WANT TO GO?
Huntington Music and Arts Festival
WHERE: Ritter Park Amphitheater, Huntington
WHEN: Noon to 10 p.m. Saturday
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- On Saturday, the Huntington Music and Arts Festival returns to the Ritter Park Amphitheater with music from local bands and a display of local artwork. The gazz spoke to festival organizer Ian Thornton, who said he's excited to bring the festival back for a third year and hopes it will continue to grow.
Q: How did the festival get started?
A: "I've been in the music scene, mostly playing, for eight years. Then I became a promoter at local venues, and that's how I got into that side of the game: meeting bands, booking band and that sort of thing.
"I was really taken back by the level of talent I saw coming through Huntington, but your typical local band is stuck playing bars at 11 o'clock at night.
"The goal of the festival is to bring these great bands to the forefront, get them to an all-ages event in the middle of the afternoon and expose the crowd to bands with a level of talent they may not have known about."
Q: Is the festival all Huntington bands?
A: "Not all. It's mostly Huntington bands, but we've got bands from around the state: The Demon Beat and Rozwell Kid are from Shepherdstown. Fletcher's Grove is from Morgantown, and The Carpenter Ants are out of Charleston.
"They're bands that play Huntington. We're part of their circuit."
Q: Is there a specific flavor to the festival?
A: "That's the beautiful thing about our music scene. We've got bands from all genres. I don't want this to be a genre-specific festival, but somebody who likes the Carpenter Ants might not know about Coyotes in Boxes, for instance -- not that they sound alike, but [Carpenter Ants fans] might not search them out on their own.
"People could find a band [to like] here."
Q: How do you choose bands for the festival?
A: "Well, it's myself, Adam Harris from 'Mountain Stage' -- he's a good friend -- and Bud Carroll. I call them the assistant producers.
"Basically what I'm looking for are bands in Huntington with a good sound and a good draw. We're not looking for seasoned veterans, but we want the band to have a good idea what they're doing.
"These are professional bands who really practice what they're doing."
Q: What about the future of the festival?
A: "I'd like to see it be something like the Mid Point Music Festival in Cincinnati. They started small and have grown to 26,000 people.
"Our first year, we had 300 heads. Last year, we had almost 600, and I'd like us to get to two and three days. Right now, we've got preview parties Thursday at the V Club and Friday night at Black Sheep Burrito, each with three bands not at the main festival. We've also got an after-party at the V Club Saturday night.
"This festival is something that could help Huntington. I'd like to see it grow, but we're taking baby steps."
Reach Bill Lynch at ly...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5195.
Huntington Music and Arts Festival schedule
(10-minute sets are acoustic acts.)
Noon: Mark Smith
12:30 p.m.: The Carpenter Ants
1:10 p.m.: Blue Ring
1:40 p.m.: Erik Woods
1:50 p.m.: Rozwell Kid
2:20 p.m.: Chris Strathman
2:30 p.m.: Deadbeats & Barkers
3 p.m.: Cody Lynch
3:10 p.m.: Coyotes in Boxes
3:40 p.m.: Grim Charles
3:50 p.m.: Sly Roosevelt
4:20 p.m.: Jordan Andrew Jefferson
4:30 p.m.: AC30
5 p.m.: Nick Shelton
5:10 p.m.: QIET
5:40 p.m.: The Disappearing Man
5:50 p.m.: John Lancaster
6:20 p.m.: Adam Benz
6:30 p.m.: Fletcher's Grove
7 p.m.: The Modock Rounders
7:10 p.m.: Sasha Colette & the Magnolias
7:40 p.m.: Richie Tipton
7:50 p.m.: Bill Fox
8:35 p.m.: The Heptanes
9:10 p.m.: The Demon Beat
Preview parties: Thursday at the V Club: Sweatband, Farnsworth and Meet Me in the Matinee, 10 p.m. Cover $5 (free with festival ticket purchase). Friday at Black Sheep Burrito: Tyler Childers and Big Rock & the Candy Ass Mountain Boys, 10 p.m. Free.