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The original item was published from 1/27/2022 12:57:00 PM to 4/28/2022 12:00:06 AM.

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* Hampton City News

Posted on: January 27, 2022

[ARCHIVED] VEER Music Awards event puts spotlight on Hampton


Jan. 27, 2022 – In 2020, VEER Magazine’s local music awards came to Hampton and brought almost 1,000 people to The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery. In surveying the crowd that night, the city’s Economic Development Department determined that close to 90 percent of the crowd had never been to Hampton before.

That figure explains why economic development director Chuck Rigney is so happy to see the VEER awards returning to The Vanguard on Tuesday, Feb. 8.

“Our friends on the Southside don’t have the highest appreciation for the great venues and destination locations we’ve got here in Hampton,” Rigney says. “We want to make sure people in other parts of the region are aware of The Vanguard Brewpub and Distillery, in addition to the vibrancy of our music scene here in Hampton. We have so many venues and opportunities for people to come in and enjoy all different kinds of opportunities, and this is a way to make them see that.”

VEER is a Norfolk-based publication that covers the entire Hampton Roads region, with an emphasis on music, entertainment, food and drink. Publisher Jeff Maisey said about 30 percent of the magazine’s circulation is on the Peninsula, and holding the annual music awards in Hampton helps to broaden the magazine’s regional profile.

Before 2020, the awards ceremony had moved around various venues in Norfolk. Maisey said when The Vanguard opened in 2018, it was the ideal venue to host the event on the Peninsula.

“The capacity was large enough, and the built-in stage was perfect for this event,” Maisey says. “They have a sound system and video screens, everything we could possibly want, all in-house. We’re a pop culture magazine with a big focus beyond just music, on beer and spirits and that sort of thing. The Vanguard is an opportunity to promote all of those things and to showcase Hampton.”

When the event was held at theaters in Norfolk, VEER would arrange “after parties” at local restaurants and bars. But at The Vanguard, the musicians and the crowd have the convenience of staying in place to gather over food and drinks.

The VEER Music Awards recognize musicians from around Hampton Roads in more than two dozen categories, with categories also recognizing venues, open mic nights and live music series. The night features live performances by several top local acts, and this year’s will conclude with a performance by Lifetime Award recipient Jackie Scott, a Norfolk-based singer with a long history of working with young musicians in Hampton’s blues scene.

Rigney says the event’s return to The Vanguard (after the awards were announced virtually last year) is especially beneficial to Hampton because the city offered financial support to owner Randy Thomas several years ago when he sought to transform an abandoned armory building into a vibrant brewpub, distillery, restaurant and live music venue.

“The first time at The Vanguard was a big success for everyone, and having another go-round is a big deal for us,” Rigney says. “The city made an investment in the redevelopment of a wreck of an old armory building into what you see today, and financially it’s smart to ensure that we don’t walk away. We are in it with Randy Thomas and his partners, and we want to help make it as successful as it can be.”

The VEER Music Awards will be held at The Vanguard (504 N. King Street) at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 8. Admission is free.

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