Celebrating Juneteenth with Norfolk’s Finest at the Smartmouth Juneteenth Solstice Festival

Join the city of Norfolk’s finest for a day full of music, art, food, good people, and most importantly…good beer.

It’s safe to say that after the past year, people are yearning to get back together and celebrate life and all of the beautiful things that come along with it. Luckily, the good folks at Smartmouth Brewery have got us covered with this Saturday’s Juneteenth Solstice Festival.

In honor and celebration of Juneteenth, Smartmouth has teamed up with local NFK brands and organizations to throw a good-ole fashioned block party. The day’s festivities will consist of a black-owned art & vendor market, food market featuring black and POC-owned restaurants, chefs, and food trucks, and a diverse range of musical acts throughout the 757. The festival will be held at the Smartmouth NFK HQ from 12 PM – 10 PM, is free, and welcome to all ages.

Get up to speed with the day’s details below.

Utopia Feni Art Market | 12 – 6 PM

Nomarama Food Market | 3 – 9 PM

Music Lineup

Listen to our specially curated Popscure playlist while you get familiar with the stacked lineup below:

Well seasoned producer Gabe Niles is a household name in the city of Norfolk. When he’s not producing earworm tracks like Shelley FKA DRAM’s “Cha Cha”–or working with his partner-in-crime for experimental outfit, Sunny & Gabe–the producer is delivering larger-than-life mixes that are bound to whisk you away. 

Hot off her latest EP release, “All My Friends,” Koren Grace is more than ready to take on the masses and introduce them to her world. There’s no plane of emotion and existence the singer/songwriter can’t take you with a discography rich in colorful sounds.

Dariel Clark has a powerful, magnetic presence about him that amplifies when he cranks the amp up. Sparing no niceties, the Virginia Beach musician delivers a one-two combo through his weapons of choice—his guitar and voice.

Headed by the musical virtuoso Big Torrin himself, Big Torrin’s Fusion Groove is the sonic definition of the phrase “good vibes.” With tasteful flecks of jazz, r&b, house, hip-hop, and soul, Big Torrin’s Fusion Groove is sure to satisfy every groove nerve in your body.

Rapper/lyricist Cam Murdoch is known for his pensive, neo-soul inspired raps that focus on the ‘self’ as much as they do fictional characters. His latest single, “The Wave,” carries on this wave of introspection through an unlikely combo of soothing ukelele riffs and strong trap beats.

While fairly new, Kyere Laflare is not to be underestimated. Debut single, “How Does It Feel,” brings in a throwback r&b vibe that’s sure to remind you of simpler times.

If you go by 1pump and wear Scott Summers-esque visors, you better come with the heat and charisma. 1pump certainly doesn’t disappoint with a strong, bombastic release in Scott Summers II: The Light Within.

Known for her hypnotic but real delivery, Lex Lucent is ready to put you under a spell with a laidback flow and unique instrumentals. Her debut project, “Incase You Forgot,” solidifies the rapper as one to look out for.


2020 – A Year in Reflection

As we wrap up one hell of a year, we thought it was only best that we took some time to reflect on some of the really goods things that have come out of this year, specifically with Popscure. Thank you all for making this year a special one—here’s to many more.

What was your favorite write-up from this year? Why?

Tyler W: It’s probably a tie between the Dawit N.M. interview conducted by Cam Murdoch and the Q+A I did with members of the Wild Bunch before the “Our Streets” exhibition, both of which focused on photography. Since practically everyone in the digital age can capture an image with ease, it’s really interesting to me to hear how photographers approach it as an art form.

Jasmine R: My favorite write-up probably has to be “Whose Streets? Our Streets!”— a Q+A written and conducted by Tyler. Documenting the (without a doubt) historical summer of activism and unity is so, so crucial to say the least.

Cam M: The Tyler Donavan piece, I just want that guy to win and have his story shared, so it was big for me to see the response he got from that.

Shannon J: From Overseas, Tyler did a great job poetically telling the story of Kevin Sery and made the piece just as atmospheric and grounded as his music. Otherwise, I was excited to have a couple pieces I wrote go out (“Treasure,” “Bubble Ball“). Since I started working full-time, I haven’t had much time to write for Popscure, so I’m glad I can contribute, and I’m excited to have some new writers on this year too (Allison, James and Noah).

Noah D: Oh jeez, I don’t know. I hate to self-plug but maybe the Why Bonnie interview. It was the first time I’d interviewed a bigger name band, and I just really enjoy the chances it gave me, and I was proud to see it get feedback. Other than that, I loved the recent article [“25 Local Places to Get Gifts in the 757”] focusing on shops in the 757. I think it gave some really solid media coverage to businesses that needed it, and I think it influenced a lot of peoples’ decisions in gift buying.

What was your favorite piece to have edited and published? Why?

Tyler W: I really liked how Jasmine’s interview with LEYA came together because I see that as a great example of how Popscure can create connections both online and IRL. We were able to create a relationship with both the band and their label through email correspondence and then reach new readers through social media shares by the band and label. At the same time, we were telling our local readership about this emerging band that was on tour coming to play in our town. And then we were able to go to the show, meet the band, network with local musicians, etc. I also just really like them and their album—their album was one of my favorites this year. 馃檪

Jasmine R: One of my favorite pieces that I helped put out was the Shaina Negr贸n feature by one of our writers, Darryan. It was a super cool look inside the conjoining of art and self-expression from Negr贸n. I’m also really proud of our Black Experience Collective that we put together as a response to the events of police brutality and blatant murder and injustice that occurred this year. The collective serves as a platform to amplify the black voices unheard in this country.

Shannon J: Jasmine took care of much of the editing, bless her soul, but one of the few I did was “Coronavirus and Why Your Fave Band Tee Is Important Right Now.” Documenting such a shift on the blog was crucial since so much of our content is dependent on live music and the musicians who play shows.

What was your favorite standout moment for Popscure this year?

Tyler W: One moment that stands out for me is posting the Fake Uzumi feature on our new WordPress site in February. Around that time we were leveling up, and I felt proud of the efforts from our newly-formed team. I knew the feature was going to get a lot of exposure, and I remember feeling like our operations were just starting to run smoothly; we had all been working hard getting ready for this new level of attention.

Jasmine R: One of my favorite moments from this year absolutely has to be the Valentine’s Day-themed party we did with Smartmouth Brewing Co. and Citrus City Records. This may sound cliche, but the energy was literally full of love that night. It was literally “nothin’ but love.”

Cam M: Nothin’ but love show with Smartmouth.

Shannon J: Stay Put Fest 2020 was amazing. It was such a fun challenge to translate the exhilaration, fun, and camaraderie of live music onto people’s phones. It was the first time I’d chatted with local showgoers and saw my friends play music in months. There were technical difficulties and a learning process for sure, but I think everyone appreciated it. FlyyScience’s COVID info takeover was super interesting too, and getting to know her and her work was awesome. We just really had to think outside of the box this year with events. No one stole our Instagram account either, which was a plus!

Noah D: I haven’t been on the team long enough to comment!

What do you most look forward to in the future of Popscure?

Tyler W: I look forward to us continuing to grow our team. By adding more contributors, Popscure will expand our investigation into the various aspects of culture and bring our findings to our community.

Jasmine R: Our growth!!!

Cam M: Breaking boundaries and bringing obscure talent to the masses.

Shannon J: Parties, hopefully we can do something fun in the summer!

Noah D: Writing more, editing, carving a voice for myself in the team, etc. etc.

Thank you all for the love and support you showed us this year! On to the next one…

“Nothin鈥 But Love” Coming to Norfolk Brewery

Together with Smartmouth, we’re making sure no one spends their night alone this Friday.  

Another year, another Valentine鈥檚 Day鈥ut what if this year was different? Instead of self-loathing or ruminating on your relationship (or lack thereof), why not be surrounded by a bunch of strangers for an evening? Sure, that sounds like the exact opposite of what you might do on a day dedicated to romantic love, but the lovers of beer and live music are gathering at Smartmouth Brewery this Friday to try and change your mind. 

Located in the Chelsea business district of Norfolk, VA (aka West Ghent), Smartmouth Brewery Headquarters will be holding their first ever Valentine鈥檚 Day themed party, affectionally titled, 鈥淣othin鈥 But Love鈥 from 6PM – 11PM. With the help of their friends in Citrus City Records and Popscure, they aim to manifest a night filled with 鈥渘othin鈥 but love鈥濃攍ove for beer, love for company, love for music, love for love.

The culture of dedication and love is nothing new for the craft brewery. Since its inception in 2012, the brewery has become known for their unique craft brews that exude passion and a certain level of bravado鈥攓ualities that describe its founder, Porter Hardy. After having a successful career as a lawyer, Hardy decided that it was time for him to pursue his passion in life鈥攂eer. From that fateful moment, Smartmouth Brewery has established itself as one of the first original craft breweries in Hampton Roads with two locations (Norfolk and Virginia Beach), and a reputation with the community for its dedication to giving back. 

鈥淎t Smartmouth, we love to have fun and to put our own twist on things. We鈥檝e sort of left Valentine鈥檚 Day alone most years, but when the team came up with this idea, I thought it fit us perfectly. It鈥檚 a great mix of opening our arms to the whole community and having fun on Valentine鈥檚 Day,鈥 says Hardy.

Of course every lovin’ heart needs a rhythm, and to keep the night moving along in a steady beat, there will be music performances happening in Smartmouth’s newly developed warehouse space. Dedicated to hosting what has become known as the Warehouse Live, this new venture has already established itself as a serious contender for holding live, intimate entertainment. We already know the crowd is in for a real sweet treat at the Warehouse this Friday, but if you need more convincing then follow along with us as we introduce you to the night鈥檚 artists below.

Local spinner, WIVVE, is sure to start things off right with his ability to feel the crowd鈥檚 energy and amplify it tenfold. Perhaps one of our favorite things is the diversity of musicality in his sets. It鈥檚 like he has a sixth sense and can tap into whatever the crowd is feeling with whatever sonic weapon in his armory.

Singer/songwriter, Koren Grace, is such a force to be reckoned with. Her dynamic vocals have a sense of vulnerability that enrapt any listener鈥攍ike a siren call ready to take their prisoner. Combine that with her overflowing charisma and soulful spirit, and you just may develop Stockholm Syndrome鈥攁nd we think you may be alright with that.

Artists like Cam Murdoch further our belief that genres are just limiting barriers leftover from an archaic state of mind. As an artist, there is nothing better than just being known for you and only you. There鈥檚 no way to pinpoint the sound of Cam Murdoch鈥e鈥檚 just Cam Murdoch鈥攁nd that鈥檚 what makes him unique.

Intricacy immediately comes to mind when listening to this Richmond trio. Each note serves a purpose, ultimately creating a phenomenon of translation between the human and the instrument. The synergy is strong within Manatree.

If you鈥檙e looking for grooves, look no further. Shormey creates music is like a time portal with fuzzy compressed synths, playful guitar licks, and a riding bass-line reminiscent of that classic 70s funk and disco of the past, but with a modern twist. Her music is sure to lift you higher from all of the noise of reality.  

Prepare to get beamed up with this Virginia Beach band. With plenty of funky riffs, rhythms, and 鈥渙ut of this world鈥 vocals (sorry鈥 I had to), the musicians in Paper Aliens are here to take over with their energetic, feel-good music.

Last but not least, if you’d like to hear more straight from the artists’ and organizers’ smart mouths about Friday’s festivities, then stay locked to these videos below that were just shot over the weekend at the Warehouse:

WIVVE, Cam Murdoch, & Koren Grace sat down with Cole and Jordan from Smartmouth to talk Valentine鈥檚 Day and 鈥渘othin鈥 but love鈥
Paper Aliens sat down with Cole and Jordan from Smartmouth to talk Valentine鈥檚 Day and 鈥渘othin鈥 but love鈥