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What is a Conscious City?

Healthy. Mindful. Connected. Community.

You may have noticed that the 11th Annual Tom Tom Festival has some new and powerful programs as part of our FUTURE FORWARD Theme. Whether it's prison tours, sunrise meditations, day-long conferences about healing, community runs, or healing arts fairs, it's about deepened notions of community.

So we'd like to take opportunity to introduce the topic, which we have called "Conscious City." It has been built with dozens of passionate community members and organizations, and we explore what it takes to have healthy and healed individuals, and a healthy and whole community.

Here's a little bit about why.

Even as COVID and the pandemic recedes into the past, there are many ways that their impacts continue to feel fresh. We see how our communities struggle with mental health, isolation, and disconnection; especially among our youth. And the polarization that was present before the pandemic, seemed to only be accelerated by it. These aren't simple problems to address; but it seems to us that the solutions are tied to something relatively simple; connection. And that is something we can consider both as individuals, and as a community.

If you've been to Tom Tom, you know part of the Festival's beauty of it is the easy joy of community; those moments of meeting new friends and neighbors at a Block Party or a concert, joining a dance party, witnessing a popup art performance, or supporting budding entrepreneurs at a pitch night. A Conscious City is a joyful and connected one.

But a Conscious City also takes effort. It requires healing among individuals, and also community action. So while one part of this exploration at Tom Tom is about how we can lift up practices that encourage mindfulness, presence and a greater awareness, we also recognize that not everyone has access to healing in Charlottesville, and there are many barriers in place. What fosters healing for individuals, and how can the community support that journey?

Whether it's our schools, our parks, our yoga centers, our businesses, or our prisons, we want to posit an inter-connected city where people look out for each other. And it requires both knowledge and empathy; striving to increase our awareness of others and the history we share.

We hope the 11th Annual Tom Tom Festival is a time for joy and connection, and making little steps toward greater connection and understanding throughout our City.

Paul Beyer, Executive Director


Special Thanks to Collaborators like Common Ground, LoveNoEgo Foundation, Prolyfyck, Equal Justice USA, Hot Yoga Cville, Charlottesville Tai Chi Center, the Botanical Garden of the Piedmont, among many others.



Wed. April 19 | 9am - 5pm

Healing the Individual. Healing the Collective.

On Wednesday April 19, we kick off the FUTURE FORWARD Conference with a day-long journey --- both intellectual and experiential -- through healing. We’ll explore a variety of proven ways we can heal ourselves and increase our awareness and happiness — from meditation and mindfulness to plant medicines and guided practices such as counseling, yoga, and energy healing. We'll also explore how community participates in the healing journey, and how to expand access and bring more people into the conversation.






A brighter tomorrow is only possible when everyone gets a seat at the table. Badges for the FUTURE FORWARD Conference, including the Conscious City, Technology for Good, and Society & Justice Tracks, are available on a pay-what-you-can basis.


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