Eighth Symphony, Black composer Florence Price’s Third Symphony from 1938, and Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4. May 4, 8 to 10 p.m., at Dominion Energy Center, Richmond.

Sunday, May 5

Central Virginia Iris Society Show & Sale. See some of Earth’s most beautiful blooms, and maybe even take one home. May 5: sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., show from noon to 4 p.m., at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Richmond.

Children’s Day at the VMFA. In honor of the Japanese Children’s Day (Kodomo no hi), VMFA offers free exhibition tickets for ages 17 and under for the Samurai Armor exhibition. May 5, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

Cinco de Mayo at Final Gravity. El Guapo tacos, the release of Mas Fina Lima Lager, and music from Paolo Franco. May 5, noon to 5 p.m., at Final Gravity Brewing, Richmond.

Taco Festival. With food from 10 local food trucks and restaurants, four local bands, and two special Hardywood Mexican-style lagers. The event is a fundraiser for Safe Harbor, a local nonprofit that provides services to survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, and human trafficking. May 5, noon to 6 p.m., at Hardywood West Creek, Henrico.

Mozart, Price & Beethoven. The Richmond Symphony presents Beethoven’s buoyant Eighth Symphony, Black composer Florence Price’s Third Symphony from 1938, and Mozart’s Horn Concerto No. 4. May 5, 3 to 5 p.m., at Dominion Energy Center, Richmond.

Meet the Singers. Meet the opera singers performing in “The Tales of Hoffmann” and hear them sing. Informal gathering. FREE, registration recommended. May 5, 5 to 9 p.m., at Williamsburg Community Building, Williamsburg.

Bio Ritmo Cinco de Mayo Celebration. See Boomer’s Top 5 Picks.

Tuesday, May 7

Samurai Armor 101. Get a glimpse into the history, life, and culture of the elite Japanese warriors known as samurai through a closer look at select armor, weapons, and accoutrements, used for battle and ceremonies. Hour lecture followed by a walkthrough of the special Samurai Armor exhibition. May 7, 1 to 2:30 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, Richmond.

piano keys closeup. Image by Roman Rodionov

John Bayless. An open-air piano performance by the accomplished pianist, who was Leonard Bernstein’s protégé. Bayless lost use of his right hand after a stroke at age 55, but he overcame the disability and continues to create inspiring music. May 7, 6:30 p.m., in the Petersburg Area Art League Art Park, Petersburg.

“Hell Put to Shame: The 1921 Murder Farm Massacre and the Horror of America’s Second Slavery.” Author Earl Swift will read from his book and answer questions. The nonfiction work examines the overlooked story of the mass killing of 11 Black farmhands on a Georgia plantation in the spring of 1921, a crime that exposed the existence of “peonage” or debt slavery, which gained prominence across the American South after the Civil War. By turns police procedural, courtroom drama, and political exposé, “Hell Put to Shame” reintroduces readers to three Americans who prosecuted the wealthy plantation owner behind the murders. May 7, 7 to 9 p.m., at Book People, Henrico.

Genealogical Virtual Event. Expert answers to questions on German documents and translations. Hosted by GRIVA, the Genealogical Institute of Virginia. FREE, registration required. May 7, 7 p.m., online.

Henrico Pops Spring Concert. The Chorus and Capital Cabaret present 100 Years of Broadway. May 7, 7 to 8 p.m., at Henrico Theatre, Henrico.

Wednesday, May 8

“1666: A Novel”: Book Talk with Lora Chilton. Historical fiction of the survival story of the Patawomeck tribe of Virginia, envisioning the lives of the Patawomeck women who were sold into slavery and shipped to Barbados to work in the sugar fields after the massacre of the tribe’s men. May 8, noon to 1 p.m., at the Library of Virginia, Richmond.

Illumination Series Featuring Sharon Pajka. The professor, cemetery historian, and author of “The Souls Close to Edgar Allan Poe” takes participants to the burial places of the people who lived in Poe’s world. May 8, 6 to 8 p.m., at The Poe Museum, Richmond.

Brandy Clark at the piano.
Photo credit: Victoria Stevens

Brandy Clark. The Grammy and CMA award winner touches audiences with her finely crafted songwriting and moving vocals. May 8, 8 p.m., at The Tin Pan, Richmond.

“Roman á Clef.” In a quiet, seemingly empty theatre, six actors rehearse a new play about family, fear, and flight. When a stranger joins the group demanding answers, the line between fiction and reality fades. A world premiere play by local playwright Chandler Hubbard. May 8 to 26 at Firehouse Theatre, Richmond.

Thursday, May 9

Richmond Symphony Capital String Quartet. An outdoor performance of classical music in the Valentine Garden. FREE. May 9, 6 to 7 p.m., at The Valentine, Richmond.

VCU Golden Alumni Celebration Honoring the Class of 1974. Meet other VCU graduates from the 1950s, ’60s and ’70s and help honor the Class of 1974 on their 50th anniversary. Enjoy specialty beverages, a hearty buffet, music, memories, and fun. RSVP at the link above, by calling 804-828-4513 or emailing May 9, 5 to 7 p.m., at the Virginia Museum of History & Culture, Richmond.

Road Trips

Apple blossoms and seafood

Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival – 100th Anniversary. Celebrate spring and its beautiful blooms – plus the promise of apples! Live music, swag, parade, wine, carnival, cider tastings and orchard tours, dance parties, country music party, celebrities, and more. Through May 5 in Winchester, Virginia.

seafood platter at the Chincoteague Seafood Festival, used in What's Booming May 2 to 9

54th Annual Chincoteague Seafood Festival. Fresh local seafood in favorite Eastern Shore dishes: Little Neck clams, oysters, clams, clam fritters, fried fish, crab cheddar jalapeño poppers, and more. Plus local artisans selling wares from jewelry to furniture, hot sauce and fashions. May 4, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at Tom’s Cove Park, Chincoteague, Virginia.

Anticipation … !

Click here to make plans with this list of events to come and ongoing exhibitions and performances.

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