Kicked off on June 15 and running through Sunday, June 30, FestivALL Charleston is featuring 600 artists at 80 events in 300 performances at 35 venues in 15 days. Like a fireworks show, FestivALL has saved some of the biggest bangs and brightest lights in art, dance, music and theater for the last weekend. Here's a look at eight great things at this not-to-miss fun weekend.
A soul train a coming
Get a triple blast of soul and horn-juiced R&B as The Mayor's Concert features Houston hot shot R&B unit, the eight-piece wonder-band The Suffers, as well as the up-and-coming Michigan-based husband-and-wife duo, The War and Treaty (Michael and Tanya Trotter) and their band, which is nominated for both Emerging Act of the Year and Duo/Group of the Year for the Americana Music Association.
Also on the bill for the 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 27, concert at the Clay Center is veteran R&B unit Stratus.Stratus is Charleston's favorite R&B band, touring locally and around the world for more than 40 years. Influences include George Clinton, Earth Wind & Fire, Kool & The Gang and Chaka Khan.Tickets: $25 advance, $30 day of at the Clay Center Box Office or 304-561-3570 (fees apply).
Tacos, tacos, tacos
Forget Taco Tuesday, it's Taco Saturday on June 29 as Black Sheep Burrito & Brews at the Brewery is putting on West Virginia's first Taco Festival - Taco Fest WV. The fest is offering some eats and beats on the street as part of the Capitol Street Arts and Crafts Fair at FestivALL.
From from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Stroll down to Davis Park and the 300 block of Capitol Street where you can sample more than a dozen taco and food vendors all pumping profits into a number of Charleston charities. Kick back to live music from Parachute Brigade, The Dividends and Tony Harrah, and, if you dare, enter the hot pepper and taco eating contests.
There will also be a Dog Taco Costume Contest, dance performances, awards for the Best Tacos and a kids activity zone. Enjoy a wide variety of hand-crafted brews from Charleston's only brewery, Bad Shepherd Beer Co., while enjoying tacos from such commercial vendors as Black Sheep Burrito & Brews, Mi Cocina de Amor, Books & Brews, Melange, Whiskey Taco, Twisted Taco and Elements at Quarrier Diner.
Restaurant vendors will donate 50 percent of sales to non-profits of their choice.Also serving up tacos and receiving 100 percent of their sales will be such area nonprofits as Rainbow Pride of WV, CAMC Foundation, Piedmont Elementary School and Kanawha-Charleston Humane Association.General admission (includes entrance to festival, entertainment and one beer, soda or bottled water ticket) are $20. Get tickets at http://www.tacofestwv.com. Premium admission (includes entrance to festival, entertainment, 2 taco tickets and 2 drink tickets) is $30.
Take a ride on the River Queen
BB Riverboats' River Queen returns to Charleston with 1 1/2-hour sightseeing cruises on the Kanawha River. As part of FestivALL Charleston and sponsored by the Charleston Convention and Visitors Bureau, the River Queen will be docked at Haddad Riverfront Park, 600 Kanawha Blvd. E., Charleston. Cruises will take place at noon, 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. daily through Friday, June 28.
On Saturday, there will be cruises at noon and 2 p.m., as well as an evening taxi that will take folks over to Wine and All That Jazz at the University of Charleston. You must have or be willing to buy tickets to Wine & Jazz Music Festival if you wish to get off at UC.Cruise tickets are $22, $21 seniors, $14 children 4-12; children 3 and under are free. The Saturday River Taxi tickets: $3 for adults, children 12 and under free when accompanied by an adult.
Wine and all that jazz
Starting at 2 p.m. Saturday, it's the 20th edition of the Wine and Jazz Festival on the lawn at the University of Charleston as part of the FestivALL Charleston. Come celebrate the 20th year of Wine & Jazz! Fund for the Arts and Spilman Thomas & Battle PLLC present the best summer party in Charleston. The schedule is 2 p.m., The Steve Himes Connection; 3:20 p.m., Somethin' Special; 4:50 p.m., The Bob Thompson Unit; 6:40 p.m., Lakecia Benjamin; and 8:30 p.m., The Dirty Dozen Brass Band. Advance tickets are $30 online at https://fundfortheartswv.ticketspice.com/wine-jazz-music-festival-2019. They can also be purchased at The Wine Shop at Capitol Market in Charleston for $35 each. Online ticket sales will end at 9 p.m. Friday, June 28. Tickets will be available the day of the festival for $40 at the main gate. Children 12 and under get into the festival for free when accompanied by a paying adult. Children who are older than 12 but under 21 years of age may also attend, but will need to have a ticket for entrance.
There will be craft beers, wine and food vendors. West Virginia American Water will be providing free water with their "H2O On The Go" van. You may bring chairs and blankets into the fest to sit.Proceeds from the Wine & Jazz Music Festival go to the Fund for the Arts' 12 local arts organizations to be used to further strengthen and enhance the arts in the community.
The River Queen will be shuttling folks over from Haddad Riverfront Park at 4 p.m., 5:30 p.m., 7 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and 10 p.m.
You can find more information on the FestivALL website at https://festivallcharleston.com/events/river-queen-cruises-taxi.
Capitol Street Arts and Crafts Fair
Head down to Capitol Street from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 29, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 30.
Be inspired by and support the art of more than 70 new and returning artisans displaying and selling their work in this juried fair dedicated to fine art and fine crafts. The fair has grown to be one of the largest events of its kind in the state. In its 15th year, this staple of FestivALL will bring visitors and residents of Charleston to the iconic Capitol Street to shop and interact with the region's best artists. Street performers and free street stages create a festive atmosphere that provides a little bit of something for everyone.
This year's fair extends through Brawley Walkway and the Lee Street Triangle. The Davis Park block will be used for community events (Saturday, June 29, will be Taco Festival presented by Black Sheep Burrito & Brews at the Brewery, and Bad Shepherd Beer Co.).
'Mountain Stage' jazzes it up
"Mountain Stage," which hosted a more country flair show taping last week with a sold-out performance featuring Steve Earle, is back for a second helping during FestivALL.
They will tape a live show at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, June 30, at the Culture Center Theater with the great, timeless jazz guitarist John Pizzarelli Trio, top-shelf and Grammy Award-winning vocalist Catherine Russell, a set from "Mountain Stage's" own house pianist The Bob Thompson Unit, as well as Devotchka and Kate Vargas.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Advance tickets are $30. Mountain Stage members are $20 and day of show tickets (if not sold out) are $35. Get tickets online or at Taylor Books. Go online at www.mountainstage.org
Mall music during FestivALL
As part of FestivALL Charleston, head over to Charleston Town Center Mall and the West Virginia Music Hall of Fame shop, where they are hosting a number of cool pop-up concerts.
From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, June 29, MusicWorks is a smorgasbord of local talent hosted by Andy & Becky Park. Enjoy music by Emmalea Deal, Dina Hornbaker, Karen Allen and Andy Park. The concerts are sponsored by the American Federation of Musicians Local 136 and Appalachian Artists Performance Fund.
Then at 2:30 p.m., it's the almost famous Carpenter Ants, who are dialing up an Ants and Friends show at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, June 29, joined by songwriter Mark Cline Bates.
While at the mall be sure to check out the always mind-blowing and fun super-sized balloon sculpture built by Aaron "Dizzy Doc" Hay and his minions.
Theater here, there, everywhere and Elk City
Practically all of Charleston is a stage during FestivALL. The CYAC is presenting "Jack The Ripper," an award-winning drama about the infamous London murders of the 1880s, written by dynamic creative duo of Mark Scarpelli and Dan Kehde.
The production will run at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, June 27-29. This is the first production in the innovative new Elk City Playhouse.
Tickets: $15, $8 for students and seniors. Some tickets will be available at the door, but, due to limited seating, online ticket purchases at cyacwv.showclix.com are suggested. For more information, call 304-342-5716 or visit cyaccharleston.com.
At the Guild Theatre, the Charleston Light Opera Guild presents the musical "Bright Star" from Grammy Award-winning Edie Brickell and Grammy-, Emmy- and Academy Award-winner Steve Martin. "Bright Star" runs at 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday, June 28-30.
Tickets: $20, open seating. Available online at charlestonlightoperaguild.org or at Books & Brews, 222 Washington St. W., or at the box office at Guild Theatre (304-342-9312), which opens one hour before performances.