This year’s FestivALL celebration will have a lot of West Virginia rolled into those ten days.
Charleston Mayor Danny Jones along with FestivALL Executive Director Larry Groce announced the headliners for this year’s event, which coincides with the state’s 150th birthday, on Monday at the state Culture Center.
“We tried to do things that we in harmony with the 150th celebration,” Groce said. “For example, Kool and the Gang obviously has no connect to West Virginia but they had the song “Celebrate” which is a great tie-in for us.”
Kool and the Gang will headline the Mayor’s Concert. But it will be Cross Lanes native Kathy Mattea who headlines Live on the Levee, June 21st, which just happens to be her birthday.
West Virginia turns 150 on June 20th, a Thursday. That’s also the day FestivALL gets underway. Groce says the state approached the FestivALL board about teaming up to create a once in a half century celebration.
“I think it will make FestivALL even bigger, especially the first weekend,” Groce predicted. “Our big weekend is usually the second weekend. But this year I’ve got a feeling the first weekend is going to be very big!”
FestivALL and West Virginia 150 will be teaming up on several events including the Charleston Light Opera Guild performance of “The Civil War,” a musical, with performances June 20-23 at the Culture Center. The annual Smoke on the Water Chili Cook-off will move from downtown to Kanawha Blvd. in front of the state capitol on June 22nd. And the annual Art Parade will add in some state elements on June 22nd.
“We just had some events that just seemed natural to team up with, like the parade,” according to Groce. “And when we know we’re going to do stuff at the same time they are, to find a way to share it just makes more sense than trying to create two separate things.”
Bigger and better are the words Groce used during the Monday news conference at the Culture Center to describe FestivALL. He says it all comes down to the numbers.
“Ten days, 130 events, 350 performances because we’ll have at least that many,” says Groce.
To see a full rundown of FestivALL events, log on to www.festivallcharleston.com. Meanwhile, the state has yet to announce the lineup for West Virginia 150. That comes in a few weeks.