The NorVa, named one of Rolling Stones, best music venues, is a fan and band favorite located in Norfolk, Virginia. Recently, I was lucky enough to get a backstage tour and history lesson of the space and learned so much about what makes this place such a Norfolk staple. Special shoutout to tHRive for the opportunity to go behind the scenes at the NorVa as a part of their Local Look program.
The NorVa has been around since 1922 but hasn’t always been the popular music venue it is now. When it originally opened, it was a movie theater which was then converted into an athletic club some 50 years later. 20ish years after that, the NorVa was completely overhauled and turned into a major concert venue!
Featuring standing room and some seating for over 1,400 people, the NorVa hosts over 150 shows a year. Known for its high tech sound system and expert lighting, the NorVa stands three floors high with multiple unique vantage points for concert attendees. The second floor boasts a large wrap around railing for both general admission and VIP ticket holders who can overlook the stage from above. The third floor is a special viewing area for media personnel while the second floor also features the VIP room for those holding the coveted VIP season passes. This layout is surely quite different from that of the original movie theater yet a much welcomed and needed one at that.
Though it has changed quite a lot since 1922, some specific features of the building remain and the history of what it was will continue.
Now on to the even cooler part, the backstage of the NorVa where we got to experience exactly what the bands do when they are in town! And speaking of bands, everyone from Prince to Ringo Starr, John Legend and Taking Back Sunday to the Backstreet Boys and Kanye have graced this magical stage!
Let’s start with the game room. The game room features a ping pong table, Jukebox, fuseball, multiple arcade machines, a pool table, lounge area and tons of cool art on the walls! It is definitely a room that you can picture the band, band staff and their families hanging both before and after a show. During the tour, we learned that these added venue perks are one of the major draws of the bands and often, they take full advantage of these fun features of the NorVa.
Another feature of the NorVa unknown to many is the basketball court. Featuring a half court, visiting bands that want to shoot some hoops before the show can certainly do so! Fun fact: yours truly shot a perfect free throw on the court during the tour! Swish!
Other neat features specific to backstage of the NorVa include a sauna and hot tub (who knows what has happened in that), a dining room equipped with tons of autographed drum heads, additional other hangout rooms, and a third floor media room that overlooks the stage from behind glass.
Overall, I can certainly see why bands rave about the backstage area of the NorVa as well as why it has made the best of lists! A super fun special space that bands can enjoy during their time in town adds to the experience and it was very cool getting to see what life is like backstage!
The future of the NorVa is bright! With upcoming and mega popular bands continuing to roll into town, this venue will continue to be a popular spot for bands of all genres. A little birdie told me that this next season’s band lineup is sure to be a hit and judging by the previous seasons, I don’t doubt it for a second! I look forward to how the NorVa will continue to rock and roll and make its mark as both the best venue in Norfolk and across the country!
To see more about my social scene adventures, check out this blog page!