Charlottesville's thriving music scene takes center stage every Friday from April-September in a free concert series that has become a huge part of the city's culture.
Fridays After Five has been running for 27 years, and the 2015 edition of the series kicks off April 17. It's a free outdoor music festival held every Friday night starting at 5:30 p.m.
Organizers book as much local talent as they can for the weekly concerts held at the nTelos Wireless Pavilion, located on the popular and pedestrian-friendly Downtown Mall.
"I think the real strength of Fridays After Five is the fact that we book 90 percent local talent, so folks are coming down to see their friends and neighbors perform," nTelos Wireless Pavilion general manager Kirby Hutto says. "Central Virginia is blessed with a wealth of talent and a thriving local music scene."
Hutto says the generosity of the series' sponsors helps defray the costs of putting on the concerts, along with beverage sales. What's more, volunteers staff the concession stands and much of the proceeds — which thousands of dollars every season — are distributed to local nonprofits.
"We have over 60 groups that work with us; some every week, others once a month, others just once a season," says Hutto. "Each week, we have volunteers working on behalf of six different groups and over the course of the season we pay out upwards of $40,000 to the nonprofits."
You won't see Grammy-winning artists on the Fridays After Five stage. But you will see a bunch of talented musicians from the central Virginia region. And who knows: maybe you'll see the next Dave Matthews Band, which hails from Charlottesville.
"You may not see big names on there, but all of the bands have strong local followings and that is what we are all about," says Hutto.
The music runs Fridays from 5:30-8:30 p.m. from April 17-Sept. 11.
Location: Downtown Mall