Music Lover’s Williamsburg: The Best Festivals and Concerts
From blues to folk to string quartets, don’t miss these fun music events.
Start counting the long list of Virginia musicians from Patsy Cline to Bruce Hornsby to Dave Matthews to Pharrell Williams and it's no surprise that the state and the Greater Williamsburg area are home to an equally eclectic array of music events.
Here are the festivals and concert series in Greater Williamsburg to put on your calendar for the first half of 2017. Make your plans early. Some of these will sell out far in advance.
Sing Along in the Woodshed
nt like the Rockin' Vets and the Hot House Band. Let the tunes take you away to warmer times starting at 7 p.m.
Second Sundays of Song
Second Sundays, Williamsburg's Art and Music Festival, kicks off with the first event on March 12 and runs through Dec. 10 in Colonial Williamsburg. The festival showcases numerous local and regional acts on several stages while as many as 100 artists offer their creations for sale in downtown Williamsburg. The music starts at 11 a.m. and continues until 5 p.m. That's more seconds of song than you can count.
Listen Along with the Symphonic Masters
The Williamsburg Symphony Orchestra offers Masterworks Concerts in the Kimball Theatre in Merchants Square. The performances on March 29 and 30 feature pianist Alessio Bax and the symphony playing Ravel, Clementi and Beethoven. On April 25 and 26, the symphony turns to hidden gems playing Verdi, Mozart and Neilson. The fireworks finale at Phi Beta Kappa Memorial Hall at the College of William & Mary on May 20 features violinist Elena Urioste and the symphony playing Falla, Korngold and Tchaikovsky.
A Triple Shot of Vitamin B
How better to get a shot of springtime energy than Yorktown's fourth annual Blues, Brews and BBQ Festival May 6 from noon to 6 p.m. on Riverwalk Landing? Hear the best local blues bands. Quaff craft brews. And, of course, pick up extra napkins as you devour barbecue and other local favorites. Get your tickets early.
Sunset Songs on the Water
The Watermen’s Museum Yorktown Music Jamboree concert series starts Friday, May 5, and continues every Friday through August showcasing local musicians. What could be better than to watch the sunset and listen to songs echoing across the York River?
One Classy Coffee Concert
The Virginia Arts Festival has a sprawling calendar of events in southeastern Virginia throughout April and May. It brings the American String Quartet with pianist Andre-Michel Schub to the always-classy Williamsburg Winery in an intimate show where fans will be able to mingle with the artists following the performance. Make your escape from work for the 10:30 a.m. show on May 11.
Have Fun, Fun, Fun on the Big Lawn
Funhouse Fest, a three-day celebration of music curated by Grammy-winner Bruce Hornsby in partnership with the Virginia Arts Festival, is back for a second year after attracting more than 6,000 people. Hornsby is Williamsburg's favorite musical son and the festival's lineup reflects his eclectic tastes. Last year it featured bluegrass master Ricky Skaggs, superb songwriters Steve Earle and Shawn Colvin, up and coming folkie Aoife O'Donovan and blues legend Taj Mahal. Check back to see who will take the stage on the lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg from June 23 to June 25.
Summer Breeze, Makes Me Feel Fine
Hot Time, Hot Summer Songs
Cool evenings at Busch Gardens during July and August get a shot of hot songs with Summer Nights, featuring rock, pop, country and contemporary Christian performers under the stars at the Royal Palace Theatre. The schedule is evolving, but mark July 15 for a show with country mega-star Josh Turner.
Unplugged in True Williamsburg Style
Go Uncorked and Unplugged at Greater Williamsburg’s classy update of that MTV Unplugged phenomenon at The Williamsburg Winery on June 10. It is a magic merger of wine and song featuring intimate acoustic sets from major-league acts and world-class Virginia wines. Past shows have included Grace Potter, Josh Radin, Ingrid Michaelson and Rachel Platten of “Fight Song” fame.