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Kool and the Gang tops full list of FestivALL events

Mar. 11, 2013 @ 12:15 AM

CHARLESTON -- FestivALL Charleston 2013 will have a West Virginia flavor this year as the event overlaps with West Virginia's 150th birthday celebration in June.

FestivALL Executive Director Larry Groce and Charleston Mayor Danny Jones joined state officials and local organizers in a recent announcement of the headliners of FestivALL 2013 at the West Virginia Culture Center, which will be the center of the state's sesquicentennial events, including some co-productions with FestivALL Charleston.

"This is a special year for the state as we celebrate 150 years as West Virginia, and we are fortunate that the state's sesquicentennial on June 20 is followed by our 10 days of FestivALL," Groce said, in a news release. "Because of that connection, we have been working closely with several state leaders, the Sesquicentennial Commission and entertainers with connections to West Virginia to make this year's event a major celebration of and for West Virginia."

Of the many programs and projects that will be part of West Virginia's 150th birthday celebration, at least three will be co-productions of the West Virginia Sesquicentennial Committee and FestivALL:

Charleston Light Opera Guild will perform "The Civil War," a musical play centered around three very different perspectives of the war and all that was at stake, with six performances over four days (June 20-23) in the Culture Center Theater.

FestivALL's annual Art Parade will combine with the West Virginia Sesquicentennial Parade on Saturday, June 22 along Kanawha Boulevard from downtown to the Capitol Complex.

The annual Smoke on the Water Chili Cookoff will move to the Capitol Complex on Saturday, June 22 with FestivALL and the state teaming up for live entertainment throughout the cookoff and beyond.

The Sesquicentennial Committee and FestivALL's steering committee are working on some other projects and programs that could be added.

"Meanwhile FestivALL's West Virginia theme will also include our own Kathy Mattea as the headliner for Moses Automotive Group Live on the Levee on the Schoenbaum Stage at Haddad Riverfront Park on her birthday, Friday, June 21, and one of Charleston's favorite local bands, The Esquires, on Friday, June 28," Groce said. "In keeping with the sense of celebration, the Mayor's Concert at the Clay Center on Thursday, June 27 will feature Kool And The Gang."

As usual, the Fund for the Arts will produce two major events on the lawn of the University of Charleston. On Friday, June 28, Blues, Brews & BBQ will feature Marshall Ball among others, and Soul Rebels will headline Wine & All That Jazz on Saturday, June 29.

In addition to the events surrounding the Sesquicentennial, FestivALL's 2013 West Virginia theme will also be played out through:

The Contemporary Youth Arts Company's premier production of "Holly Grove," which commemorates the 100th anniversary of the mine wars along Cabin Creek and Paint Creek, with performances both weekends in the WVSU Capitol Center Theater;

Taste-of-ALL Charleston on Sunday, June 23, at the Charleston Civic Center, featuring many top restaurants in Charleston and the surrounding area;

The Dance Gala, sponsored by Aqua-Clear, on Wednesday, June 26 with special guests from the Martha Graham Dance Company performing "Appalachian Spring Suite" along with talent from the Charleston Ballet and River City Youth Ballet Ensemble; The annual Capitol Street Art Fair with dozens of artists from West Virginia showcasing their talents and products during the final weekend of FestivALL along with the Children's Art Fair, Library Street Fair and several returning favorites among the live street entertainers; "Bricktop and Comstock," the staged reading of a play about one of West Virginia's most interesting and colorful figures, Parisian restaurateur and singer Ada "Bricktop" Smith, on Saturday, June 29 at the Clay Center's Walker Theater;

A West Virginia Youth Symphony Concert with special guest pianist Adam Stravansky from Charleston's sister city, Banksa Bystrica on Sunday, June 30;

"The History of the Civic War in Story, Song and Dance," performed by musician/historian Bobby Horton who has created music for many of Ken Burns' documentaries including "The Civil War" co-produced by FOOTMAD including students from the West Virginia Military Academy and Lizzie Cabell Finishing School; and

"Mountain Stage" with a special show to climax FestivALL on Sunday, June 30, at the Clay Center.

"These main events and West Virginia-themed performances are the foundation on which we will build the best FestivALL to date as our city becomes a work of art again this year," Groce said. "In the coming weeks and months, we will have more information available about other events, all of which will add up to 10 days, 130 events and 350 performances."

More information about FestivALL, go to the website at www.festivallcharleston.com.