Richmond, Virginia, attracts travelers from around the world with its unique blend of outdoor activities, fine art, and historic sites. The River City is also a hotbed for trends, and visitors will encounter rapidly growing culinary and brewing scenes. Whether you're admiring the architecture of the buildings on Monument Avenue or whitewater rafting down the James River, Richmond has something for everyone.
Dominion Riverrock has been Virginia’s leading outdoor sports event since its inception in 2009. and will take place May 19-21 in Downtown Richmond at Brown’s Island on the James River. The event is the largest outdoor sports and music event in America, and features a variety of outdoor activities like mountain biking, stand-up paddle boarding, climbing, kayaking, and more. Attendees will be able to compete in multiple races and runs including a 5k Mud Run and an adventure race, which tests the contestants’ physical and mental strength. Music will be performed throughout the event by a variety of acts, with national headliners such as The SteelDrivers and Hard Working Americans. Participants can make donations to RVA MORE, which helps with bike trail maintenance and promoting mountain biking in the community. We got the opportunity to interview Pete Woody, Public Relations and Communications Manager for Sports Backers, to learn more about this celebration of outdoor sports.
RAL: How long has the event been running?
PW: Dominion Riverrock started in 2009, and this will be the ninth year.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
PW: The event attracts around 100,000 people each year for the three days of the festival, and this includes participants and spectators.
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
PW: All of the above. One of the great things about Dominion Riverrock is that it attracts a wide range of spectators and participants. I always enjoy seeing people of all ages, including parents with kids on their shoulders, coming to the festival and watching the Ultimate Air Dogs competition, Freestyle Bikes, and Bouldering, and then sticking around for the concerts throughout the day.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
PW: The fact that it takes place on Brown’s Island and Historic Tredegar in downtown Richmond on the James River. There are very few urban waterfront settings like it in the country, with whitewater rapids and miles of trails for running and mountain biking. On top of that it’s an excellent setting for the festival.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
PW: There are so many to mention, so a look at the schedule of events will give you an idea of what we offer. Each day is full of events, interactive demos, pro competitions, free concerts, and vendor village exhibits.
RAL: Will there be any guest appearances?
PW: The headlining bands are The SteelDrivers (2106 Grammy Award Winner, Best Bluegrass Album) on Friday night and Hard Working Americans on Saturday night. Both concerts are free! The full music lineup is available here.
RAL: What dining options will attendees encounter.
PW: There will be a variety of local and regional food vendors throughout the festival, as well as wine vendors and beer from Sierra Nevada.
RAL: What is the overall environment like?
PW: In addition to the riverfront setting on Brown’s Island, there is a strong focus on the environment and sustainability during the festival. Dominion Riverrock is officially a ‘Green’ event, with a Green Team of environmental ambassadors focused on recycling during the event. There is bike valet available to encourage travel by bicycle, healthy and organic food options, and Dominion Green Power has purchased renewable energy certificates (RECs) on behalf of Dominion Riverrock to help green this event.
RAL: Are there any lodging specials that are set up specifically for the event?
PW: The Omni Richmond Hotel and Crowne Plaza are popular and located within easy walking/biking distance to the festival.
RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?
PW: Participants in the three trail running events and Subaru Ultimate Air Dogs competition have the opportunity to donate to the James River Park System Trail Maintenance initiative. Additional donations will go towards RVA MORE (Mid-Atlantic Off Road Enthusiasts, a local trail maintenance, and mountain biking non-profit) and their efforts in maintaining, improving and enhancing the James River Park System trails. Dominion Riverrock is also a partnership between Sports Backers and Venture Richmond, and both are non-profit organizations.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
PW: Dominion Riverrock is the nation’s premier outdoor sports and music festival, and attendees will have an experience at Dominion Riverrock that they won’t find anywhere else. It is three days of action and excitement on the beautiful James River, with free concerts, fun sporting events, and great interactive opportunities. It is a uniquely Richmond experience and should be on the must-do list for any visitor to Richmond.
For more information about Dominion Riverrock, please visit the event website.