The 10th Annual Tom Tom:
Celebrating “Tomorrow’s Charlottesville”
Friends, after two (very long) years, Tom Tom is back! The 10th Annual Tom Tom Festival will be held April 20th - 24th, 2022. It’ll be all about local vibes—the people, places, and ideas that make Charlottesville so special.
Our community, our nation, and our world have been through a lot. Fear and isolation have never been more pronounced. It’s time to come together, neighborhood by neighborhood, to connect on what is possible.
For the first time, Tom Tom will have a theme, “Tomorrow’s Charlottesville.” Every program will showcase and connect us to our neighbors so that we can build the future of C’ville… together.
Long-time Tom-Tom-ers can continue to expect an array of concerts, performances, talks, workshops, competitions, and creative energy that bring us together to tell a one-of-a-kind Charlottesville story. And newcomers will have a warm welcome to town, and an invitation to take a hand in building their community.
Return to Roots.
In some ways, “Tomorrow's Charlottesville” will be a return to our roots, celebrating culture and ideas here locally. “Tomorrow” is poignant for our present moment; it unites the diversity of Tom Tom’s programs into a common conversation about how our community rises above difficulty and flourishes into the future. “Tomorrow” celebrates and inspires Tomorrow's leaders and change-makers.
For years, our “Summit & Festival” occurred simultaneously. Our “Summit” brought hundreds of national speakers together to talk about the future of our hometowns. In 2019, over 300 cities attended panels, talks, and workshops. We won’t be doing that this year. We’re going to save our nationally focused Summit for a different time, and let the Festival remain local.
There will still be “national” programs. In years past, some of our most prominent and memorable events—John Cleese, Dan Rather, and (almost) Hillary Clinton—all came through community partners who highlighted the work they do not just in Charlottesville but on the world stage. To an unusual degree, very few "local" Charlottesville conversations truly stay local. We are a dynamic community, and from our earliest days have fostered global ideas.
Our Name: Tomorrow Tomorrow
In 2022, Tom Tom is bringing an official definition to our name. Going forward, Tom Tom will be short-hand for “Tomorrow Tomorrow”—a Festival about the Future. It harkens back to the very first Tom Tom promotional poster in 2012, when that year’s theme was “Dreams of the Future.” In 2022, we will also be moving our dates back by a week, away from Thomas Jefferson’s birthday and the traditional “Founders Day” programming.
But why this clarification, and why now?
Tom Tom 2022 may well be the first public event in Charlottesville that turns a new page in a covid world. We need to recalibrate and reconnect with neighbors, friends, and new collaborators. Our community needs venues to strengthen bonds and build bridges. Everyone has to feel comfortable at the table.
When I founded Tom Tom in 2012, "Tom Tom" was 1) catchy, 2) the drum that forms the backbeat of every rock n' roll band on the planet, and 3) a whimsical allusion to Thomas Jefferson. I hoped Tom Tom would be youthful and approachable with some deeper resonances around inspiration, innovation, and storytelling.
Times change, though. Perspectives deepen. My awareness around this has certainly shifted. My intention for Tom Tom, and for everyone that has been involved with the Foundation, has been to build community and strengthen bonds. Our name, with its allusion to Thomas Jefferson, doesn’t help us do this. Both individuals and organizations have communicated they feel excluded by Jefferson’s legacy. That makes it impossible for Tom Tom to accomplish our mission.
Focusing our gaze on Tomorrow, Tom Tom can connect the community, and create common ground for everyone to join a dialogue about a brighter, more vibrant, and more equitable future.
As we turn to 2022, we are clearly not out of the woods, however, we are ready to build up and build back. We imagine a flowering of civic enthusiasm as so much connection and community is re-established. Tom Tom will resume the role it has played in Charlottesville for the past decade, and hopefully be one of many events that bring life back to the downtown area and offer an uplifting message for each of us, and for our community.
We look to April 2022 with excitement and a renewed sense of possibility. If you have ideas or programs that you’d like to bring to Tom Tom, please reach out. We would love to hear from you!
Excited for Tomorrow.