WHAT DOES THE NAME MEAN?
"Tom Tom" is a tip of the hat to Thomas Jefferson. Best remembered as the author of The Declaration of Independence, founder of the University of Virginia, architect of Monticello, and Third President of the United States, Jefferson was also a visionary farmer, wine maker, art patron, educator, and inventor. Tom Tom connects Jefferson’s revolutionary legacy with the difficult and visionary work of founders today.
WHAT’S WITH THE BUFFALO?
The buffalo is a symbol of the frontier. Lewis and Clark returned from their exploration of the American West with a buffalo hide displaying Native American painting and cartography. Thomas Jefferson sponsored their historic journey, and that hyde now hangs in the foyer of Monticello, his home, as a reminder of the value of adventurous research into American futures.
HOW’D IT GET STARTED?
TTFF began in 2012 as a month-long event. It featured over 25 free events in April and May, and ended in a weekend of music that brought artists such as The Walkmen, Josh Ritter, and Mimosa to Charlottesville. Six months later, in the fall of 2012, Tom Tom introduced Tomtoberfest, an on-campus counterpart to the spring’s festivities. In the following year, 2013, Tom Tom filed for 501(c)3 status, entered in a presenting partnership with the University of Virginia, and condensed its programming from a month to four days. The Festival’s attendance doubled at both the spring and fall events.
WHY IS TOM TOM FREE?
Tom Tom is a nonprofit and 90% of its events are free. Tom Tom’s strength is in bringing together diverse perspectives and passions. We want everyone to feel welcome to participate and have fun.
WHO RUNS TOM TOM?
The Festival was founded in 2011 by Paul Beyer, now its director. Tom Tom’s staff includes marketing, production, and programming coordinators, and nearly one hundred volunteers. In 2013, Tom Tom also developed a nonprofit board and an advisory board. Finally, its programming – the Festival’s talks, events, and performances – is all "crowd-sourced," meaning that Tom Tom welcomes public input in its programming decisions. Currently, eight programming committees consisting of over 100 individuals shape Tom Tom’s lineup.