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2020 Richmond Folk Festival Poster Revealed

Shannon sits at her desk with the 2020 Folk Festival Poster on her computer display.

Written by VPM Digital intern Alex Scribner

As the year turns toward cooler temperatures, Shannon Wright uses her illustrations to encourage music-lovers to bundle up and tune in to the virtual Richmond Richmond Folk Festival. 

Each year, a local artist creates a poster for the anticipated festival, and this year features the work of Shannon Wright, a Richmond-based illustrator. 

“When I went into designing this poster after the directional changes, my goal was to still keep that Richmond Folk Festival energy in some way,” Wright said in an interview with VPM.

The directional changes reference the shift in location from in-person to live-stream. This year’s Richmond Folk Festival poster depicts an audience viewing musicians in front of screens instead of a stage. Wright aims to show potential viewers they can still experience the Richmond Richmond Folk Festival without risk or worry. 

Wright says, “Even though we’re separated and not physically in the same space as these musicians this year or each other, we can still enjoy and partake in the festivities from wherever we are, together.”

Wright’s repertoire spans comics, picture books and even GIFs. No matter the project, her process is the same, and it starts with brainstorming. “My stylistic approach is different from past years, along with themes,” says Wright, “but also this year has proven to be the definition of ‘different.’” 

After reading any material from a client, she aims to understand the content and what she needs to emphasize. After pulling out keywords, symbols and imagery, she starts sketching.

“I keep my sketches relatively loose, just so I can focus on getting them down on paper,” Wright said. “I always end up cleaning them up for clarity and to lay down my values.”

For the festival, Wright focuses on the importance of technology during the pandemic. Not only are people leaning on it for work, but it also helps in meeting social and emotional needs. 

Wright says, “I’m hoping it makes people feel happy. I’m hoping it will ultimately make people still feel that togetherness even though this year has forced us all to be physically separated from one another.”

The virtual Richmond Folk Festival and VPM’s original concert series “ All Together Now” will play on, @myVPM’s Facebook and YouTube and on VPM 107.3 and 93.1 FM October 9, 10, 11th.

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