Destinations

Virginia Arts Festival

2024 season celebrates art, culture, freedom

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Internationally acclaimed performers. Irresistibly entertaining shows. All set in a region that offers centuries of history to explore, beaches for relaxation, welcoming hotels, top-notch shopping and dining opportunities, and more.

That’s how the team at the Virginia Arts Festival describes the largest performing arts organization in southeastern Virginia. Celebrating its 27th season, the festival has been shaping the region’s cultural scene since 1997, and groups who add it to their must-visit list this year will be treated to great performances from around the world.

The Beach Boys logo
Join Virginia Arts Festival for The Beach Boys on Friday, June 21, as they kick off Williamsburg Live, June 21–23. Visit vafest.org for full details and tickets.

Catch unforgettable ballet performances by Dance Theatre of Harlem and Collage Dance Collective or sample the pulse-pounding rhythms of Step Afrika! Savor classical music performances by such world-renowned artists as Van Cliburn gold medal-winning pianist Olga Kern. Broadway buffs will enjoy a concert performance of Stephen Sondheim’s classic Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street, featuring some of Broadway’s best singers and the Virginia Symphony Orchestra, or hear one of Broadway’s hottest stars, Adrienne Warren (Tina: The Tina Turner Musical), in concert. Music from all genres will light up the stage, from the soulful singing of vocalist Joss Stone to the cabaret charms of award-winning singer/actress/songwriter Storm Large to folk-tinged favorites including Aoife O’Donovan, Mipso, and Bonny Light Horseman. 

Bagpipers

The awe-inspiring Virginia International Tattoo brings military bands, bagpipers, Highland dancers, and entertainment of every description to performances that draw standing ovations year after year. Don’t miss this year’s inspiring show, “A Celebration of Freedom,” April 18–21. (Credit: Heiko DeWees.)

For the thrill of a lifetime, join audiences who travel to the Virginia Arts Festival from around the world to enjoy its signature event, the Virginia International Tattoo. Held at Scope Arena in Norfolk, the Virginia International Tattoo is inspired by the grand traditions of Tattoos in Edinburgh and London and is the largest such event in the U.S. The name “Tattoo” derives from a 17th-century Dutch phrase, “Doe den tap toe,” or “Turn off the taps,” signifying the end of the day for soldiers, and evolved to mean ceremonial entertainment performed by military musicians.

This year’s Tattoo, “A Celebration of Freedom,” set for April 18–21, will include colorful international military bands, drill teams, the heart-stirring sounds of massed pipes and drums, high-kicking Highland dancers, and gifted singers who lead up to the highlight of the performance of the U.S. military service songs as veterans and active soldiers join in a roof-shaking singalong.

Vienna Boys Choir boys singing
The legendary Vienna Boys Choir brings its fabled sound to a not-to-be-missed Virginia Arts Festival holiday celebration in December 2024. (Credit: Lukas Beck.)

For the festival’s calendar of events, more information about this year’s inspiring Tattoo, plus handy tips for groups, visit vafest.org or call the group sales team at (757) 282-2819. Complimentary on-site motorcoach parking, discounted group rates, tickets for each tour director and driver for most performances, and on-site meal options are just a few of the offerings that make the Virginia Arts Festival and Virginia International Tattoo a group favorite. 

vafest.org | (757) 282-2800 

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