On Saturday, April 13, the Down by Downtown music festival presented by Wells Fargo will feature a trio of headliners gaining national attention with performances at Bonnaroo and as an NPR Tiny Desk Concert winner.
Spafford, Tank and the Bangas, and Rubblebucket are the main event of the four-day music festival. Gates will open at 5 p.m. at the Elmwood Park amphitheater. The triple-billing will keep concert-goers on their feet with flowing tunes, thumping beats, and plenty of funky sounds.
Down by Downtown is an April 11-14 music festival overflowing with energy with more than 20 shows at 12 venues. Performances include a variety of genres that flip from intimate acoustic affairs to pulsing national acts on stage.
“Down by Downtown is an opportunity to explore music venues in Roanoke and maybe discover something new. Downtown will be alive with free and paid musical events,” said Julia Boas, event manager for the Roanoke Outside Foundation. “With a mix of genres — from acoustic sets to block parties to a giant concert in Elmwood Park — there’s something for everybody to have a good time.”
Spafford has recently been part of a meteoric rise in the jam scene, selling out shows across the country. They played Bonnaroo last summer and are known for captivating live performances featuring rock, funk, electronic, bluegrass, gospel, and more. Brian Moss (guitar), Jordan Fairless (bass), Andrew “Red” Johnson (keys), and Cameron Laforest (drums), combine for “electrofunk therapy” with strong vocals, tight harmonies, and catchy tunes.
You might know Tank and the Bangas as the 2017 winner of NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert Contest. The five-piece group has a rare knack for combining various musical styles — fiery soul, deft hiphop, deep-groove R&B and subtle jazz — into one dazzling, cohesive whole that evokes the scope of New Orleans music while retaining a distinctive feel all its own. The Huffington Post says: “It’s music that you have to experience.”
Rubblebucket transforms crowds from a skeptical wall of people into one big, happy, silly, jiving, open-hearted mass with American art-pop and indie-rock. They are slated to play Bonnaroo this year shortly after the stop in Roanoke.
The partnership between Down by Downtown and Wells Fargo is part of a regional economic development initiative of the Roanoke Regional Partnership’s Roanoke Outside Foundation to add to the vitality of the community and help attract talent and business investment to the Roanoke Region of Virginia.
“Wells Fargo is proud to sponsor of the Down by Downtown Music Festival as we celebrate local musicians, great music and a great community,” said Chad Spangler, senior vice president. “At Wells Fargo, we believe we’re responsible for promoting the long-term economic prosperity and quality of life for everyone in our communities and Down by Downtown helps demonstrate our ongoing commitment to Roanoke and the surrounding region.”
Since 2009, Roanoke Outside has been changing the region’s narrative to one that plays to its strength, the outdoor lifestyle. That community culture is attractive to young professionals – a healthy active region with vibrant nightlife that includes live music and diverse food offerings.
The Down by Downtown Music Festival coincides with the Foot Levelers Blue Ridge Marathon and seeks to showcase our community’s strengths. The marathon brings runners from all over the world to experience the beauty of Roanoke while competing in America’s Toughest Road Marathon.
Tickets for the April 13 concert at Elmwood Park are $25 in advance. An All-Access pass for $60 provides admission to all paid events at participating Down by Downtown venues. Tickets and festival line-up are available at www.downbydowntown.com.