The 13th Annual Festival of Steel, a workshop and concert series focused on the art of playing the steel drum instrument, will be held July 3-9 in Morgantowns Historic Downtown District.

The festival is hosted each year by, Mannette Steel Drums, Ltd., a local company that is one of the largest producers of steel drums in the world.

The legendary Dr. Ellie Mannette,Father of the Modern Steel Drumand founder of Mannette Steel Drums, Ltd., is artist-in-residence at WVU . He is known throughout the world as the principal innovator and designer of the modern steel drum. His various steel band instruments have been displayed at many of the world’s finest museums, including the Smithsonian Museum, the Metropolitan Museum and the Contemporary Art Gallery. His instruments are also used in hundreds of schools, colleges and private and community programs in the United States and abroad.

Manette will be joined this year by special guest the Hon. Marina Valere, Trinidads Ambassador to the United States.

The ambassador is visiting to pay homage to the steel drum art form that began in Trinidad and Tobago in the early 1900s, and has proven to be the only new musical instrument created in the past 150 years.

Valere will be keynote speaker at the festivals VIP banquet and reception on July 7. At this event, Mannette and Kaethe George will officially announce the launching of The Mannette Foundation and the growing relationship between Trinidad and Morgantown.

Steel DrumminDowntownis the theme of this years festival, as it takes place at some of Morgantowns most beautifully renovated locations from the 1920s. The Historic Clarion Hotel Morgan will be the central location for the festival, while rehearsals, lectures and performances will also take place daily at the Metropolitan Theatre and Morgantown Arts Center.

This annual event attracts professional musicians, music educators, students and enthusiasts from all across the United States and the world. This year, steel band luminaries such as Robert Greenidge from the Jimmy Buffet Band will be part of the faculty for Dr. Mannette’s Festival of Steel.

Greenidge is scheduled to headline the 4 th of July Festival kickoff concert at the City of Morgantowns Riverfront Fireworks Celebration Sunday, July 3 (time TBA ).

He will also perform at the Faculty Showcase Concert scheduled for 8 p.m. Thursday, July 7, at the Rosewood Theatre.

Other faculty scheduled for the rest of the week includes Ray Holman, Tom Miller, Jeff Narell, Alan Lightner, Jim Munzenrider and Chris Tanner.

Special to the festivals schedule this year, is a mini-session designed for the local community to experience the fun and magic of making and performing music. This class runs the evenings of July 5 and 6, and performs at the Festival Finale Concert at 8 p.m. Saturday, July 9, at Ruby McQuain Amphitheatre.

Tickets to both the Faculty Showcase and Festival Finale Concert are $15.

For tickets, more information, or to sign up for the community class, call 866-236-3786, or visit any of the following locales: Mannette Steel Drums, Fawley Music, Kleebs Music, BOPARC , the Metropolitan Theatre and the Morgantown Arts Center.