FestivALL to feature hot blues, cool jazz

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- FestivALL returns to Charleston June 15-24. It brings hot blues guitar with Tommy Castro for Blues, Brews and BBQ, and cool jazz at Wine and All that Jazz with 2012 Grammy winner Christian McBride.Events, performers and activities for the 10-day, citywide arts festival were announced Monday at City Hall by FestivALL Director Larry Groce.Tickets for most shows, Groce said, would be available beginning Wednesday through the Clay Center, though ticket prices have not yet been announced. However, performers for some shows are still being confirmed, and a few shows will be ticketed outside the Clay Center box office.Details were in the works. "We should have that all finished by the middle of May," he said.Major events include the Mayor's Concert, on June 20 at the Clay Center. It's headlined by Logan County native and "America's Got Talent" winner Landau Eugene Murphy Jr. with the Bob Thompson Unit.Blues, Brews & BBQ is on June 22 at the University of Charleston and Wine & All That Jazz is there June 23. Blues, Brews & BBQ features Blues Music Awards 2008 Entertainer of the year winner, Tommy Castro, while Wine & All That Jazz is headlined by 2011 Grammy-winning jazz artist Christian McBride, along with Indian-influenced international jazz band Red Baraat.On June 24, "Mountain Stage" at the West Virginia Culture Center will have guests Dar Williams and Ray Wylie Hubbard. Groce, who is also the host of "Mountain Stage," promised three other acts would be added to the show by June."Mountain Stage" producer Adam Harris added, "We're working on a couple of other acts right now. I can't say whether they'll be bigger or smaller names than Dar or Ray, but Ray and Dar are show favorites."He hoped to have "Mountain Stage's" FestivALL show finalized in a few weeks.
Theater and dance will also return to FestivALL. Along with the Charleston Light Opera Guild's presentation of "Next To Normal" and the FestivALL Dance Gala with the Charleston Ballet and River City Youth Ballet Ensemble, FestivALL will host a dramatic reading premiere of Denise Giardina's latest work, "Robert and Ted," in a special pre-FestivALL event on June 14.On June 18, the historic Barter Theater from Abingdon, Va., will present a family-friendly version of Jack London's "Call of the Wild" at the Clay Center. Groce said the play appealed to him personally."They're all playing dogs," he said.As something a little different for FestivALL, the Chemical Valley Roller Girls will open their first home season on June 16 at the Charleston Civic Center with the "Festibrawl."Elizabeth "Liz Vicious" Turner said her team was looking forward to bringing a little roller derby to FestivALL."Our first home bout was September 1," she said. "We had a great turnout, and the city just loved us. When FestivALL approached us about doing something, we were glad to be a part of it."
Other highlights include a return of the Peer to Pier mural project, the Taste-of-ALL Charleston (formerly the Taste of Charleston) 30th anniversary, West Side wiener dog races, Smoke on the Water Chili Cook-Off and the Capitol Street Art Fair/Children's Art Fair/Library Street Fair June 23 and 24.Further details about FestivALL can be found at its website, www.festivallcharleston.com.Reach Bill Lynch at lynch@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.
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