Music lover says nixing Fridays at Sunset doesn’t make sense

Posted on: 6:20 pm, March 1, 2012, by , and , updated on: 06:28pm, March 1, 2012

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – Friday evenings during the summer won’t be the same at Kanawha Plaza after the organizers of a long-running concert series announced Thursday they are canceling the event.

Johnson, Inc., the promoter of the 18-year-old concert series, which featured such big named jazz and R&B artists as Dave Koz, LL Cool J, Seal and New Edition, is pulling the plug. [MORE: Richmond concert-series Fridays at Sunset ends its run]

“The decision was that Fridays at Sunset has seen its last season. We felt the that it had runs its course,” said Necole Simmonds with Johnson, Inc.

However, Simmonds said music fans should be patient.

“There will be new things on the horizon. I don’t think downtown Richmond will feel this void for very long,” she said.

Fridays at Sunset began in 1994 at Shockoe Slip. But as crowds and acts got much bigger, organizers had to find a larger venue.

As a result, Fridays at Sunset then moved to Kanawha Plaza in 1996.

However, Richmond City Council slashed its funding in recent years and the crowds have waned.

Still the 13-week summer series was a big tradition for music lovers.

In fact, CBS 6’s Antoinette Essa, one of Sunset’s first emcees, said the series’ end will leave a gaping hole on Richmond’s art scene.

“It is disappointing. It was something people looked forward to on Friday afternoons,” said Essa. “I think we lose a little credibility I think people will say, ‘Why do I want to go there, they can’t even hold a nice concert.’”

Music lover Matthew Smoot, who works across the street from Kanawha Plaza at the Federal Reserve, said he will miss the tunes and crowds at the end of his work week.

“It doesn’t make any sense to take it away. You definitely lose something as a city when you pull the plug on something that has been around that long,”  said Smoot.

Count on updates from WTVR.com and CBS 6 News on this developing story.