Saturday, September 09, 2006

Chuck Wrenn: Richmond's Rock 'n' Roll Impresario

Thinking about the upcoming High on the Hog outdoor music festival on Libby Hill, Oct. 7, brought to mind the feature on Chuck Wrenn that I penned for a local ‘zine four years ago. Here’s how that piece for FiftyPlus, which traced Wrenn’s career in show business, began:

“Twenty-two years ago, when it was generally accepted that large-scale outdoor Rock ‘n’ Roll events couldn’t be staged in Richmond, Chuck Wrenn put three fully-amplified bands, including the impeccably authentic Memphis Rockabilly Band, on a flatbed trailer in the cobblestone alley behind his back yard. It was the fourth edition of High on the Hog, Libby Hill’s live music and pork-worshiping festival.

“The 1980 event featured a serendipitous, career-defining moment for Wrenn: it began raining. Rather than lose momentum by shutting off the electricity and waiting out the downpour, host/emcee Wrenn broke out rolls of heavy-gauge transparent plastic. Soon, with the help of many happy hands, he had improvised a canopy to protect the stage and cover a good part of the yard. In effect, he wrapped the whole shebang.

“Yes, the show went on. With electric guitars wailing in defiance of the chilly rainstorm, the sense of common purpose felt by one and all was remarkable.”

Click here to read "Rock ‘n’ Roll Impresario: High on the Hog’s Chuck Wrenn."

Art: F.T. Rea (1985)

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