March 21, 2016: A City becomes a Work of Art Celebrating 12 Years

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 21, 2016
CONTACT: Brittany Javins, 304-470-0489

FESTIVALL 2016: A CITY BECOMES A WORK OF ART CELEBRATING 12 YEARS

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- FestivALL Charleston celebrates its 12th year June 16-27 by continuing its rich tradition of highlighting regional and international visual arts, dance, music and theater in a citywide festival that draws visitors both from West Virginia and beyond. The June events were recently recognized by Southeast Tourism Society as an STS Top 20 Event for 2016. This year’s summer festivities will also include a FestivALL Preview Memorial Day weekend.

With more than 130 events and 360 performances, FestivALL attracts around 50,000 attendees, more than half of them from outside of Charleston according to surveys. In 2015, visitors from as far away as South Dakota and Oregon attended FestivALL events and 17 percent of visitors stayed an average of two nights.

"We are proud that FestivALL helps create a lively and creative city environment that appeals to residents and to visitors," said FestivALL Director Brittany Javins. "It encourages area artists to try new collaborations. It brings out the best in local musicians. And its reputation over the last 12 years means it continues to attract regional, national and international talent."

With events taking place around West Virginia's capital city in venues both large and small, FestivALL draws visitors who not only attend specific events, but also take time to visit area restaurants and shops and stay at area hotels.

The June event has been so successful that it now includes a mini version in the fall and this year will host the first FestivALL Preview May 27-29. The preview weekend will include a fresh twist on the popular, 30-year-old tradition of Taste-of-ALL presented by Mardi Gras Casino & Resort at its new home on the Kanawha Boulevard at Four Points by Sheraton on May 28. The alternative music concert FestivALT will feature bluegrass, folk and alt-rock singer Keller Williams along with eclectic Americana band Lindsay Lou & the Flatbellys that evening.

FestivALL Preview will begin with the first Moses Automotive Live on the Levee concert of the season feautring Hybrid Soul Project on May 27 and will end with the popular performance storytelling show and podcast “The Moth Mainstage” in partnership with West Virginia Public Broadcasting and the Clay Center on May 29. The Memorial Day Weekend preview is timed to coincide with the Vandalia Gathering at the state Capitol Complex so that visitors and residents can make the most of a holiday weekend in Charleston.

"We continue to embrace opportunities along with our partners and sponsors to promote the arts outside our traditional season," Javins said.

"We are excited for how our June event is taking shape and we will continue to announce events as they are finalized," Javins added. “FestivALL is also rolling out an updated website which will allow attendees to create their own event calendars and will offer visitors more information about our events, programs and operations.”

Highlights for FestivALL 2016 include:

Music -- FestivALL kicks off with opening ceremonies at Appalachian Power Park with a post-West Virginia Power baseball game concert by Americana singer-songwriter Tyler Childers and ONA. On Friday, June 17, Martinsburg native Christian Lopez and his band will perform at Haddad Riverfront Park for the Moses Automotive Live on the Levee series. The music continues with Motown greats The Four Tops and The Temptations at the Mayor's Concert in partnership with the Clay Center June 23, followed by another Live on the Levee June 24 as well as Blues, Craft Brews and BBQ the same night, featuring accordionist and zydeco musician Buckwheat Zydeco along with electric bluesman and soul harmonicist John Nemeth. On June 25, GRAMMY-nominated kid-hop group Secret Agent 23 Skidoo will perform at the Clay Center's Walker Theater, and that evening Wine & All That Jazz will feature GRAMMY-nominated Latin band Locos Por Juana and the contemporary jazz sounds of the Tizer featuring Karen Briggs. Sunday night brings a live Mountain Stage show June 26 featuring Brooklyn indie pop band Lucius and more. The 12 days are capped with Appalachian Children’s Chorus’ Appalachian Festival of Young Voices concert June 27.

Theater -- The popular Cashore Marionettes, which made a debut visit to FestivALL in 2015, return this year. One-man comedy variety show Robert Post will make an appearance. The Charleston Light Opera Guild will present six performances of the Tony Award-winning musical "The Wiz," while the Contemporary Youth Arts Company will present "Schoolgirl Zombies from Hell High." Site plays and more can be spotted throughout FestivALL as well.

Dance -- The Dance Gala, a midweek event, includes guest company members from Ailey II, the apprentice company of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Guests will join dancers from the Charleston Ballet and the River City Youth Ballet ensemble. Also look for Dance in Davis Park June 25, belly dancers on the street stages and flash mobs throughout FestivALL.

Street Fairs -- The Capitol Street Art Fair and Children's Art Fair/Library Street Fair continue to grow and draw artists. The juried Capitol Street Art Fair now attracts more than 90 artisans, while the Children’s Art Fair offers free make-and-take activities, children’s art sales, entertainment and more. The Smoke on the Water Chili Cook-Off offers both tasty fare and free live music all day.

Many other FestivALL events and attractions also are scheduled, including River Queen cruises and taxi, the WV Writers Roundtable, Sunrise Carriage Trail Walk, Art-for-ALL Children's juried art exhibition and Charleston Town Center Teen Art Show, RCCR Gospel Fest, concerts by Charleston Civic Chorus, Charleston Harmony, Charleston Chamber Music Society, the West Virginia International Film Festival screenings and more.

"There truly are events you can attend every day of FestivALL, whether you wish to join a small group for an intimate theater experience or art exhibit, or be among a large crowd dancing to popular music," Javins said. "Many events are free and many are designed to be family-friendly. But we also offer events that invite participants to enjoy music or art outside their usual experience."

For more information on FestivALL events, including purchasing tickets, visit www.festivallcharleston.com.

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