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Innovate this! (Best of C-Ville)


C-VILLE Weekly

Five reasons you should have gone to Tom Tom

There’s no shortage of festivals in Charlottesville—books, film, music, food—and some of them have been going for decades, which is why the Tom Tom Founders Festival victory in the live entertainment cat-egory is pretty darn impressive. Just four years ago, a guy named Paul Beyer had an idea for an event that would celebrate and support in-novation. It seemed a little wacky and vague at first—just how do you do that, and how would this festival differentiate from all the other events Charlottesville offers? In its fourth year, with Beyer having secured state grants and a partnership with UVA, the Tom Tom festival has become a signature Charlottesville event with nationally recognized speakers and enter-tainment that fills a weekend to overflow. If you didn’t make it out to Tom Tom this past April, here are five things you missed. And let this serve as a reminder that you should plan ahead for next year.

1) Talks and panels with Alexis Ohanian. The Reddit website, known as the “front page of the Internet,” allows its gajillions of users to post and then vote on newslinks to promote them to the site’s own home page. Ohanian, a 2005 UVA grad, is the site’s co-founder who invests in and advises hundreds of tech start-ups. This visionary was back in Charlottesville, offering words of wisdom to anyone looking to break into the start-up game.

2) The Belmont Bridge graffiti wall near Cham-pion Brewing Company got a colorful façade as master graffiti artists battled it out in a competition judged by the public.

3) Six sous chefs from some of Charlottesville’s top restaurants innovated with ingredients from City Market at the Iron Chef at City Market com-petition. Local ingredients never tasted so good!

4) For the fashionistas in town, Tom Tom was never better than when UVA grad and avant-garde designer Becca McCharen spoke about her innovative fashion designs that blend architectural concepts with an S&M flair.

5) There might never be more music playing in town than during Tom Tom. From the hip-hop of Damani Harrison to the swing and blues Americana of The Judy Chops to the neigh-borhood-wide Porchella event (different musicians performing on the front porches of Belmont), there was an act for everyone.—C.S.

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The Tom Tom Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, EIN: 46-2048771