2nd Street Festival

October 5-6, 2024

The 2nd Street Festival will return this fall to celebrate its 36th anniversary, Saturday-Sunday, October 5-6! The festival celebrates the rich culture of the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood in Downtown Richmond, VA. This FREE event is produced by Venture Richmond Events.

Each year thousands visit historic Jackson Ward to reminisce about the days when 2nd Street was the heart and soul of Richmond's African American community and was known as “the Harlem of the South.” Today, Jackson Ward continues to be a thriving neighborhood and community. The 2nd Street Festival is an annual celebration over two days that features three stages of live musical entertainment along with a Kidz Zone, popular food vendors, a marketplace and Artists Row to shop, and the Richmond Metropolitan Antique Car Club.

Festival Headliners

Saturday's Headliner, Arrested Development

This year's festival features headliner Arrested Development on Saturday, October 5.

The multi-platinum, Grammy Award Winning Group, Arrested Development delivers an onstage energy that everyone wants to be a part of! Having received numerous accolades, including the first ever Hip-Hop artist to receive the “best new artist” Grammy, (a distinction it still maintains today in that category), the group was best known as pioneers of conscious rap. Arrested Development received a Grammy award for “best rap single” for their anthemic prayer-like hit song, Tennessee, a song that has gone on to be named as one of the 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and in the Top 100 Greatest Songs of the 90's by VH1.

With the success of the single Mr. Wendal, Arrested Development brought the issue of homelessness to the forefront. The group donated half of the royalty earnings from Mr. Wendal to the National Coalition of the Homeless. They were also asked to write a song for Spike Lee’s movie about minister and human rights activist, Malcom X. The movie, “X,” went on to become one of Spike Lee’s most highly acclaimed works. The Arrested Development song, Revolution, would forever be associated with the movie.

Rolling Stone magazine named Arrested Development Band of The Year in 1992, while VH-1 named them one of the greatest Hip-Hop artists of all time! Their sophomore release Zingalamaduni was a critics’ favorite garnering another Grammy nomination and selling half a million copies.

In September 2019, the band was given an award at the Black Music Honors Awards and in 2000, Arrested Development reemerged with a new lineup and a new album. For the last thirty years, Arrested Development has performed sold-out concerts in every part of the world.

Sunday's Closing Performance, Desiree Roots

This year's festival features a Sunday Closing Performance by Desiree Roots on Sunday, October 6.

Desiree Roots is revered for her powerful yet controlled, lush voice with its 3 ½ octave range. Her ability to sing nearly every genre including Jazz, Gospel, classical and opera has made her one of the area’s most sought-after vocalists. In 2004, Desiree was awarded the Theresa Pollack Prize for Excellence in the Arts. She has performed throughout the East Coast with orchestras, regional jazz bands and as leader of her own ensembles.

Desiree Roots was the opening act for internationally renowned artists including Boney James, Brian McKnight, Gerald Albright and B. B. King. As an actor, she has received numerous accolades and awards for her talents. Her leading role credits include Aldonza in Man of La Mancha; Effie in Dreamgirls, Sofia in The Color Purple and Caroline in Caroline or Change for which she won the RTCC Award for ”Best Actress in a Musical” (2015). Since being bitten by the theatre bug at the age of thirteen, Desiree has starred in over thirty productions in the Richmond Region.

Her debut CD, Don't Ever Stop Dreaming, released in 2015, showcases the range of her talent with an eclectic mix of jazz favorites and contemporary popular hits. Desiree’s passion has been working for the RVA arts community.

2024 Marketplace Applications Now Open!

The 2nd Street Festival's Marketplace showcases African American artwork/crafts, items that reflect the history of the heyday of 2nd Street, and original African American hand-crafted items.

Application Process: Once the applications are received, they are numbered along with the photos that accompanied it. The application (minus the company and applicant name) is submitted for consideration. Each application is rated and those with the highest score are invited to vend. Ratings will be based on the following:

  • Product quality and uniqueness
  • Authenticity
  • Connection to local/state/regional culture

Application Deadline (Postmarked): Saturday, June 15

View the 2024 Application

Interested in being a 2024 Event Sponsor?

Please email us for information on all sponsorship opportunities.