Tom Tom Founders Festival

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Tom Tom Founders Festival is a "creative festival that celebrates original music, public art and entrepreneurial innovation." [1] The focus of the festival is to highlight what many think makes the Charlottesville area unique- music, art, and innovation. Different events highlight each of those themes.

The event has been held since 2012 with a second festival each September called Tomtoberfest.

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Paul Beyer and Oliver Platts-Mills were the initial co-founders of the festival. They partnered with Natasha Sienitsky and a Richmond-based event organizer.


The 2012 festival was a month-long event that began on April 13 with a local music and art themed block party at the McGuffey Art Center. The next was a Kite Day festival in the eastern half of McIntire Park. Every Wednesday during the festival, Tom Tom hosted an innovation-based presentation and conversation. The festival concludes with a weekend of live music productions held throughout downtown Charlottesville, a local food expo, and a gala at IX Project.


The four-day event in September included a campaign forum at which local entrepreneuers asked questions of candidates for Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors. [2]


Keynote speakers at the Founders Summit included Dahlia Lithwick. [3] An exhibit installed on the Downtown Mall by Aaron Fein had to be removed due to high winds. [4]

Tom Tom also held a special restaurant week this year. [5] There was also a Future Forum. [6] The winners of the crowd-funded pitch night were two students from St. Anne's Belfield. [7]


  1. Web. About, Tom Tom Founders Festival, 2011, retrieved 12 April 2012.
  2. Web. Entrepreneurs turn the tables on local candidates at Tom Tom forum, Brian Wheeler, Charlottesville Tomorrow, September 25, 2013, retrieved October 3, 2013.
  3. Web. Tom Tom Founders Festival to highlight businesswomen, Aaron Richardson, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, April 2, 2016, retrieved January 2, 2017.
  4. Web. “White Flags” Art Installation Taken Down from Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall, Tom Tom Festival, April 6, 2016, retrieved January 2, 2017.
  5. Web. Tom Tom fest to celebrate local food with special restaurant week, Aaron Richardson, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, April 9, 2016, retrieved January 2, 2017.
  6. Web. Tech, creativity keys to area’s future, forum participants say, Aaron Richardson, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, April 11, 2 016, retrieved January 2, 2017.
  7. Web. Fifth Tom Tom pitch night sees youngest-ever winners, Aaron Richardson, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, April 14, 2016, retrieved January 2, 2017.

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