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Summer Arts Festival celebrates 25 years of warm weather fun

May 20, 2016

Summer Arts Festival 2015
Concert-goers enjoy music at the free Friday night concerts on Henderson Lawn.

The Virginia Tech-Town of Blacksburg Summer Arts Festival celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with a robust lineup of music, movies, theatre, art exhibits, and more. All events are free and family-friendly with plenty of variety to suit all ages.

Friday Night Out Concerts

The season begins June 3, when the Domino Band opens the festival with its high-energy brand of classic R&B music. Seven other Friday Night Out Concerts will be throughout the summer at 6 p.m. on Henderson Lawn at the corner of Main Street and College Avenue in downtown Blacksburg. Attendees are encouraged to bring a lawn chair or blanket. The lineup includes:

  • Domino Band (R&B), June 3
  • Rick Strickland Band (beach and shag), June 10
  • Hoppie Vaughan and the Ministers of Soul (blue-eyed soul), June 17
  • Surrender Dorothy (classic rock and country), June 24
  • Crossties (bluegrass), July 8
  • Gerry Timlin (Irish folk), July 15
  • Zydeco-a-Go-Go  (New Orleans style jazz), July 22
  • Panjammers (steel drums) and Megan Jean and the KFB (gypsy jazz/Americana), July 29

In case of inclement weather, concerts will be moved to the Old Dominion Ballroom in Squires Student Center. 

Live Theatre

The Roanoke Children's Theatre returns June 17-19 with six performances of  "Rapunzel, the Musical." The show is an adaptation of the tale of the long-haired princess and her climbing suitor who find their happy ending in a story of growing hair and growing up. Book and lyrics by David Crane and Marta Kauffman; music by Michael Skloff; directed by Pat Wilhelms. All performances will be held in the Squires Studio Theatre. Reservations are recommended and available online beginning June 1.

A semi-staged musical production of “Babes in Arms” will be presented Aug. 11-12 in Squires Studio Theatre. The performance includes Broadway standards such as “Where or When,” “I Wish I Were in Love Again,” “My Funny Valentine,” “Johnny One Note,” and “The Lady is a Tramp.” Music by Richard Rodgers; lyrics by Lorenz Hart; book by George Oppenheimer; directed by Amanda J. Nelson; music direction by Richard Masters. The performance is a culmination of the three-week Virginia Tech summer course Reviving Musical Theatre from the Past. Reservations are recommended and available online beginning July 28.

Classic Movies at the Lyric

Escape the heat of a summer afternoon with a free classic movie at the Lyric Theatre. All movies begin at 3 p.m. on select Wednesdays and Saturdays. The Lyric Theatre is at 135 College Ave. 

  • "Oliver!" directed by Carol Reed, June 4 and 8 
  • "Breakfast at Tiffany’s" directed by Blake Edwards, July 9 and 13
  • "The Candidate" directed by Michael Ritchie, Aug. 13 and 17

The Squires Perspective Gallery will display "EMOTIVE" - Marino Colmano’s 50 Years in Pictures on June 3-Aug. 6. The exhibit focuses on the meeting of nostalgic photojournalism and provocative emotional content. 

Additional special events held throughout the summer include:

The festival is presented in partnership between the School of Performing Arts at Virginia Tech and the Town of Blacksburg. All events are free and open to the public. Find more information online or contact Jane Harrison at 540-231-5921.

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Parking is available on weekends and after 5 p.m. weekdays in the Squires Lot at the corner of College Avenue and Otey Street, the Architecture Annex Lot on Otey Street, and the Perry Street/Prices Fork lots, or in the North End parking garage. Find more parking information online or call 540-231-3200. Alternative parking is available in the Kent Squire parking garage and the Farmers Market metered parking lot, both located on Draper Road. Additional downtown Blacksburg parking information is available online.

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