A Student Guide To: Tom Tom Founders Festival

    Starting April 11th, Charlottesville will be host to Tom Tom Founder’s Festival, a week-long festival celebrating the arts, food, music, and innovation. Through April 17th, 30 events will be held at nearly 60 venues in Charlottesville, bringing together a wide range of opportunities for UVa students and community members alike. Highlighted below are some events that UVa students may be interested in:

    The festival’s goal for art is to spark creative conversations throughout the city, and includes, among other things, mural creations and displays, art workshops, and performances.

    City Stages: Charlottesville will have a series of public “stages” along the downtown mall, including performances by some UVa favorites including The Virginia Gentlemen, the Silhooettes, Lion Dance, Xtasee, the Virginia Belles, Fuego, Radio Music Society, the Hullabahoos, and Hoos in Treble. Date: Saturday, April 16.

    Art Attack: Through this grassroots event, artists of all kinds will be gathering in Lee Park to bring their creative process out into the open air for the public to observe and celebrate. If interested in participating as an artist, registration is available on the Tom Tom website. Date: Saturday, April 16.

    Synesthesia: Second Street Gallery and UVA’s creative writing, studio art, and music programs have put together performances by both undergraduate and graduate students. These students of poetry, fiction, photography, music composition, and visual art will be working together and combining their fields to create captivating collaborations for the public to enjoy. Date: Sunday, April 17.

    The focus for the food programming at the festival this year is on going local, and will feature many of the community contributors who have made Charlottesville’s food culture so vibrant and acclaimed.

    Farm to Table Restaurant Week: Some of the community’s favorite Charlottesville restaurants will be creating a prix fixe menu to emphasize local artisans and farms, highlighting their commitment to sourcing local. Some of these restaurants include The Whiskey Jar, Citizen Burger Bar, Commonwealth Restaurant and Sky Bar, and Ivy Inn. Date: weeklong.

    Food Trucks: Food trucks will be a staple throughout the week, and if you do not have an organization or group to participate in the Community picnic with on Sunday, April 17, there will be ten local food trucks set up around Lee Park from which you can enjoy a lunch with your community.

    Iron Chef Competition: Six sous chefs from Charlottesville restaurants will be competing to create the best dish that is 100% locally sourced. Each chef will have a $50 budget, 35 minutes at the farmer’s market, and 30 minutes to cook before presenting their finished product to a panel. The winner will receive $250 and the title of Charlottesville’s Iron Chef. Date: Saturday, April 16.

    Charlottesville has long been host to multitudes of talented musicians and performers, and Tom Tom keeps this tradition going by bringing a great selection of talent from dozens of bands across all genres for the public to enjoy.

    Free Boyd Tinsley Concert with Crystal Garden: Founding member of Dave Matthews Band and Grammy winning artist Boyd Tinsley will be performing, as well as introducing Crystal Garden, a group of talented musicians that Boyd produced and curated. Date: Tuesday, April 12.

    Sunset Concert: Finish a long day of festival activities with a free concert by headliners Sister Sparrow & the Dirty Birds and The Big Takeover. Date: Saturday, April 16.

    Club Tom Tom: This unique event is great for college students—in this late-night “silent disco,” you choose from three genres of dance music, listen through a wireless headset, and enjoy with glow sticks and neon. Date: Thursday, April 14.

    With pitch competitions, workshops, mixers, luncheons, and more, Tom Tom provides the opportunities to bounce ideas with incredible innovators and business owners and receive great advice and inspiration.

    Youth Summit: Sign up is free for students, and allows you to join peers, educators, and entrepreneurs in an entirely student-planned and student-led summit. Listen to leading youth innovators share stories, pitch your business idea in a pitch competition, and engage with entrepreneurial thinking. Date: Thursday, April 14.

    Office Hours: Go to coffee with a professional—founders, innovators, artists, and other masters of their trade will be giving advice to young entrepreneurs and creative individuals. Sign up for the program on the Tom Tom website and be matched with an expert in your industry. Date: All week

    Crowdfunded Pitch Night: Ten local artists, nonprofits, and entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to a live audience who will pledge funds for their favorite contestant. Join the audience, help kick start an idea, and learn about the ten promising individuals. Date: Wednesday, April 13th.

    More details and a full schedule for the packed week of arts, food, music, and innovation can be found on the Tom Tom Founders Festival Website.


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