Richmond Independent Radio (WRIR-FM 97.3) is presenting A Richmond Musical History Tour on Sept.
Richmond Independent Radio (WRIR-FM 97.3) is presenting A Richmond Musical History Tour on Sept. 28 hosted by music historians who will narrate a bus tour through Richmond’s about its music history.
George Kimball, Director of Public Services and Outreach at the Library of Virginia, and Don Harrison, who has received multiple awards from the Virginia Press Association, will be hosting a two-hour bus tour covering over 150 years of music history here in Richmond.
WRIR, Richmond’s local nonprofit, listener-supported radio station which is “committed to presenting underrepresented news, views, and music,” and this exciting event falls right into their purview.
Casey Leon is a WRIR volunteer who developed the idea for this event with her husband last year and they have had a large role in making it all possible. The couple, who enjoy taking walking tours in general, both volunteer at the radio station and thought a musical tour of Richmond would make a great fundraising idea.
“It’s a town with so much history in it and this is sort of fun history,” Leon said.
Leon also explained that she feels exploring the city through its musical history instead isn’t as loaded but instead “provides this broader, cultural context to really understand.”
WRIR will be providing two tours on Sept. 28 which will meet at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. at Bandito’s Burrito Lounge for an overview of Richmond’s music scene. The overview will be followed by the bus tours which will take visitors to musical landmarks where Richmond musical history unfolded. From gospel and jazz to rock and punk, attendees will be able to discover a new side of Richmond history.
Leon continues to learn about Richmond’s history and says many people will learn so much on the tour like Richmond’s significance in the Jim Crowe era for black artists and when Bruce Springsteen played Richmond often in his early career.
Richmond is rich in history, yet Leon thinks those who aren’t too familiar with Richmond know it solely for its link to the civil war but Richmond contains a larger culture which isn’t as popular or thought about.
Leon says she is looking forward to the last stop of the tour the most. The tour ends at VCU’s Cabell Library where Ray Bonis, Archives Coordinator of Special Collections, displays numerous artifacts that bring light to Richmond’s music history.
“So many things that you wouldn’t think of as collectible, he did, and when you see them now it is a piece of history,” said Leon.
“I’ve done all this research and I still learned so much when I was on the tour myself,” Leon said she wanted readers to know. “There’s a lot more to Richmond’s musical history than you know.”
WRIR’s A Musical Tour of Richmond will be held on Sept. 28. Tickets for the tour are $25 and can be purchased at the WRIR website.