Friday, October 12, 2007

Show goes on (and does well)

RICHMOND, Va. (Friday, October 12) – Despite the cancellation of a performance by the Holmes Brothers because of the sudden illness of Sherman Holmes, Friday night appears to have been a hit among performers and fans.

Sherman Holmes, 68, suffered a severe asthma attack prior to the Holmes Brothers’ appearance as the final act on the Ukrop’s/First Market Stage last night. He was taken to the VCU Hospital for observation, but was in good condition as of the time of this writing.

Elana JamesLisa Sims, festival director, said she thought attendance tonight was double that of last year. She attributed some of the increased attendance to better weather.

“We were blessed with great weather tonight,” Sims said.

Last year, temperatures were quite a bit colder. The first year of the festival, it was raining.

Karan CaseyThe performers enjoyed themselves. For Vishten, an Acadian band from Prince Edward Island, Canada, the night was special. They had performed one set with other musicians in the Virginia Folklife area at the first festival in 2005.

“We’re so happy to be back at this festival. We have great memories of this place,” said Pastelle LeBlanc. “It’s great to be a part of the lineup with other great bands. It’s inspiring as well to have Acadian music share the stage alongside all the other types of folk music.”

White Smith (center) sings for Cindy Cashdollar and Elana James
Cindy CashdollarWhite Smith, guitarist for Western Swing artists Cindy Cashdollar and Elana James, enjoyed the energy of the crowd.

“There was a great vibe going,” Smith said. “If I had shown up with the flu, I would have been cured by the end. There was a lot of positive energy from the crowd.”

D.L. Menard (left)The crowd felt the energy, too. Dancers abounded for D.L. Menard with Terry Huval and the Jambalaya Cajun Band at the Times-Dispatch Dance Pavilion. Hardly a beat was missed when Latin dance outfit Grupo Fantasma followed.

Susie, a young mother, was energetically dancing with her daughter while Grupo Fantasma played. Her husband and another daughter were enjoying another band at the time. She said she was enjoying herself. When asked why, she said, “Music. All the music.”

Dancers at Grupo Fantasma's performanceEven workers enjoyed themselves. Chris Boyd was part of a trio of city workers picking up the area around the Dance Pavilion, with a little extra pep in their step. He said the festival made him feel proud.

“People from all over are coming and enjoying Richmond,” he said.

The music wasn’t the only thing of interest.

Aurora, a visitor from Texas, was busy taking photographs of some of the exhibits at Tredagar as the evening was winding down.

“I’ve never been here before,” she said. “The American history here is fascinating.”

Grupo Fantasma


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