The 2nd Street Festival will return this fall, Saturday-Sunday, October 7-8, marking a big 35th anniversary year! 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.
This year’s festival features headliner Average White Band on Saturday, October 7.
Regarded as one of the top Soul, R&B and Jazz-Funk groups, and first known for the timeless instrumental hit ‘Pick Up the Pieces,’ Average White Band’s appeal lies in their diverse songwriting and unique approach to rhythm and blues. With multiple gold and platinum albums and three Grammy nominations on the legendary Atlantic label, they were the first Brits to top the US Top 100 Singles, Albums and R&B charts. The six-piece band took their instrumental cues from jazz giants Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Al Green and Stevie Wonder to create their own authentic R&B blend, which, with the tongue-in-cheek name, happily surprised both black and white audiences alike. The Average White Band continues its deserved place at the pinnacle of soul and funk music to the delight of widely eclectic and multi-generational audiences everywhere. They will perform on the Main Stage at the 2nd Street Festival on Saturday, October 7 at 5:45 p.m.
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7
11:30 – 12:30pm Aubrey Smalls Quartet
1:00 – 2:00pm DJ Drake and MC Choco
2:30 – 3:30pm Rodney "The Soul Singer " Stith
4:00 – 5:10pm J Baxter & the S.A.U.C.E.
5:45 - 7:00pm AVERAGE WHITE BAND
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8
1:00 – 1:30pm Michelle Lightfoot & Friends
2:00 – 2:30pm Virginia Union University Choir
3:00 – 4:00pm Legacy Band
4:45 – 6:00pm I Would Die 4 U; A Musical Tribute to PRINCE
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7
12:00 - 1:15pm COUNTERPOINT featuring Wayne “Big Patt” Patterson
1:45 - 2:45pm Debra Dean and the Key West Ensemble
3:15 - 4:15pm Jason Jenkins Group
4:45 - 6:00pm The Marvin Taylor Experience
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8
1:00 - 2:10pm Drummer, Billy Williams, Jr.
2:45 - 4:00pm Carl Lester-El Quartet featuring Corey El
4:45 - 6:00pm Nathan Mitchell
SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7
11:35 – 12:00pm Welcome - Historic Jackson Ward Association- Janis Allen; Lift Every Voice & Sing - Milani Hopkins; Renaissance Roll Call - Gary Flowers
12:20 – 12:50pm Sports Backer’s Fitness Warriors
1:20 – 2:20pm Blendmasters Own DJ Hammer
2:50 – 3:50pm The Line Dance Prince - Carlos Vieira
4:10 - 4:30pm Richmond Urban Dance
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8
1:10 – 1:40pm Village of Faith Ministry
2:05 - 2:35pm Carlehr Swanson
3:00 –3:30pm Happiness Dance Studio performing Tap Dance
4:00 - 5:00pm The Johnny Lee Long Band
PLEASE NOTE: We suggest people bring their own chairs to best enjoy the shows at each stage.
The 2023 official poster was commissioned to Jowarnise, a figurative artist based in Richmond.
“Drawing inspiration from African textile design, contemporary fashions, and urban culture, Jowarnise developed a late interest in portraiture, mainly in the mediums of painting and drawing, after earning her Bachelor of Fine Art from Virginia State University. She blends classical painting with her years of graphic design experience. Most of her works combine a wide range of references from classical painting, pop culture, and her personal experience. Jowarnise, visual artist and designer, explores the human condition with them related to race, social class, and culture through her art. Best known for her naturalistic portraits of women in eloquent poses, she often focuses on the female African American experience.” Mending Walls RVA
The new posters and tshirts will be for sale at the Venture Richmond tent on 2nd Street at the festival.
Featured Jazz Stage Artists, The Marvin Taylor Experience and Nathan Mitchell
Richmond native and saxophonist, Marvin Taylor, has lived his life in pursuit of the joy and connection experience through the power of music. He has played with some of Jazz Music’s greatest including Dizzie Gillespie, Sonny Rollins, Gladys Knight, Alex Bugnon, Kirk Whalum, Bob James and many others. Taylor performs Saturday, October 7 from 4:45-6:00pm on the Jazz Stage.
Closing the Jazz Stage on Sunday is Nathan Mitchell. Back by popular demand, this Grammy nominated, and three-time NAACP Image Award keyboardist has performed twice at the festival and is a fan favorite. He will be featured on Sunday, October 8 at 4:45pm. The Jazz Stage is booked by Desiree Roots Centeio.
Sunday’s Closing Performance, I Would Die 4U: A Musical Tribute to PRINCE
As a returning crowd favorite, this musical tribute band brings the electric joy and eclectic funk of Prince’s music to the stage with the recreations of Prince’s greatest hits, funkiest jams, and most soulful ballads. Accompanied by his incredibly talented band, Anthony Cosby, Jr. takes you on an unforgettable musical journey. Anthony is a musical theater performer based in Richmond who has performed in over 30 musical productions including The Wiz, A Chorus Line, Sister Act, The Color Purple and many more. He also has appeared in several episodes of AMC’s Channel hit series “TURN,” the PBS series, “Mercy Street,” and Hulu’s latest production, “Dopesick.”
Ceremonial Kick-Off Parade
The festival opens with Jackson Ward’s historic organizations. No floats needed as we recreate and honor the benevolent, religious, financial, fraternal/sororal and civic organizations that played a vital role in the history of the Jackson Ward neighborhood. The short parade starts at 11:15am on Saturday at 2nd and Broad Street and moves three blocks northward to the Eggleston Community Stage on Leigh Street for an opening welcome from the neighborhood association. Help to kick off the festival and show your community support! If your organization would like to be included in this parade, please contact Gary Flowers, our parade partner, at 773-230-3554 for more information.
Radio One 2nd Street MIX Weekend
Back again for another year, 2nd Street Festival partner Radio One’s “2nd Street MIX'' weekend will get you ready for the festival by bringing you mixes from the hottest DJs in the city! Tune into 99.3/105.7 KISS FM on Saturday, October 7 from 4:00pm-midnight and Sunday, October 8 from noon-7:00pm. Hear mixes from DJ King Tutt, DJ Drake, and DJ Lonnie B playing all your favorite 2nd Street Festival hits!
FREE Walking Tours, guided by Gary Flowers
Venture Richmond Events will provide FREE guided walking tours led by Gary Flowers who has a four-generation family connection to Historic Jackson Ward. "Educating the public to the place Historic Jackson Ward holds in commerce, education, and dismantling racial segregation in the United States of America is critically important to me,” Mr. Flowers said. Tour groups meet on the sidewalk at the Maggie Walker National Historic Site, 2nd & E. Leigh Street, and leave at 2:00pm on Saturday and at 2:00pm on Sunday. 60-minute tours.
Kidz Zone, produced by the Children’s Museum and Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia
The Children’s Museum and Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia are producing the much-loved Kidz Zone! Some of the fun activities planned include a community art project, historical quilting, storytelling with guest readers, bag hat creations as well as a physical activity area with a variety of yard games. Balloons By Extreme will be on site for some balloon twisting fun too! The Kidz Zone is located in the parking lot between Clay and Leigh Street off of 2nd Street.
Saturday, October 7 from 11:30am - 7:00pm
Sunday, October 8 from 1:00pm - 6:00pm
In the historic Jackson Ward neighborhood, within an eight-block area along N. 2nd Street between E. Broad and E. Jackson Streets in Downtown Richmond.
For ride share: 124 E. Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219
The 2nd Street Festival is a FREE event. Food, drink and merchandise are available for sale.
DO NOT BRING PETS (other than service animals) to the festival. We expect large crowds and your pets will be more comfortable at home.
WHAT CAN I BRING WITH ME?
Items that are permitted include, but are not limited to:
WHAT CAN I NOT BRING WITH ME?
Items that are not permitted include, but are not limited to:
DOWNTOWN RICHMOND PARKING
There is no dedicated event parking, but around the festival site there are surface parking lots and available on-street parking, specifically on the south side of E. Broad Street between Foushee Street and N. 5th Street. There is also a paid parking deck at 3rd and Marshall (Convention Center deck) and at 5th and Marshall Streets (Richmond Marriott deck).
IN THE EVENT OF RAIN
The 2nd Street Festival will go on, rain or shine.
EMERGENCY SERVICES/FIRST AID
Emergency service centers are available at the festival. Free hand sanitizer will be available at these locations.
Portable restrooms are located throughout the festival. Free hand sanitizer will be available at these locations.
YOUR PRESENCE IS YOUR PERMISSION
Special photographers and videographers have been hired by festival organizers to document the event. Some images may be used in later promotional materials. Your presence at the event is seen as your permission for such promotional use by the nonprofit organizers.
Artist Row Vendors
From the Core Art Studio, Jay Sharpe LLC, Marigold Art Studio, R.P.J. Studios and The Art of Abdul Badi will be on site along with our featured poster artist, Jowarnise.
Casey's Art, Art2Light Designs, A.U.M.I.I.T.U., Awa's Handmade Art Gallery, Soma Fashions, By Justine, LLC, Used & Rare, M&M Links, 4Ever Love Yourself, Kennerly Designs, Mr. G Imports, Honee Beaz, Scentsational, Arlene's Accessories, Paint Our Future, D.A.T. Boutique, The Mann Behind the Hatts, LLC, Wick'D Out, Aziz Fashions, and Khepra Jewelers, LLC.
2023 Festival Merchandise
2nd Street Festival t-shirts, tote bags, water bottles and posters are for sale at the Venture Richmond tent on 2nd Street between Clay and Marshall Streets. Festival merchandise is for sale on Saturday from 11:30am - 7:00pm, and on Sunday from 1:00pm - 6:00pm. Merchandise is available until it is sold out.
Due to the growth of businesses and residents within the footprint of the 2nd Street Festival, we will not be able to host Community Row at the event this year. However, the 2nd Street Festival prides itself on supporting the Jackson Ward neighborhood, and so if your non-profit is in the footprint of the neighborhood or participated in the past, please provide your company name and website address and we can add a link here. Contact us.