It's become something of a tradition: The first big kickoff in the lead-up to Richmond's largest free music festival of the year. I'm talking about The Richmond Folk Fest poster reveal party at Glave Kocen Gallery.
On Wednesday evening, a group of well wishers and folk festival fans were on hand to see this year's colorful design by local muralist Hamilton Glass. You may recall his community work most recently from the Legacy Wall of outdoor art at Bon Secours Richmond Community Hospital.
Glass told Style that he wanted to make a poster that embodied the diversity at the Folk Fest. On first glance, his poster feels in some ways reminiscent of a New Orleans Jazz Fest style poster. "Yeah, I could see that," he says.
"When I go to the Folk Fest, I try to open my horizons and listen to things I wouldn't normally listen to," Glass says. "I love live music. So the folk fest, that's really what it's all about."
Glass was clearly happy to have been chosen as this year's artist, beaming and thanking everyone for their support. Those present enjoyed free munchies from nearby Heritage and drank this year's Folk FestivALE by Champion Brewing, while Andrew Ali and Josh Small provided some appropriately rootsy tunes and a drawing was held for a set of all 14 years of RFF posters.
Echoing past artists, Glass noted that the most challenging part is fitting all the names of the performers on the poster. The whole process took him about a month, two weeks to design and two weeks to paint it with acrylics, he says.
"I had a whole lot more instruments in there, but I had to take things out," he says. "Every name has to be on there [a certain size], and you have to show the artists their respect. It's really harder than it seems."
Currently, Glass is working on the Fresh Paint exhibit at the Virginia Historical Museum, featuring work inspired by the story of Virginia (runs Sept. 10 through April 21, 2019). He's also got a project in Washington, DC for Coca Cola.
The 14th annual Richmond Folk Festival takes place Oct. 12 through 14 along the riverfront downtown. You can go here to learn more about this year's performers.