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Sounds of Summer

Sweet Fruit and Summer Festivals

Article by Stephanie Hower

Photography by Provided by Three One One Productions

Originally published in Midlothian Lifestyle

While summer swelters, Three One One Productions presents a lineup of events cool enough to beat the heat. Patrons will enjoy evening soirees, live music and a festival centered around one of the season’s juiciest treats—all with free admission and local flair.

Hosting upwards of 30 events each year, Three One One has made entertainment its trade and supporting the community its mission. Founded by Micki Long, who now serves as CEO, it all started with a single client and contract and a somewhat contentious alliance. 

“Micki was the entertainment director for the State Fair of Virginia, and I was the corporate program director for a local radio group,” recalls Mike Murphy, managing partner at Three One One. “She had hired the band 311 to perform at the fair, and my radio station group was the media sponsor.” On the day of the show, Mike arrived with a huge banner to hang behind the stage—two hours late. “I told Micki what we were going to do, and in no uncertain terms, she went up one side of me and down the other, and the answer was no.” 

Needless to say, after their first encounter, eyebrows were raised when Micki came to work for Mike’s radio group. “Micki and I didn’t start off with a good relationship at all,” explains Mike. “It was contentious…I said to my boss ‘Anyone but her!’” They both laugh about it now. Once the pair began working events together, they quickly realized they made a formidable team. 

“Fast forward to late 2005,” Mike continues. “Micki left the radio group and hung out her own shingle, without a name…with one contract and one client.” Unhappy with his then position in Baltimore, Mike returned to Richmond and met Micki for a fateful lunch. “We decided to start Three One One Productions,” he says. The company name pays homage to the band who initially caused their memorable first encounter. 

“I knew the manager of the band, from my radio connections,” says Mike, “ so I called her and asked, ‘Hey, we are starting this production company and want to call it 3-1-1, with the numbers.’” The manager’s response was almost as adamant as Micki’s answer to hanging the banner from years before. “She said, ‘Don’t do it, or I’ll sue you!’ That was why we started spelling out the numbers…to avoid a lawsuit,” he chuckles.

Three One One now hosts and plans events in an array of shapes and sizes, including corporate meetings, conferences, festivals, mall openings and concerts. 

“Anything from 10 people to 120,000 people,” says Mike. “Our footprint is the mid-Atlantic…but most of our work is in Virginia.”

“We are very festival-driven people in Virginia,” adds Micki.

“People love to have a beer in the street when it's closed,” confirms Mike. “It’s the craziest thing ever. We love it!”

The very first contract they started with in 2005 was an event called Shamrock the Block, of which they are now the property rights owners. They own the rights to several other major events, such as Jam Sandwich in June and Pumpkin Fest in the fall. Overall, their operation has grown tremendously, providing year round entertainment to Richmond and the surrounding areas. Both Mike and Micki feel strongly about supporting their community.

“We like to focus and support local music because Richmond has a pretty good food and music scene, and there are a lot of artists who just don’t get the opportunity to perform or get noticed,” Mike says. “We have been pretty fortunate…and that’s why we use Project Local.”

Project Local is an organization formed to help a variety of small, locally operated charitable organizations, who may not have the ability to garner widespread exposure, through fundraising and event proceeds. Micki joined the board in 2015. Three One One now contributes certain event proceeds to Project Local, fostering the spirit of community which is a mainstay of their vision. 

“We wanted to get involved with a charity that kept things really local,” recounts Mike, “as part of Three One One’s commitment to Richmond. That way we can keep the money here.” 

From talent to vendors to event attendees, the heart of Three One One’s business is centered in Richmond and captures the spirit of the community Mike and Micki call home. 

Libbie Mill-Midtown Pop-Up Supper Club on the Lake

—Every third Thursday of the month

During the summer months through October, Three One One presents the Pop-Up Supper Club, a fine dining experience set upon the beautiful new waterfront within Libbie Mill-Midtown. No admission is necessary. Patrons purchase their food from an assortment of high-end food trucks and have access to a featured cocktail as well as beer and wine selections for sale. The proceeds from these sales benefit Project Local. Live music is performed throughout the course of the evening. 

Fourth of July Fireworks at the Libbie Mill-Midtown

—July 4, 6-10 p.m.

The second annual Fourth of July celebration at Libbie Mill-Midtown. Enjoy music, food, drinks, kids activities, games, bounce houses and more! End the night with a bang watching the fireworks show over the lake. Free to attend, and guests of all ages are welcome.

Carytown Watermelon Festival

—Sunday, Aug. 11  

This is the event of the season. Previous years have seen crowds with more than 120,000 people, making it the largest one-day festival in the area. A section of streets will be closed in Carytown, making room for more than 100 vendors, six stages and tons of watermelon-themed fun. Two 18-wheelers filled with watermelon, courtesy of Publix, are brought to the festival; proceeds from the sale of the watermelon are donated to Shriner’s Children’s Hospital. Enjoy live music performed by local musicians throughout the day, great food and an assortment of beer and wine.

  • Watermelon Festival
  • Shamrock the Block
  • Micki and Mike