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Shaking the Bottom

The city is partnering with Shockoe Records for 804 Day, billed as "Richmond's biggest block party."


With three different stages hosting 17 local performers, 804 Day will be "the biggest block party in RVA," organizers say. Plans are set for the free music festival to take over the Shockoe Bottom area on Friday, Aug. 4. The event is officially co-sponsored by the City of Richmond, Radio One and the Shockoe Records music label.

"A couple of months ago, the city's Department of Parks and Recreation said they wanted to do something called 804 Day," says event curator Reese Williams, the communications director for Shockoe Records. "We thought of that as well, so it was a perfect partnership of them having a date and needing entertainment and Shockoe Records providing the bands." She adds that, in addition to three stages of live music, there will also be a DJ stage sponsored by Radio One at the event.

804 Day will showcase performances from a diverse array of local indie-rock, hip-hop, jazz, folk, soul and Latin performers. Seven of the acts are affiliated with the label, which was started last year by In Your Ear Studios' Carlos Chafin, Craig Martin, host of the PBS series “The Good Road,” and Queon “Q” Martin of Soulidifly Productions. The stated goal of Shockoe Records is to sign and lift up local talent and, in the process, rebrand the Bottom as a vibrant creative hub. "I’m like, ‘yeah, let’s redeem that part of town that was traditionally known for the trans-Atlantic slave trade,” Craig Martin told Style Weekly last year.

"Shockoe Bottom is historically a place of great pain and suffering," the 804 Day website reads. "But today it is a place of collaboration and creativity. We will bring people together from all walks of life and backgrounds as we gather to celebrate unity, diversity, music and art."

The inaugural Shockoe Records roster includes (from left) Weldon Hill, Elizabeth Wise, Rodney Stith, Jameson Price (Høly River), Chance Fischer and Laney Sullivan (Høly River). - DAVE PARRISH PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Dave Parrish photography
  • The inaugural Shockoe Records roster includes (from left) Weldon Hill, Elizabeth Wise, Rodney Stith, Jameson Price (Høly River), Chance Fischer and Laney Sullivan (Høly River).

The artists set to perform at the inaugural installment of the festival include Mad Skillz, Rodney “The Soul Singer” Stith, Jaylin Brown, Saint Samuel, Høly River, Weldon Hill, Chance Fischer, Rikki Rakki, Michael Millions, Tyler Meacham, Corey El and the Fam Band, PumpHouse, Los Malcriados, Merciful Zero, Tin Can Fish Band and Sun V Set.

"We always wanted to sponsor a label showcase," says Williams of the roster's varied lineup, which reflects the diversity of the weekly live "Shockoe Sessions" performances hosted at In Your Ear Studios. "When we were asked to program three stages, we wanted to give our performers an opportunity to shine but also showcase the amazing musical diversity we have in the community."

804 Day will be held in the area around the 17th Street Farmers Market, between 16th and 17th streets from East Main to East Grace. There will be street closures and beer trucks will be on hand for the festivities. Nonprofit organizations and arts and crafts vendors will also be showcased, and there will be a Kid's Zone play area. Williams expects the festival to become an annual tradition. "At some point, in between the performances, the mayor will speak and award a proclamation, declaring Aug. 4 to be 804 Day for us."

She adds that the event will also kick off the first Richmond Music Week, a seven-day promotion of the city's music scene that will culminate in another Shockoe Records-sponsored show on Aug. 11, the RVA Rapper's Delight at the Hippodrome in Jackson Ward. Hosted by Mike Street, the showcase has been curated by local producer Ant the Symbol, whose new album, "I Know Who I Am," is on Shockoe Records. Celebrating fifty years of Richmond hip-hop, the admissioned concert will include performances from some of area hip-hop's brightest lights, including Nickelus F., Noah-O, Radio B. Cane and others.

804 Day is free and will be held Friday, Aug. 4 in and around the 17th Street Farmers Market in Shockoe Bottom from 4-9 p.m. The RVA Rappers Delight concert is scheduled for the Hippodrome on Friday, Aug. 11. Tickets will be $30 in advance and $35 at the door.