A warm summer evening set the perfect backdrop for Williamsburg Live, which kicked off Friday evening with thousands crowding onto the lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg to catch live music and enjoy local food and craft beer.
The two-night music festival is the successor of the Bruce Hornsby-backed Funhouse Fest, which was placed on hiatus this year due to Hornsby’s other commitments.
Master Police Officer Charles Ericsson with the Williamsburg Police Department said crowds on Friday and Saturday nights were a healthy size and larger than expected. He also said crowds at Williamsburg Live were mellow, and that there were no issues or incidents on either day of the festival.
Alli Pereira, public relations manager for Virginia Arts Festival, the event’s organizer, said she had high hopes for the festival, set to present headlining performances from Norah Jones on Friday and Emmylou Harris on Saturday nights.
“Bruce had his Funhouse Fest and we were so happy to be involved in it too, but it’s nice to have Williamsburg Live being the identity for this, and we’re still trying to cross genre with this festival just like we have in years past,” she said. “We’ve presented it in Williamsburg for years and years, so it’s nice to continue that legacy with artists that are national acts.”
As the evening progressed on Friday, festival-goers made their way into the event’s giant covered tent, or picked out a patch of grass along the museum lawn to set down their blankets or lawn chairs. Several said they were excited to hear performances from Parker Millsap and Norah Jones, the night’s two performers.
Festival-goers could also grab dinner at one of several local food trucks including FoodaTude, Prost and Matchsticks BBQ, and could also buy local craft beers from Alewerks and Billsburg Brewery.
Erica and Rick Inge said they traveled from Richmond and bought tickets months in advance to see Jones perform, and enjoyed the atmosphere at the event.
“We’ve been down for the Grand Illumination too, which is a totally different vibe, but this is nice,” Erica said.
Arriaza can be reached at 757-790-9313 or on Twitter @rodrigoarriaza0.