Friday Night Funk at the Tom Tom Founders Festival

To celebrate a week of creativity and grooves, courtesy of the Tom Tom Founders Festival, Charlottesville let loose its soul at the Friday Night Block Party.

On Friday, April 16th, we were lucky to attend one of the five bumping block parties thrown by the Tom Tom Founders Festival. For most of the day, we had scrambled in and out of the Paramount Theater filming interviews for the Founders Summit. The day was historic for both of our Pioneer careers, filming our first on-camera interviews. Check out our interviews with Sukhinder Singh Cassidy and Doug Stoup later this week (shameless plug)!

As exciting as the experience was, you couldn’t beat ending the night in a place we were both familiar with–behind the camera. In a town like Charlottesville, where the people respond kindly to photo-ops (at least from both of our experiences), we knew the evening would be saturated with awesome individuals.

We dove into Lee Park like over-excited puppies, giddy to cover such an eclectic event. We were greeted with smiles, funky tunes, food trucks galore, and more dogs than we could handle. After a long week of Tom Tom events, the whole community was ready to let loose and celebrate.

The spring sunshine imparted a jubilant, family-friendly atmosphere over all of Lee Park. We weaseled our way through a crowd of craft beer connoisseurs to film the soulful Richmond singer Sam Reed. Her spirited rendition of “A Change is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke enraptured the group of children playing in front of the stage. Looking around, it was easy to tell that everyone in the crowd felt happy to be alive.

Our attention immediately shifted elsewhere–the aromas of locally sourced grub beckoned us to the food alley. Hungry after an hour of filming, we stuffed our faces with Filipino pancit noodles and Southern-style fish tacos. Our friends were more than happy to pilfer a few bites. After reveling in the glory of Virginia’s finest food trucks, the vibe of the block party transitioned from soulful to downright funky. The Deems, a Richmond-based improvisational jam/funk band, pulled in people who were ready to groove. Although the sun had set, we weren’t in the dark. The vibrant lights darting across the trees entranced the crowd and infused the night with color. The Deems eventually handed the mic over to Gang of Thieves, a dance-rock band from Burlington, VT. The energy of the crowd only grew from there.

The party showed no signs of stopping as we left, but we knew we could relive the whole party through our footage. Food, family, friends, and funk–the whole event epitomized the Charlottesville community experience. We hope our video reflected the essence of the night, and we strongly suggest you check it out next year. And if you were at the party–pretty rad, eh?

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