Views from the First Iron Blossom Music Festival


The first Iron Blossom Music Festival kicked off this weekend with a roar and resounding success as some of the biggest acts in the world descended on Richmond to play alongside an incredible line up of “who-the-hell-are-these-guys?!” and any number of bands that could become listeners’ new obsession. In case you missed it, it will most likely be back next year supplying the Richmond public with an adrenaline shot straight to the blood stream of music of all kinds. In case you missed it, we’ve got the pictures below to convince to head down their next year, as well as my experience at one of the better festivals I’ve been to in a long time.

Photo by CJ Payne

A Story of Day 1

As I entered the grounds on day 1 of the inaugural Iron Blossom Music Festival I was greeted with a wall of music lovers crowding up to the stages front and center as Colony House took the stage. All around thousands of great cables snaked through the grounds like anacondas slithering across the fields.

Photo by Andrew Bonieskie

Colony House came out to enormous applause. The energetic performance, as well as I’m sure a number of other inebriating factors, moved the crowd to overwhelming joy as tears stream down the faces of a few that watched on.

Photo by CJ Payne

Colony House’s performance oozed with charisma as they kept on with their set, but me and the fellow journalists were kicked out of the media pit as they began their fourth song. The festivities were already in full swing, and I wanted to partake in the antics of a festival crowd bumping in the Summer heat. After the acquisition of a cocktail I wandered into the crowd.

I sat on the lawn as Colony House ended their performance, and the next act was announced to be one of the headliners, Lord Huron.

Iron Blossom Festival 2023, photo by Ko Soum
Photo by Ko Soum

The growing crowd screamed and cheered as the headliners took the stage and commanded the audience of thousands who hypnotically sang along to every lyric.

Photo by CJ Payne

As we were once again kicked out of the pit, across the field my eye was caught by a giant ferris wheel standing guard over the festival grounds.

Photo by Andrew Bonieskie

My curiosity getting the better of me, I caught the ride up and was greeted with the best view of the festival. From nearly a hundred feet above the grounds, while the late afternoon sun shone brightly, I saw the thousands of music lovers gathered to experience these beautiful sounds in tandem as my beautiful city gleamed in the background.

I caught sight of the giant tent sitting mid field to allow a moment of respite from the sun for tired concert goers, and hopped over to see the wonderful colors. Inside the sun broke through and glittered across the the tent in waves of astounding colors.

Iron Blossom Festival 2023, photo by Ko Soum
Photo by Ko Soum

The sun was getting low in the sky as Lord Huron said their goodbye. Immediately upon the smaller stage strode my newest musical obsession, and out came Celisse. Striding confidently across the stage and shredded her guitar to bits to the screams of an ever growing crowd.

Photo by Andrew Bonieskie

The sun began to disappear behind the buildings, the evening was coming to a close, and I had forgotten my sunscreen so I was turning red as a beet. Behind me the the festival grounds glittered with light and crackled with energy as mine faded, and the first day of the first Iron Blossom Festival exploded in one last final hurrah. I left half a day after entering, full of joy and pride at the music and my city. Though I could not return tomorrow, I was overjoyed to have been a part of what was one of the more beautiful festivals I have seen in years.

Iron Blossom Festival 2023, photo by Dave Parrish
Photo by Dave Parrish



Andrew Bonieskie

Andrew Bonieskie

I'm a writer and musician living in Brooklyn, NY after having served as the Associate Editor of RVA Mag from 2023 - 2024. After graduating from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Arts in music and a minor in creative writing I have gone on to score feature and short films, released a book of poetry, recorded multiple albums of original music with my band Pebbles Palace and as a solo artist under the name Lawrence Bones.

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