CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The 16th year of Charleston’s popular art, music and entertainment event FestivALL will be entirely virtual.
Leaders of the two-week June festival which backs FestivALL Charleston’s mission of creating, producing and presenting vibrant art activities in the city announced the decision on Tuesday due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“How we are doing it this year may look a little different than years past but now more than ever people are looking to the arts for feeling, joy and inspiration,” Maria Belcher, the executive director at FestivALL Charleston told MetroNews.
At-home concerts filmed by local musicians, artist roundtable discussions, make-at-home activities for children and families, and more will make up the 15-day schedule June 14-28 set to be released on May 26.
Belcher said everything will be held on festivallcharleston.com, either embedded in a website event or provide a direct link.
According to a news release by the organization, events like the Capitol Street Art Fair on June 27 will be converted into a virtual art fair, with the 2020 juried artists featured in a Virtual Gallery at festivallcharleston.com.
The event will include photos, videos, and links to the online shops of participating artists. Local and nationally acclaimed dance studios will host free classes featured in video format on a variety of platforms.
With June right around the corner, we wanted to let you know we are going “VirtuALL”!
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we will transform our June events into a totally virtual experience w/ 15 days of art, music, dance, theatre & more.
— FestivALL (@FestivALL) May 12, 2020
Belcher said the decision was not easily made internally with the thought of the impact of the event’s more than 100 partners. She noted on top of that is hundreds of musicians and artists sell their brand and product during the two weeks.
FestivALL Charleston has an estimated economic impact on the capital city of $1.5 million. Belcher said organizers are still working with local businesses on how to be a part of the FestivALL experience.
“What we are trying to do is reach out to all of our local businesses, entrepreneurs who really see the benefit financially from having a FestivALL type event in Charleston. We still want to use our platform to help promote their business,” she said.
Belcher added officials are working hard to make the event affordable to all, including the majority of events remaining free.
“For more than 15 years, FestivALL has been synonymous with gathering with friends and family at a concert or parade. While we may not be celebrating in person this June, we will still be able to share in the feeling of FestivALL, together,” Belcher said in a release.
FestivALL joins the list of popular Charleston events including Live on the Levee, East End Yard Sale, Foam at the Dome, and Charleston Coliseum and Convention Center events that have been modified and cancelled due to the pandemic.