Richmond, one of American’s oldest cities, is situated on the James River - the first river to be named by English settlers on the American continent. It is the former capital of the Confederate States of America and the current capital of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It’s population is just shy of 220,000 and while it still boasts an important cultural, social, political, and educational heritage in the annals of U.S. history, today its vitality is primarily driven by law, finance, government, banking, and industry, including chemical, food, tobacco, semiconductor, high-tech fiber manufacturing, and biotechnology, among other sectors.
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Richmond’s musical legacy is that which it shares with the rest of Virginia and other parts of the mid-Atlantic South: folk, blues, country, gospel, and bluegrass. The Virginia-born Carter Family, a traditional folk music group that sang and recorded between 1927 and 1956, was responsible for making songs such as “Can the Circle Be Unbroken", and "Keep On the Sunny Side," country standards. The Stanley Brothers, another family of musical Virginians, was a famous bluegrass duo who recorded dozens of songs and albums for a variety of both minor and major record labels over several decades.
Every year, Richmond celebrates its folk music heritage at the Richmond Folk Festival, which often attracts more than 200,000 people to the city’s downtown waterfront. Richmond also commemorates its jazz roots with a relatively new festival – the six-year old Richmond Jazz Festival. Performances take place at the city’s historic Hippodrome Theater, and Maymont Mansion, a 100-acre, Victorian estate and park.
Festivals are a great way for lesser-known groups and bands to get seen and heard, as well as promote the sale of their recordings to new fans who may not have known about them, before. At Bison Disc, we help these groups get heard by duplicating and replicating their recordings on professionally processed CDs that are then imaginatively packaged in attractive, traditional Jewel Cases, Wallets, Jackets, Sleeves, and Digipaks.
Other major music and performing arts venues in Richmond are the Altria Theater (formerly known as The Landmark) and the Carpenter Theatre, both part of Richmond’s CenterStage’s performing arts complex; and the 1,500 seat National Theater - built in 1923, turned into a cinema in 1968, closed in 1983, and re-opened and restored in 2008. Smaller clubs, bars and lounges include: Club 929; Strange Matter, Alley Katz, The Camel, the Capital Ale House and the Tobacco Company Restaurant.
Richmond also hosts a lively punk rock scene. Its punk bands have developed a unique sound, often influenced by country, folk, and southern rock. Perhaps its best known shock-punk-metal band was GWAR, identified by its members’ distinctively grotesque costumes, science fiction-themed mythology, and wild on-stage antics. Another well-known Richmond punk rock band was Avail. Both GWAR and the heavy metal group, Lamb of God, began in the city’s Fan District, home of Virginia Commonwealth University.
Classical music is alive and well in the River City. The Richmond Symphony founded in 1957, is the largest performing arts organization in Central Virginia. The organization includes an orchestra of more than 70 professional musicians, the 150-voice Richmond Symphony Chorus, and more than 260 students in the Richmond Symphony Youth Orchestra programs. Each season, more than 200,000 members of the community enjoy concerts, radio broadcasts, and educational outreach programs. The Richmond Boys Choir was organized in 1996, and the Richmond Philharmonic is the area’s premier community orchestra.
Richmond’s film lovers can enjoy several film festivals held in the city each year. The Annual Israeli Film Festival is held in January. In late March and early February, the Richmond International Film Festival screens the best international films at the historic Byrd Theatre. And later in March, the French Film Festival takes over the Byrd. Over 20,000 French speakers and French cinema aficionados attend. The James River Film Festival, in April, features ground-breaking work by independent artists.
Bison Disc helps all of the film world’s independent artists by duplicating and replicating their films on DVD and Blu-ray discs. That way, auteurs on a budget can still get their work out to the many and various film festivals that exist in Richmond and other cities, and by extension, to the wider public. Over the years, several major Hollywood films have used Richmond as a location, including Stanley Kubrick’s Lolita (1962); My Dinner With Andre (1981), shot at the Jefferson Hotel; The Jackal (1997), a spy thriller starring Bruce Willis, Richard Gere, and Sidney Poitier; Hannibal (2001), the sequel to The Silence of the Lambs; Evan Almighty (2007), a comedy with Steve Carell and Morgan Freeman; and Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln (2012), starring Daniel Day-Lewis in his Academy Award-winning role as the country’s 16th President.
Years ago, Virginia had a marketing campaign that broadcast the notion that “Virginia is for Lovers.” At Bison disc, we prefer love over its opposite, any day. In fact, love is why we do what we do. We love music and we love film, but since we don’t make any ourselves, we figure that helping to reproduce and package the work of those who do is also a labor of love. For the best in CD and DVD duplication and replication, the best in disc packaging, and the best in customer service, you can trust the work you love to a company that loves you right back – Bison Disc.
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