Commonwealth of Notions V brings the best of RVA’s music scene across 4 days

by | Aug 11, 2015 | MUSIC

“I think the one strong suit that Richmond’s always had is affordability.

“I think the one strong suit that Richmond’s always had is affordability. I don’t know if that is going to change over the coming years, with the expansion of VCU and bigger businesses,” said Shannon Cleary. “I think that there is something to be said about this being an artists’ city.”

Cleary is the host of Commonwealth of Notions, the radio show on 97.3 WRIR, Richmond Independent Radio. He’s preparing for the fifth installment of WRIR and The Commonwealth of Notions Presents: Volume Five, a four-day long festival showcasing over 20 emerging Richmond bands.

August is just around the corner…#wrircon5

Posted by The Commonwealth of Notions on Thursday, July 16, 2015

A natural extension of his radio show, The Commonwealth of Notions Presents: Volume Five is set to bring new faces and old favorites of the Richmond music scene together.

Commonwealth of Notions, and the reputation that the show has, is Cleary’s brainchild. It was born when the opportunity fell into his lap years ago.

“It was sort of a random accident,” said Cleary. “I became aware that WRIR was something that existed in Richmond. I was like ‘Wow, there’s this station that is playing Richmond music, and I wonder if there is a way that I can possibly contribute to that.’ Thankfully, a friend of mine, found himself in a place where he didn’t really want to do a show anymore.”

A random accident or not, Commonwealth of Notions has become a staple in the Richmond music scene. Cleary’s position as host and his dedication to providing an audience for local artists is both admirable and a result of his own convictions. The result is a radio show that is a mix of local artists and music that Cleary simply enjoys.

“It was this idea of me playing a bunch of local music, but also playing some of my favorite songs. That’s where the personal touch began,” said Cleary. “The nice thing at WRIR, is that there is a lot of local music representation there.”

Mike Rutz, the host of Activate! on WRIR also plays a large role in that representation. Rutz advised Cleary during the inception of Commonwealth of Notions. At the time, Rutz offered words of wisdom to Cleary as he worked with how to approach this type of festival.

“I wanted it to be what it is now, where it is four nights. He gave me the best bit of advice I’ve ever received, which was ‘You should just start as small as possible, and give yourself the time, duration, and years of experience doing it, until you feel confident enough to do it over the course of several days,’” said Cleary.

Commonwealth of Notions Presents: Volume One was 10 bands and one day. Over the last five years, Cleary has learned a lot from trial and error. From the dates of the festival to the philosophy behind the line-up, Cleary has gained that confidence that Rutz spoke about.

Commonwealth of Notions Presents: Volume Five will begin on Saturday, August 15, at Gallery 5; continue the following Friday, August 21, at Strange Matter, and Saturday, August 22, at Sound of Music Recording Studio. The festival will conclude at The Broadberry on Sunday, August 23.

Four nights, four venues, and an array of bands will make for an interesting, multi-dimensional display of local talent.

“I think that people generally like the showcases. I think they like the idea that they may only be familiar with one or two of the bands performing, but then there might be, like 4 or 5 others that they can be introduced to at an affordable rate,” said the radio host. “That is a cool experience and they know that they will be hanging out with a bunch of their friends anyway. I think it’s a fun lil party, a celebration of Richmond music.”

The music and community make this event. Cleary has not forgotten how essential the bands are to this festival. As the mastermind behind the event, Cleary tries to make sure that the audience and the band have a memorable night.

“It’s a weird assortment of groups, but it is kind of, like, a reiteration of what the entire showcase and festival is about,” said Cleary.“You put all of these bands on the bill, and there are bands that might not have typically played together; so, as a result, it’s like you’ve developed a local showcase that is blending audiences.”

Audiences can expect this idea of blending audiences and new experiences to come through the performances. Cleary encourages the bands involved to step out of their comfort zones to create an event that is totally organic and unique for everyone.

“It’s going to be another year of bizarre showcases and bizarre things that will hopefully be a fun tangent of the Richmond music scene. I tell bands who are performing…what would you want to do that you’ve never done before? So this isn’t just you playing a Tuesday night in Richmond. You’re playing a set of material that you’re stoked about.”

Commonwealth of Notions Presents: Volume Five will begin on Saturday,August 15, and conclude the following weekend on Sunday, August 23 at The Broadberry. The suggested donation for each show is $5. The final show at The Broadberry will have a suggested donation of $5 until the day of the show, when it will be $7.

All proceeds will go to benefit WRIR Independent Radio. For a full list of participating bands and show times, visit WRIR and The Commonwealth of Notions Presents:Volume Five’s Facebook event.

200 W. Marshall St; Richmond, VA 23220

Goldrush –
Anousheh –
Positive No –
Lady God – and
Various Eggs –
Way, Shape or Form –
Manzara –

929 W. Grace St; Richmond, VA 23220

Wow Owls! –
Big No –
Everyone Dies In The End –
Ultra Flake –
The Mad Extras –
Victorious Trees (feat. DAVE WATKINS + SAMANTHA PEARL) – and

1515 W. Broad St; Richmond, VA 23220

Toxic Moxie –
Gull –
Lobo Marino –
Among The Rocks and Roots-

AUGUST 23RD – The Broadberry
2729 W. Broad St; Richmond, VA 23220

Canary Oh Canary –
Warren Hixson –
White Laces –
Mikrowaves –

Brad Kutner

Brad Kutner

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