South Hill Banks playing at the South Hill Snowdown at the Broadberry – photo by Shannon McGowan

Maybe it was the bear and raccoon jamming on banjos in the ad that got you to the South Hill Snowdown. Or maybe you’re an avid folk/bluegrass lover, and the headliner Railroad Earth grabbed your attention. Or maybe you live for a merry and bright Christmas party and wanted an excuse to wear some funky festive outfits.

James Justin and Co playing at the South Hill Snowdown at the Broadberry – photo by Shannon McGowan

The South Hill Snowdown is a music event held in Richmond, Va., around the winter holidays. The first annual Snowdown was held last month. It came about when Lucas Fritz, co-owner of the Broadberry in Richmond, started kicking around ideas with the guys in South Hill Banks.  “We had met earlier in the year to start brainstorming some ideas for a fun winter themed event they could be the host band for. After a number of bands and concepts, we ended on the South Hill Snowdown – an indoor/outdoor winter wonderland experience,” says Fritz.

Ticket-holders entered the Broadberry and could already hear the sweet sounds of classic folk music playing behind the main doors. Once inside, they stood presence of the most decked out halls you’ve ever seen.Lights were strung in every direction, the menu screen displaying animated snowfall, garland and sparkles galore, and the craziest decoration of all: multiple fully-decorated Christmas trees hanging from the ceiling.

We asked Fritz how they got the trees got up there. “Magic!” he replied. “Just kidding: a little sweat, a ladder, some para-cord, and lots of balance.”

Muther Goose playing at the South Hill Snowdown at the Broadberry – photo by Shannon McGowan

“I’ve been to many shows at the Broadberry and have enjoyed them all. But these decorations truly made me like the venue more than I already did,” says Silas Frayser, a local RVA singer and songwriter with a deep love for folk / blue grass music. “You could tell that hard work went into it all.”

Muther Goose playing at the South Hill Snowdown at the Broadberry – photo by Shannon McGowan

The main stage stood in the front of the room with the illuminated Broadberry sign shining above the bands. If concertgoers needed some fresh winter air, a set up was placed outside where bands played acoustic face-to-face with the crowd, under the cozy glow of more festive lights and decorations.

“What made this event so special were all the bands chosen,” continues Frayser. I have always loved Railroad Earth but found each of the acts to be impressively creative and fun. Props to whomever picked the bands.”

Railroad Earth playing at the South Hill Snowdown at the Broadberry – photo by Shannon McGowan

“Having the room packed when Railroad Earth took the stage was really exciting,” says Fritz. “The view from the back, where I was, with the trees and lights and the band on stage was pretty special for me.

Hackensaw Boys playing at the South Hill Snowdown at the Broadberry – photo by Shannon McGowan

Each band offered something unique to the folk/bluegrass sound of the night, ranging from soft songs that would be perfect to listen to next to the river, to songs that you can’t help but get up, dance and yell, “Yeeeeeeew!”

The music started around 3pm and kept strong until 1am. As the night grew, so did the crowd, along with their festive holiday spirit. Everyone certainly lived up to the standards the fabulous decorations had set. It looked like every character from every Christmas movie decided to have their family reunion at the South Hill Snow Down. But instead of singing Christmas carols, they are stompin’ and hollerin’ right along with the folk music.

Everyone involved, including Fritz, deemed the event a huge success and are looking forward to next year’s South Hill Snowdown. The only scoop for next year’s plans we could get out of Fritz was, “I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you…” 

You can find more shows at the Broadberry and updates on more pictures from the South Hill Snowdown on their website and facebook page.

Colin & Caroline playing at the South Hill Snowdown – photo by Shannon McGowan