The 15th year of FestivALL closed out quietly with the second Sunday of live taping during the festival of “Mountain Stage.”
It was a good show and nice end to a (literally) whirlwind 15-ish days of music, art, dance and theater.
As always, there was too much to do and see over the roughly two weeks of activities and events, but there were several high points, among them Live on the Levee’s show with Nashville-based soul and funk group Here Come the Mummies. The over-the-top bandage-wrapped band provided one of the best and most memorable Live on the Levee shows in the history of the free Friday night concert series.
Theater during FestivALL scored particularly well this time around.
Charleston Light Opera Guild had a solid hit with its production of “Bright Star.” The musical written by comedian/musician Steve Martin and Grammy winner Edie Brickell had full houses night after night and several sold-out performances.
Contemporary Youth Arts Company also did very well with the debut of its new theater in Elk City on Charleston’s West Side. “Jack the Ripper” repeatedly sold out. A couple of performances were standing room only, which seemed like a fine start to the group’s new home.
People talked about Brent Green’s “A Brief Spark Bookended by Darkness.”
Every FestivALL, organizers program at least one slightly off-kilter event that generates some discussion. Green’s surreal short films with animation and live sound effects filled that need.
Good crowds turned out for Ice Cream and Arts in Elk City and the annual street fairs on Capitol Street.
Not every event drew a crowd, of course. With hits come inevitably some misses.
The Mayor’s Concert was a fun show with a standout performance by The War and Treaty. Local soul and R&B band Stratus also pulled off a delightfully entertaining cover of “My Girl” and Mayor Amy Shuler Goodwin’s husband, Booth, almost stole the show with his dance moves.
But most of Charleston skipped the concert.
Still, year 15 seemed to have more hits than misses.
The weather mostly cooperated during FestivALL. As is usual for the time of the year, Charleston got a little rain, but escaped the endless downpours of some years.
Yes, Kanawha County saw a rare tornado during FestivALL, but there were no reported deaths and few injuries.
Some residents were left without power for a couple of days, an expensive nuisance for several businesses in South Hills including Sarah’s Bakery, which had to throw out stock and ingredients, but the overall damage was nowhere near as severe as what came from the 2012 derecho, which left portions of the state without power for weeks.
Kanawha County was spared much of the flooding from previous years and temperatures remained generally pleasant over the past few weeks.
Charleston lucked out. It was a good year for FestivALL.