Tracy Keats Wilson
Lead Singer, Positive No
After nearly two decades of feeling alone and like an outsider as a female musician, there is an army of us ladies here who play music. … Positive No has only been playing shows since December 2012, but one thing has really struck me about our performances to date: Every single bill we have played thus far has included at least one female musician.
aka DJ Carlito
Richmond is not just a black and white town like it seemed in the '70s and '80s. … Whether due to VCU expanding exponentially and enrolling many international students [University of Richmond is doing this as well], or the many large businesses that have relocated to Richmond in the past 10 years. Because of that new diversity … the demand and appreciation for international dance music and more diverse entertainment in general has exploded.
Manager, the Trillions
It used to just be about punk and metal in Richmond, but since I've been living here the scene's become much more diverse and there's continual growth. It's slow growth, but it's definitely growing.
Musician, Bon Iver and No BS! Brass band
What's different about the scene is there are a lot of musicians who all work together. … I've played horns in all different kinds of bands. Funk, metal, hip-hop, jazz — I have friends in all of them, that's kind of uncommon. The projects and genres overlap. It's like a crew where we all can do jobs and we just go to them for each other.
Musician and Promoter
There are fewer and fewer places now for live music other than the status quo and whenever someone tries to break the mold and do something cool, the powers that be try to shut them down and make life and business as hard as possible instead of trying to support and help them. Recent raids on galleries during First Friday, the city's C.A.P.S. program, harassment of the Camel, Captain Buzzy's, insane requirements to serve food and alcohol, noise laws, business curfews, etc. They make everything harder than it needs to be. Yet somehow, the scene here perseveres and survives. It's truly amazing that it does. In RVA you really do have to fight for your right to party.
Owner, the Empire Dining & Lounge
This was the first bar that I saw a show in when I was a kid — it was Rockitz then — and I always thought it was a great place to go. It was one of the biggest reasons I moved to Richmond from Pennsylvania in 1988. I bought it last year on my birthday [July 29].
This place has been a lot of things — Asparagus Farm, String Factory, Bilbo Baggins, Center Stage, Rockitz, Casablanca, the Factory, Metro, Sweetwater, and has been Empire for eight and a half years. … We found old show posters from 1959, and a lot of times people remember a show and want to get a copy of a poster, so I keep them down where they can look at them. In one month back in the late '80s, we had Gangrene, Sam Kinison, Bo Didley and Fishbone — the diversity is awe-inspiring. All of that history is still here, and I'm trying to focus on it. The goal is to open up a music hall upstairs. There's room for a 300-seat venue, and I want to be able to do music, performing arts and comedy. … It was definitely a dive bar and for the last couple of years people didn't realize we were open for food. But we can bring this back to its former luster.