The RIFF Music Fest. This is connected to the 12th annual Richmond International Film Festival (RIFF) In 2017, RIFF expanded its annual music showcases to include a music festival that takes place concurrently with the film festival.

If submitting a film, please see RIFF's other submission site on FilmFreeway as this is only for the music festival and band performers. To submit a film (not music), visit

This music festival features up to 50 local, national and international bands. It's an international competitive festival where bands go through multiple rounds of judging to determine the official selection bands that will perform over the six day festival. Top honors and awards will be given across a variety of music genres as well as Critic Choice Award, Audience Choice Awards, and others.

The festival's aim is to bring cutting edge music to Richmond while providing a development platform for artists and filmmakers alike. This is an expansion of RIFF's early focus to showcase emerging music talent and create stronger dialogue between filmmakers, performers, and music industry professionals.

In addition to a week full of great performances, industry panels, song pitch sessions to filmmakers, industry think tanks, and RIFF jam sessions, the RIFF Music Fest is a platform for filmmakers and musicians to network and forge new working relationships. This festival is one of its kind in the mid-Atlantic region.

What They're Saying -

“We just wanted to send a personal thank you for the invitation this year to RIFF. It was an absolutely amazing experience! I think it was within the first hour we were at the Friday Night VIP Party that we started kicking ourselves for not being there the entire time. In the short time we were there, we made so many friends and connections - both in film and music. From the bottom of our collective hearts, thank you so much. It was by far the best experience we have had as a band. I cannot say enough good things about RIFF, you, and your entire staff for putting it on. Bravo to all of you! You are the real stars!" Frank and River Rabbitte / wht.rbbt.obj

“We would like to say a huge THANK YOU for allowing PipoBeats and his team perform at the 2022 Richmond International Film and Music Festival. We had a BLAST! Heather, your passion, vision and dedication for the arts; film and music, is unconditional. Same for your awesome team. So helpful and professional - beyond words!" PipoBeats & Team

"The doors RIFF Music Fest helped open have been phenomenal! I've met some incredible talent that's fostered great collaboration and helped me expand as a songwriter. From meeting folks in film who want to help expand my ideas visually, to having familiar faces at local networking events, RIFF Music Fest planted a strong seed. Mostly, the festival provided me access to an audience that hip-hop doesn't usually have in this city. It's always difficult to navigate the scene a bit, or command a certain level of respect for the genre. RIFF Music Fest provides a level playing field for creatives from multiple backgrounds and is such a beautiful way to reach people." - Chance Fischer, Musician

"This was a fabulous festival- Richmond is the friendliest and most hospitable hosts I’ve ever encountered - Everyone in the festival was super helpful. We had a great time. Thanks for making it so much fun!🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟" -2022 Filmmaker

"RIFF is very special indeed. They have incredibly inspiring events and really go above and beyond to host a film and music festival that brings forth the beautiful and diverse qualities of Richmond. I am lucky to live in this wonderful town right now and we are so fortunate to have Heather and her team leading this welcoming and engaging festival."
-2022 Filmmaker

"Richmond was the best experience I've had at a film festival! An exceptional combination of music and film events, parties, mixers and panels. Can't wait to go back!"
-2022 Filmmaker

"Best festival experience for our fall 2021 - spring 2022 season. The quality of films were excellent. You'd be honored to be amongst the other officially selected. RIFF is also a music festival with a lot of opportunities to check out local venues and hear talented musicians from all over the world. The festival directors are courteous, accessible, and run an all-around impressive show." -2022 Filmmaker

"Fantastic festival hosted by its creator Heather Waters whose warmth, enthusiasm, efficiency and joy cast a long beautiful glow upon the entire event. Well worth the time and effort to show in or attend." 2022 Filmmaker

"RIFF was so fun! We had a blast hanging with so many awesome creators, musicians and artists...we can’t wait til next year!" -2022 Filmmaker

“Congratulations on yet another superb festival! It has been great working through the panels, meeting incredible people across film and music and watching wonderful movies. The music, especially from Europe was outstanding! We would love to work with some of these artists. Amazing experience..we are all thrilled. Xavier Keyz/Ashish and Ujjla Manchanda, Boon Castle Records”

The RIFF Music Fest will award the following prizes and awards.

All selected bands will receive full VIP badges to the RIFF Music Fest and the Richmond International Film Festival portion. The top winners in each music genre will also receive an award trophy at Sunday night's red carpet awards, and the overall top Grand Jury winner will also receive industry promotion and consultation on marketing and branding.

In addition to the overall Grand Jury winners in each music genre, special awards are given, which include: The Emerging Artist Award, Critic's Choice Award, and more. The six main genres awarded include: Contemporary/Pop, Rock/Alternative, Hip Hop/R&B, Reggae or Jazz/Blues, and Country/Bluegrass. If selected, all key band members will receive complimentary VIP badges, which grants entry into more than 120 film screenings, mixers, educational panels, the red carpet awards, and more. Value $2,500 and up in badge entries per band.

All entrants must submit their entry form and payment online through FilmFreeway. You may then submit your music electronically through FilmFreeway or choose to email it via Dropbox to

If you prefer to use snail mail instead, simply fill out the FilmFreeway form and mail copies of your work and press kit info to:

3126 W. Cary Street, #605
Richmond, VA 23221

Be sure to include your FilmFreeway submission number on the materials. The competition is not responsible for submissions that are lost, stolen, or damaged in transit.

All applicants (s) testify to be at least 18 years or older and warrant as the author of submitted material that they are the sole and exclusive owner(s) of all legal and equitable rights thereto with the full and exclusive rights to submit material to the competition.

Each entrant must fill out and sign the online entry application and release form. If selected as a winner, it is up to the band or performer to split the prize package equally between them.

All preview media must be labeled with your entry number, band title, track list, and personal contact information including email address.

Please label the outside of your package: FOR PREVIEW ONLY – NO COMMERCIAL VALUE. Your preview material will not be returned, so please do not send master copies. Submissions may not be withdrawn once completed, and entry fees are non-refundable. The competition is not responsible for submitted materials that are lost, stolen, or damaged in transit.

ONLINE FORMAT. If submitting your music online, please do so through FilmFreeway or the Dropbox email above.

Entry fees are non-refundable.

Applicant understands that it is their sole responsibility to copyright and protect their own submitted material.

All submission forms must be filled out through FilmFreeway. Submission materials must be received via postal mail or transmitted electronically via FilmFreeway on or before the Early, Regular, Late or Final entry deadline, and the entry fee paid in full through FilmFreeway in order to qualify for the respective submission rate. Online entries may be submitted up until midnight Eastern Time on the final or extended deadline date. Postal entries must be postmarked by the respective deadline. Any entries submitted or payments postmarked after the final or extended deadline will be disqualified.

RIFF reserves the right to extend the entry deadline.

Entry fees are payable by credit card or PayPal via FilmFreeway.

Applicants will receive an e-mail notifying them of the music fest competition results. It is the applicant's responsibility to keep their personal contact information that is on file with us and FilmFreeway updated and current. RIFF Music Fest has no responsibility for correspondence that is misdirected as a result of applicant(s) failure to provide us with current contact information. We also encourage entrants to add RIFF Music Fest to your email address list to ensure email correspondence is not sent to spam or bulk mail.

Contest applicants must accept without reservation the decisions rendered by the jurors.

If selected as Official Selection you are responsible for your own personal travel and accommodation expenses. In some cases, travel discounts can be provided. All Official Selection band members receive complimentary All Access Platinum Badges to the film festival portion for the week.

Please read and understand the Festival Rules, Guidelines, & Licensing Agreement. By submitting your entry to the RIFF Music Fest, you expressly acknowledge and agree to be bound by these terms. Failure to adhere to these guidelines or rules & licensing agreement will result in disqualification and forfeiture of an entry fee and/or eligible prize. PROMOTION, PUBLICITY, MARKETING. Entrants permit the RIFF Music Fest to use their name and/or likeness, contact information provided by participant, title of the work submitted and their results during the 2018-19 festival year for publicity and promotional purposes. Through various phases of the judging process, submitted material will be exposed to a network of influential third parties. All such third party participations are not guaranteed. The RIFF Music Fest will provide, though not obligated, applicant’s contact information and submitted work to any interested parties, and turn all remaining correspondence over to you. RIFF Music Fest does not attest to or guarantee the validity of any subsequent agreements between applicant (s) and said parties. INDEMNIFICATION. Applicant (s) indemnify and hold harmless The RIFF Music Fest, its judges, affiliates, staff, sponsors and partners, individually and collectively, from and against all claims, demands, losses, damages, costs, liabilities and expenses (including legal fees) arising out of or in connection with any and all claims, or third party claims based on stories or films submitted to the RIFF Music Fest.

DISPUTE RESOLUTION; GOVERNING LAW; FORUM. Entrant expressly acknowledges and agrees that the Richmond International Film Festival shall be entitled to injunctive or other equitable relief (an "Injunction") to restrain, prevent or enjoin any breach by a contestant under this film contest, and the contestant hereby waives any right to notice of any action or proceeding for an Injunction and consents to and accepts entry of an Injunction in any court which may have jurisdiction in connection therewith. The prevailing party in any legal proceeding brought pursuant hereto shall be entitled to recover all of its attorneys' fees and all other costs related to such a legal proceeding. Unless otherwise stated herein, this Agreement shall be governed by and interpreted in accordance with the laws of the United States and the Commonwealth of Virginia (without regard to the conflicts of law provisions thereof), and the contestant hereby submits to the jurisdiction of the state and federal courts located in Richmond County, Virginia. By submitting my project to the Richmond International Film Festival, I acknowledge that I have read, understand and agree to, and will abide by all the terms and conditions of submission of materials to this festival competition, which are listed in this licensing and release form, and the rules, guidelines & content sections of the Richmond International Film Festival website.