• Penny Neef

Virginia Arts Festival 2022 – 25th Anniversary Edition


Words by Penny Neef. Images courtesy of the Virginia Arts Festival.


The Virginia Arts Festival is the cherry on top of the huge ice cream sundae of arts appreciation in Hampton Roads. I’ve lived in far larger metropolitan areas of this country and have seen nothing that compares to VAF.


VAF pivoted seamlessly during the pandemic, rescheduling world-class performers, offering virtual alternatives to live events, taking the Norfolk International Tattoo outdoors to the ODU football stadium, and erecting a tent at the corner of Bank St. and Charlotte St. in downtown Norfolk. I spent a chilly, but safe evening in that tent last spring, far away from other patrons, with the wind blowing through the open sides, listening to world music, happy to be at a live concert.


2022 is the 25th anniversary of Virginia Arts Festival. As things slowly return to normal (we hope), VAF is ready to celebrate this milestone in a big way. Rob Cross, Executive Director and Perry Artistic Director of Virginia Arts Festival says, “We are bringing live arts back to Hampton Roads for patrons, students and visitors.” VAF has partnered with just about every arts organization in Hampton Roads, Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Norfolk State University, Virginia State Company, and more, to bring over 50 live performances from March to June in 2022.


Click here to see the full line-up - it is amazing.


Here's a brief summary of some of the events I’m excited about. Be sure you click on the link to see everything that is available, with dates, times, and locations.



According to Rob Cross, “The best classical ballet company in the United States”, American Ballet Theatre, will be performing Don Quixote with Virginia Symphony Orchestra at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk for three performances from March 25 – 27. Click here for more information and tickets. Scroll down to see other dance events for VAF.


Bluegrass star and 15-Grammy winner, Bela Fleck, will be singing and playing at the outdoor stage at the corner of Bank St. and Charlotte St., now named Perry Pavilion on April 1.


Country star Roseanne Cash will be on the same stage on April 6.


Kristen Chenoweth and Renée Fleming, two singing legends, will be belting it out together for the first time with Virginia Symphony Orchestra.

“Two divas – one great celebration concert” of Broadway and American songbook classics. This is a one night only event on May 21 at Chrysler Hall


There is so much more. I’ll keep you up to date in the coming weeks. Click on the links below to see a few more that I’m excited about –

Dreamgirls, Shawn Colvin, Yo-Yo Ma & Kathryn Scott, Music of Queen – A Rock Symphony, and Olga Kern & Friends.


Let’s not forget two of the biggest events each year of the Virginia Arts Festival. Norfolk International Tattoo will return to Scope Arena from April 28 – May 1. The theme this year is “March On”, featuring the works of John Phillip Sousa. International military bands will return this year, from Jordan, Netherlands, Scotland, Czech Republic and more. This is the largest Tattoo in North America. It should be on everyone’s bucket list.


Williamsburg Live is also back this year on the lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg from June 17 – 19. This year Mandy Moore, Jason Isbell and Martina McBride will headline on consecutive nights.


The educational outreach of VAF is back with in-person master classes and workshops with over 100 educational events for the students of Hampton Roads.


The box office, both in-person and online, is open now. As Scott Jackson, VAF General Manager and Producer/Director of the Tattoo says, “There is always a possibility that things can change, but what won’t change is there will be a moment that will take your breath away.”


For a list of all the events and to purchase tickets, go to https://secure.vafest.org/events

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