Throughout the week, enjoy 16 Farm-to-Table Restaurant Week menus that highlight local farms and artisans with our region’s premier chefs. Also, enjoy 12 Craft Cocktail Competition mixologists, and get a Tom Tom Cocktail–each specialty drink features at least one local ingredient. Make sure to review the cocktail online afterwards.
On Monday, kick-off the festival with our Future Forum: the Creative Economy 2025, which features some of the area’s most innovative leaders sharing their vision for the future of the City. It’s a free event that offers a thought-provoking way to start the week. Speakers include Michael Prichard, Founder of WillowTree and Brendan Richardson, Cofounder of PsiKick, among others.
Tuesday after work or class, come to the Paramount Theater for Social Innovations in Health. This free event explores the new social enterprise and venture philanthropy models that are being used to fight cancer, the spread of HIV, waterborne illnesses, and infant mortality.
Afterwards, enjoy a free Boyd Tinsley with Crystal Gardens concert at the Paramount Theater. As a founding member of Dave Matthews Band, Boyd Tinsley’s violin is indelibly linked to DMB’s sound. The Grammy award winning artist has helped propel the band to become the biggest worldwide ticket-seller of the past decade. This evening offers an introduction to one Boyd’s projects, Crystal Garden. Seats are limited, enter the free ticket lottery here.
At 5, come to the Paramount Theater for UVA’s Public Days, a showcase of outstanding work of students working in medicine, the arts, computer technology, architectural design, wellness, and healthcare.
Immediately after Public Days, at 6 PM, step inside the Paramount Theater’s main auditorium for a free public lecture from UVA’s Innovator of the Year. This annual event gives the public an opportunity to see the most impressive research going on at UVA.
In the evening, stay at the Paramount for the Crowdfunded Pitch Night. This high-energy event features 10 local entrepreneurs, artists, and nonprofits who compete for votes from the crowd. The pitch with the most votes wins either $5,000 or a spot at the i.Lab at UVA, a startup incubator at UVA’s Darden School of Business. If you’re interested to see the next big thing in Cville, the Crowdfunded Pitch Night is a can’t miss event.
On Thursday, don’t miss the Youth Summit at the Paramount Theater. This student led event will offer entrepreneurial stories and pitch competitions. In the afternoon, Governor Terry McAuliffe will take the stage for a bill-signing. Students can sign up for a free ticket here, and general admission tickets are $25.
Innovations in Athletics, in the main auditorium of the Paramount Theater, offers an insider’s look at competitive sports, exploring the advances in training, nutrition, equipment, and healthcare that are pushing the needle forward, with Chris Long of the New England Patriots and Bronco Mendenhall, UVA’s highly anticipated new football coach.
Elevating the Everyday is a public design lecture in the side ballroom of the Paramount Theater will feature Red Dot Design and Worldstar Packaging Award winner Craig Dubitsky.
Friday is a packed day, with the Founders Summit starting at 9 and the Friday Night Block Party and Tech Mixer following at 5PM. The Founders Summit is Tom Tom’s marquee event and combines talks, competitions, and exclusive access to leading founders. Speakers include:
Bill Crutchfield, who built a $250M per year consumer electronics business with $1,000, zero outside investment, zero debt, and has never had to lay anyone off
Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, who led an 18-country expansion at Google before returing to her entrepreneurial roots to redefine online shopping
Jason Flom, who discovered Kid Rock, Katy Perry, and Lorde and is founding board member of the Innocence Project, working towards criminal justice system reform
Also, Founders Summit attendees have exclusive access to industry-specific Summit Luncheons, which offer an opportunity to meet and make connections with speakers and other attendees.
After the Founders Summit, at 6PM, you can choose between two groups of events: Innovation Competitions at the Paramount Theater or the Friday Night Block Party and Tech Mixer in Lee Park.
The Innovation Competitions include the Entrepreneurship Cup and the Galant Challenge, both of which are free to attend. The Entrepreneurship Cup showcases and seeds the most compelling UVA student ventures. Presenters complete a live pitch and receive feedback from expert judges. Participants will receive more than $50,000 in total prize and in-kind resources. The Galant Challenge connects seed stage ventures from the UVA Alumni community with capital. Since 2012, this event has resulted in greater than $1 million in funding for UVA student and alumni ventures.
The Friday Night Block Party offers amazing free concerts, a New Belgium Craft Beer Garden, and the best food trucks in Charlottesville; the first of the weekend’s block parties will be the perfect way to kick-off the weekend. Also, the Tech Mixer will host dozens of the area’s hottest tech firms and startups, with hundreds of opportunities to find talent or make connections.
Saturday morning starts off from 9 AM to noon at the City Market for the CIC Showcase, a free event where you can meet some of the newest home-grown Charlottesville area businesses and find out how you can help the next group of entrepreneurs building our community.
After the showcase, walk over to Old Metropolitan Hall for Founders Summit Workshops and Q&As led by some of the keynote speakers from the day before. Jason Flom will lead a Q&A at 11, then Rodney Mullen will have a Q&A at 12:30, and Becca McCharen will lead a workshop at 3:30.
Between Rodney’s Q&A and Becca’s workshop, we’re hosting the Founders Fair, a free event which showcases UVA’s early-stage technology and startup projects.
Starting at 3PM at The Haven, join us for Super Demo, a student pitch competition that gives young entrepreneurs the opportunity to practice public speaking, receive feedback from esteemed judges, and potentially walk away with $3,000 to fund their idea. It’s a high-energy competition that showcases the best and brightest of the UVA community.
While you’re not at entrepreneurship events, head to Lee Park for the Saturday Block Party for more free concerts, a massive fleaVILLE, local food trucks, and a giant craft beer garden with New Belgium, Wild Wolf, Champion, and Potter’s cider.
The free Sunset Concert features some of the biggest acts of the Festival: The Big Takeover and Sister Sparrow & The Dirty Birds. Sister Sparrow has been shooting into the spotlight recently, playing 150+ shows last year, including Bonnaroo, Firefly, and Austin City Limits.
The Wahoowa Gala is a free opportunity for UVA students, faculty, and alumni to meet and connect over their entrepreneurial ideas.
After the concert or gala, make sure you’re in Lee Park for our film screening in the park. We’re collaborating with Virginia Film Festival to show CLAW, the award-winning documentary that charts the origins and growth of Charlottesville’s Collective of Lady Arm Wrestlers (CLAW), with many special cameos throughout the night!
When the movie ends, join us for a nighttime parade, led by Elby Brass Band, from Lee Park, up through the mall to an afterparty at Mono Loco.
During the Sunday Picnic Day, join friends and neighbors for public art, live music, top notch food, and a giant New Belgium craft beer garden. To conclude the Festival, Tom Tom is hosting a giant picnic throughout Lee Park. Bring your civic group, art group, student organization, business, or family and celebrate the start of Spring with your community. Tom Tom’s final block party closes the week with all-local bluegrass, indie rock, and country.