Funhouse Fest 2018 finally gets underway

Update 9:15 p.m.: The Virginia Arts Festival announces it will begin re-entry at 9:15 p.m. and Alison Krauss will perform at 9:30 p.m.

Update 8:27 p.m.: The Virginia Arts Festival evacuated Funhouse Fest Friday evening just before 8 p.m. due to an approaching thunderstorm. The organization advised attendees to check its Facebook page for updates.

As Funhouse Fest readied to return Friday evening, clouds loomed overhead but spirits remained high.

“We’re still super excited,” said Alli Pereira, Virginia Arts Festival public relations manager. “What a great way for Bruce to give back to his community.”

Pereira said the festival setup went smoothly with help from Colonial Williamsburg and the city; she said she and her team were monitoring the weather closely.

But rain or shine, she tied the unpredictable June weather in with one of festival ringleader and Williamsburg native Bruce Hornsby’s most famous songs, that’s just “The way it is.”

Festival goers waiting in line streamed in steadily, eager to see the night’s lineup: Bruce Hornsby and the Noisemakers, Alison Krauss and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra String Quartet.

Hornsby’s storied career and Krauss’ distinct country style were both major draws.

“It’s pretty great,” said Chad Dall, who came from Gloucester Friday with his wife, Nicole. “We like both of them.”

The couple attended both previous Funhouse events, intrigued by Hornsby’s inaugural take on the festival concept in 2016 and Sheryl Crow’s headlining appearance in 2017.

Robley Jones, of Richmond, previously saw Hornsby perform a New Year’s Eve event on the campus of the College of William and Mary, and he was the main draw for attending Funhouse for the first time.

“I just think he’s an excellent musician,” Jones said. “It’s kind of a higher realm of rock.”

Pereira lauded Hornsby’s ability to assemble a diverse lineup once again.

Saturday’s repertoire includes Hornsby alongside the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Amos Lee, Deva Mahal and folk rock trio the Wood Brothers, the group Pereira said she’s most excited to see.

“I just hope to continue to do this for this area,” she said.

Want to go?

Funhouse Fest returns Saturday on the lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg. Tickets start at $39.25, available at or onsite.

Birkenmeyer can be reached by email at, by phone at 757-790-3029 or on Twitter @sethbirkenmeyer.

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