Virginia Beer Company preps night of Revelry

sbirkenmeyer@vagazette.com

Since opening two-and-a-half years ago, the Virginia Beer Company established itself as another key player in the Williamsburg area entertainment scene through concerts staged at the brewery’s Second Street location and appearances at events elsewhere throughout the community.

VBC’s first Revelry event is the culmination of the team’s experience so far, bringing together live music, craft beer, food and community for an evening at the College of William and Mary’s Martha Wren Briggs Amphitheatre Friday.

“We feel like we’ve got a really good feel for putting on a concert,” said VBC co-founder Robby Willey. “We really wanted to focus on the community aspect.”

The VBC team hopes the event draws attention to the beautiful but often forgotten amphitheatre venue, located off the beaten path near Lake Matoaka. It’s a spot near and dear to Willey, a William and Mary graduate, who recalled sledding on the site’s slopes as a student prior to its makeover into a music venue.

“There wasn’t really much down there,” he said.

Now, the amphitheatre holds 2,000 people.

“I remember when the renovations took place between the end of my junior and senior years at William and Mary,” said VBC co-founder Chris Smith, who graduated in 2007. “I’ve since enjoyed the time I’ve spent at the amphitheatre but always thought the space should be utilized more often.”

The VBC team spent more than a year coordinating with the college to plan the event in the midst of other efforts such as student events, Virginia Symphony Orchestra performances and Housing Partnerships’ annual PIPE benefit concert.

Revelry focuses on a casual atmosphere that’s accessible to a wide audience. The musical repertoire centers on familiar covers that encourage dancing and audience participation.

Richmond-based yacht rock band Three Sheets to the Wind, Style Weekly’s pick for best cover band seven years running, headlines the concert.

Willey likened yacht rock to the soft-yet-catchy brand of rock that peaked during the 1970s and ’80s with acts such as Kenny Loggins and Toto.

Williamsburg area brass ensemble Brasswind will open the show.

“Our goal was to offer something for everyone,” said Luci Legaspi, VBC taproom manager and business developer. “I guarantee there’s going to be at least one song where you’ll find yourself singing and dancing along.”

“Revelry” combines new VBC brews such as Somebody’s Baby, an American pilsner brewed to commemorate the occasion, alongside several of the brewery’s established creations. The event also features food from Old City Barbecue and the Catering Company available for purchase.

Willey said he’d like to stage one or two events at the amphitheatre each year moving forward.

“We’re trying and we’re hoping we can grow this and maybe make it an even bigger experience over time,” Willey said.

He said that could mean evolving the event to incorporate other breweries, a larger lineup of musicians and beyond. But for the time being, Revelry aims to be a fun Friday evening.

“This is by far the biggest production we’ve ever organized,” Willey said. “Hopefully this will be the first of many.”

Want to go?

Music runs 6:30-10 p.m. Friday at Martha Wren Briggs Amphitheatre, 121 Ukrop Drive. Gates open 5:30 p.m. Tickets are $22 at the gate or $18 in advance, available at bit.ly/revelry2018.

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

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