Paul Beyer announces plans for Tom Tom Founder's Festival


 Real estate developer, City Council candidate, and man about town, Paul Beyer announced last week that he and a business partner are launching the Tom Tom Founder’s Festival, a month-long creative happening focused on music, art, and innovation. The events will begin on Founder’s Day (April 13) and culminate with a three-day music festival May 11-13 on the Downtown Mall.

Paul Beyer, co-founder of the recently announced Tom Tom Founder’s Festival, held three meetings at his apartment last week to publicize the event and recruit members for its organizing committee. Tom Tom Fest 2012 will begin on Founder’s Day (April 13) and culminate with a three-day music festival on the Downtown Mall May 11-13. (Photo by John Robinson)

“The ultimate idea with Tom Tom is that it’s a stage that’s going to get set that allows all these conversations that are going on, whether in business or music or art, to come together,” Beyer said. “To set the stage we need people with ideas and we need people to get involved and that’s what I’m asking from them right now.”

Details on the event are still elusive, but Beyer said he would have a list of partners, venues, and events locked in by March 13, a month before the event is scheduled to begin. Richmond music promoter Tom Beals of Haymaker Productions Inc., which books the Groovin’ in the Garden music festival at Maymont, will partner with Beyer in the venture.
“He puts on these kinds of shows in his sleep, so the music is guaranteed,” Beyer said.
Beyer is calling this year’s festival a “soft rollout” but the art piece pamphlet that hit the streets last week promises a “festival of national prominence” with “three headliners, 50 bands, two talks, artist residencies, 4,500 people.”

Talking to Beyer, it’s clear that he imagines the event as SXSW meets TED, but with some Jeffersonian attention to the University, the land, and food.

“The whole concept of the festival is about big ideas, new ideas and how they relate to the future. Founder’s Day, which has tremendous programming already at UVA, just seems like a natural place to do that. I want it to be a month because I don’t think these conversations can fully gestate in three days,” Beyer said.

Beyer tempered the breathy and visionary tone of the TTFF print piece with an admission that this year’s version of the festival is still coming together. For example, he said the innovation portion would likely consist of two well-organized talks, but in a few years could offer a $100,000 innovation prize through a partnership between UVA schools like the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Darden School of Business, municipalities, and private partners.

Between now and March 13, Beyer said he needs as many people as possible to sign up on the festival website and get involved in the planning process.

Visit to sign up.