CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Kanawha County parks officials want to move the West Virginia State Flatpick Guitar Championship and its associated workshops and concerts to Coonskin Park in Charleston.
Kanawha County Parks Director Jeff Hutchinson said organizers of the annual Robin Kessinger Festival, which is home to the flatpicking championship, contacted him about a month ago about moving the event to Coonskin Park. The festival and flatpicking contest have been held in Roane County for the past few years.
"They're trying to grow it, and they need a larger, more accessible place to grow it," Hutchinson said Wednesday. "They've been getting about 80 or 100 people [in Roane County]. They're thinking, by being in Charleston, they can get between 500 and 1,000 the first year."
Festival organizers Robin and June Kessinger could not be reached for comment this week. The festival is scheduled for May 2 and 3, according to Hutchinson and the event's Facebook page.
Hutchinson said he wants to use the Coonskin Park amphitheater as a backdrop for the guitar contest, workshops and concerts. He said moving the festival to Coonskin would be a perfect use for the stage, which he called underutilized. He also said the location would help festival organizers by providing a less out-of-the way venue.
"It's perfect for the event," he said.
Hutchinson proposes donating the stage to the festival the first year to help get the event established, then charging festival organizers rent in following years.
The Kanawha County Parks and Recreation Commission is expected to vote on the proposal at its regular meeting Thursday.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.