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  • Writer's picturePenny Neef

Virginia Arts Festival Presents: Williamsburg Live!

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

To mask or not to mask, that is the question. The Virginia Arts Festival is asking that if you are attending Williamsburg Live, June 18-20, please wear a mask. Virginia Arts Festival staff and volunteers will be wearing masks. Seating, both under the tent and on the lawn, will be socially distances. You can read all the health and safety rules here.

But hey!! It’s live music, outdoors, under the stars, just like in the olden days. Williamsburg Live will be located on the lawn of the Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg, a beautiful setting. This is steps away from the real olden days of Colonial Williamsburg. It is also steps away from charming downtown Williamsburg, Duke of Gloucester St. and Merchants Square.

Williamsburg Live kicks off on Friday, June 18, with MacArthur Fellow and Grammy Award-winning mandolinist, singer, songwriter Chris Thile. Thile is a founding member of the Punch Brothers and Nickel Creek. He recently hosted NPR favorite “Live from Here with Chris Thile”, the new iteration of A Prairie Home Companion. Thile recorded his first solo album, Laysongs, during the pandemic in a converted church in upstate New York. The album will be released June 4.

Leyla McCalla will perform on Saturday, June 19. McCalla is a former member of the Grammy-winning African American string band, the Carolina Chocolate Drops. McCalla draws inspiration from her Haitian heritage, living in New Orleans and growing up in Brooklyn. She is a singer, songwriter, and a multi-instrumentalist.

The Lone Bellow headlines on Sunday, June 20. NRP said, “The Lone Bellow makes music that feels like it’s welcoming you in – like the band members are opening their arms and inviting you to join their family with sing-along choruses, hand-clapping rhythms and melodies that somehow sound familiar even on a first listen.” These are songs that “are meant to comfort and bring light.”

Now that we are finally seeing the light at the end of this long, dark tunnel, come out to Williamsburg Live to celebrate with music, people, food and drinks.

For more information and to purchase tickets, go to

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