News & Media

Media Advisory: Tom Tom opening gala is 10-band block party at McGuffey

March 28, 2012 | By: pbeyer | Tags: music

March 29, 2012


Tom Tom Founders Festival, the month-long music, art & innovation festival, announced today full details of its FREE April 13 (Founder's Day) kickoff party at the McGuffey Arts Center. Running from roughly 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m. Apr. 13, the party will feature 10 local bands -- from bluegrass and rock to punk, spoken word, and jazz -- playing outside and inside McGuffey, public art projects and children's activities on the McGuffey lawn, and a street food fair.

The one block of Second Street NW in front of the McGuffey (between Market St. and West Jefferson St.) will be closed down to form a block party compound. Outside performances, will occur from 5 to 8 p.m., and indoor performances from 8 to 11:30 p.m. New Belgium Brewing Company will sponsor the music. Beer sales will benefit The Dreamfield Foundation.

Sculptor Ed Miller, a festival artist-in-residence and a visiting professor in studio art at the University of Virginia, will be working on the McGuffey lawn with an interactive plaster sculpture, inviting the public to help him create the piece's surface texture.

Festival organizer Paul Beyer notes, “As our City’s central civics arts space, McGuffey is the perfect place to launch the Tom Tom Founders Festival because of our focus on creativity and innovation.”

At the block party, Tom Tom organizers will publicly announce the festival's full month-long schedule of events, along with the festival's Artists- and Innovators-in-Residence. “It will be an entirely unique event, one that the City has never really seen.”

Local bands including Beleza Brazil, the Downbeat Project, the Olivarez Trio, and Chihamba, an African Drum circle, will be playing on the McGuffey's front steps between 5 and 8 p.m.

After 8 p.m., bands from a wide variety of genres, including bluegrass, punk, rock, spoken word, and jazz will be playing inside McGuffey. These bands include, Hot Twang!, the Eames Coleman Trio, the Invisible Hand, Borrowed Beams of Light, Dwight Howard Johnson, and DJ Kris Bowmaster. These acts will be performing back-to-back, in studios on all three floors of the building.

“These bands represent some of our finest and longest established local acts, as well as several of our up-and-comers who are touring the country and making a name for themselves,” Beyer says.

Tom Tom Founders Festival has three presenting sponsors. The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention & Visitors Bureau is sponsoring Tom Tom arts programming. New Belgium Brewing Company is the music presenting sponsor, and The Dreamfield Foundation is sponsoring the kickoff party and additional concert events.

For more information about Tom Tom, including the May 11-13 music festival weekend with more than 50 bands playing on the Downtown Mall, please visit,


Paul Beyer, Director
Tom Tom Founders Festival

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