Richmond has a wealth of music history, ranging from 1930s jazzers appearing at the Hippodrome on 2nd Street to 1980s indie rockers on Grace Street to today’s brass bands, classical string quartets and world musicians. There’s a lot to take in, but we have some suggestions -- free suggestions. Get your dancing shoes on, y’all.
Dominion Jazz Cafe at VMFA
Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, 6-9 p.m. Thursdays.
It may seem like a casual thing to head over to the museum for jazz on a Thursday night, but you’ll want to dress up. The music -- brought to you by mainly local ensembles, often with sultry vocals -- draws a diverse crowd that turns up the fashion volume. So, you may want to put on that new sundress or seersucker jacket.
The Richmond Jazz Festival at Maymont
The bulk of the Aug. 10-13 festival -- which features Taj Mahal and Keb ‘Mo performing together, plus Erykah Badu, Common and Peabo Bryson -- has an admission charge. It’s worth the ticket, but there are no-cost ways to enjoy the festival too.
If you’re paying attention, you can catch The Flavor Project (7-8 p.m., Hardywood Park Craft Brewery) and Bobby BlackHat Band (6-9 p.m., VMFA) free on the Thursday before the main festival starts. Going by history, these shows will be well worth your time.
Classical Revolution RVA
Part of a national effort among professional classical musicians to make their sonatas and symphonies more accessible, Richmond’s Classical Revolution troupe is active throughout the year with free performances scheduled at bars, museums and art galleries. You’ll want to banish the word “stuffy” from your vocabulary once you go. Follow Classical Revolution on Facebook for info on its signature Mozart Festival in April and other events.
Bluegrass Jams at Garden Grove Brewing Co.
3445 W. Cary St., 7-10 p.m. Tuesdays.
On a balmy Tuesday night, you’ll likely see a crowd of pickers and grinners on the patio in front of Garden Grove, one of Richmond’s craft beer brewers. They’re here for an old-fashioned bluegrass jam. Everyone’s invited to sit in or simply watch. These kinds of get-togethers are common in western Virginia, but we’re quite pleased to have this tradition pop up in Richmond, too.
Indie Rock at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery
2408 Ownby Lane
Most weekends, if you want to catch a free show, Hardywood is a good bet. With a strong focus on local indie rock bands, the brewery has a good sound system and plenty of room for dancing and hanging out. And for those of us who don’t like to stay out all night, the music typically starts in the afternoon or early evening. Follow Hardywood on Facebook to keep track of the shows. Or just head over.