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Our 2023 Theme

The 11th Annual Tom Tom Festival will be held April 19-23, 2023. It will be a city-wide celebration with a big theme: “FUTURE FORWARD.”

The Festival will be about dreams, aspirations, and bold horizons. It will focus on the steps we all must take to turn our visions for a brighter tomorrow, into a reality. Tom Tom will be a nexus of expansive ideas about the future, and the creative doers who launch businesses, spearhead initiatives, organize neighborhoods, write policy, create art, and lead organizations.

Ultimately, It’s a festival for and about each one of us; and the action we can take to build a thriving community in our hometown.

To us, “Future Forward” means embracing change and looking ahead to new possibilities that will help us build a brighter, more equitable tomorrow. It means looking for ways to innovate, create, and stay ahead of the curve to establish a sustainable future. It’s being proactive and keeping in the loop of the latest technologies so that we can ensure they best serve our community. It’s also about remaining flexible and keeping an open mind and heart because sometimes it’s important to let go and pivot. It’s about striving to make a positive impact in our own backyard. It’s about big dreams and even bigger action.

We believe in the Future because it is a place of hope and creation. The past is still present, but the future is where you can imagine something new.

Charlottesville has real work to do. It requires all of us to join together to reflect on our past, look at the present, and begin to build our future. It requires a lot of listening and a lot of trust. It also requires a lot of energy, a lot of optimism, and a lot of connection; the kind that is spontaneous, generous, and unforced. It requires community.

We’re so proud. 10 years in, Tom Tom owes its existence to the support of hundreds of individuals and organizations. Year after year, Tom Tom is a place where real things happen. New businesses are launched. New partnerships are formed. Nonprofits collaborate on new initiatives. People make friends. People even meet future wives, husbands, and partners. It’s a place where friends and neighbors come together to gather and connect and build bridges. It’s a place where lasting change is made possible.

As with every year we’ve co-created Tom Tom with the community, we start with a warm invitation to be involved.

We’ve told you what “Future Forward'' means to us... but tell us what “Future Forward” means to you. Share your ideas about Charlottesville’s future—through conversations, art projects, workshops, and gatherings. Get involved! The story of tomorrow’s Charlottesville is one we have to tell together.

This April, the Tom Tom Festival can be just one nudge in this collective gaze upward and out; where everyone gets to share their vision of the FUTURE so that the community can move FORWARD.


Paul Beyer



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