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FestivALL returning for 13th year

FestivALL Charleston, named a Top 20 Event by the Southeast Tourism Society again for 2017, celebrates its 13th year June 16-25.

FestivALL continues to showcase local, regional and national arts in the disciplines of music, dance, visual art and theater using a variety of venues around West Virginia’s capital city.

For the second year, FestivALL includes a Memorial Day preview weekend that kicks off the Moses Auto Group Live on the Levee concert series along with Taste-of-ALL and FestivALT.

FestivALL Director Brittany Javins said post-FestivALL surveys continue to show that 17 percent of the festival’s nearly 60,000 attendees come from outside the Charleston area, including those who have come from as far away as the Pacific Northwest. Its more-than-100 events are designed to attract families as well as those interested in specific genres of music or art. As has been its tradition from its inception, many events are free.

“FestivALL organizers work hard to schedule events that appeal to area residents as well as tourists,” Javins said in a media release. “More than 20 percent of visitors from out of town stay an average of three nights. That’s three days where they often are staying at area hotels and enjoying local restaurants and businesses.”

After last year’s success, FestivALL’s May Preview Weekend will return. Live on the Levee, the series of free Friday night concerts at Haddad Riverfront Park, kicks off 6:30 p.m. May 26 with the Huntington-based funk band The M.F.B. On May 27, Taste-of-ALL presented by Mardi Gras Casino and Resort returns to the Four Points by Sheraton and Haddad Riverfront park with an afternoon of local and regional cuisine. That evening, FestivALT presented by BrickStreet and Spriggs Distributing Company brings another free concert to Haddad Riverfront Park, this time featuring The David Mayfield Parade and Seratones -- a combination that will include rugged Americana, Southern Rock and more.

The May preview coincides with the 41st annual Vandalia Gathering at the state Capitol Grounds, so free KRT shuttles will take attendees between Taste-of-ALL and the Capitol on Saturday. On Sunday, May 28, three artists from Vandalia will discuss their first, favorite and future works on a special episode of the FestivALL series “Three Things.”

“In 2016, we reworked some FestivALL events, moving FestivALT and Taste-of-ALL to our preview weekend. The idea was a success and we are continuing it this year,” Javins said.

While some events are still being finalized for FestivALL’s June schedule, Javins said many of the highlights are in place.

They include longstanding traditions such as the Smoke on the Water Chili Cookoff June 17, the Woofstock & Weiners dog races June 18, the Dance Gala June 21 with nationally touring TAYLOR 2, the Mayor’s Concert at the Clay Center June 22 -- this year featuring Robert Randolph and the Family Band, two Moses Auto Group Live on the Levee Concerts, River Queen Cruises, the Capitol Street Art Fair, Children’s Art Fair and Kanawha Public Library Street Fair, Wine and All

That Jazz featuring nationally recognized trombonist Delfeayo Marsalis, a Dizzy Doc balloon sculpture at the Charleston Town Center and a live performance of West Virginia Broadcasting’s “Mountain Stage” with the Marcus King Band.

There’s also the ever-popular, free ice cream event, Ice Cream and the Arts in Elk City, and the Carriage Trail Walk. And the Charleston Light Opera Guild will produce the love story “The Bridges of Madison County.”

“We’re always interested in adding new events, such as this year’s Air Play on June 17, featuring a circus-style performance by Harlem-based Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, street and circus performers who met in Afghanistan and are now married,” Javins said. “They have appeared on David Letterman’s show and have been featured in the New York Times. It’s a truly magical show you don’t want to miss.

“Other newer events, such as the West Virginia Author’s Roundtable, have proved so popular that we consider them regular FestivALL events,” Javins added. “West Virginia poet laureate Marc Harshman returns this year, along with authors Eric Waggoner, Carter Taylor Seaton and Katie Fallon.

“Our goal has always been to be inclusive and open to new ideas. FestivALL melds the best of traditional, longstanding events with others that are new to our city.”

For more information on FestivALL events and to purchase tickets, visit festivallcharleston.com.


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