Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)


September 28, 2012

Festival will mark 3 years

HUNTINGTON — Ian Thornton dreamed of bringing a music and arts festival to the Tri-State, even as he enjoyed the All Good Music Festival and Camp Out in Masontown, W.Va., several years ago.

The dream because a reality three years ago when Thornton started a festival in Ritter Park in Huntington, a festival that continues to grow.

Huntington Music and Arts Festival, set for 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, will feature 24 acts.

“The idea came from All Good,” Thornton said.

“I had been to Bonnaroo a lot of times and it’s a lot of moving, a lot of set changes and at All Good, you sit up on the hill and you watch the bands here, and when they're done you turn your head and watch the bands there on that stage. We are only given so many hours, so we might as well fill it with as much music as we can.”

Growing event

Thornton said the third annual music fest has grown from 15 acts and about 300 attendees in the first year to two dozen acts and more than 600 last year.

He said this year they hope to fill the 1,000-seat capacity amphitheater, the site of regular concerts in the 1960s and ’70s.

Acts for the festival include The Demon Beat, Bill Fox, The Carpenter Ants, The Heptanes, John Lancaster, Fletcher’s Grove, Rozwell Kid, AC30, Qiet, Sly Roosevelt, Sasha Colette and the Magnolias, Blue Ring and Coyotes in Boxes.

There’s also a second, acoustic songwriter stage for such acts as Richie Tipton, Mark Smith, Grim Charles, Adam Benz, ModockRounders and others.

Tickets are $15 advance or $20 at the door. Advance tickets are on sale now at the V Club and Black Sheep Burrito and Brews. The concert is free for children 12 and under for the all ages concert that will have a full slate of food vendors including Black Sheep Burrito and Brews as well as beer vendors and soft drinks by Pepsi.

Personal performance

Attendees may bring water into the festival but not alcohol. There also will be an expanded artist/festival merchandise area with as many as a dozen local artists and vendors, including a large area near the stage with merchandise and music from all of the bands.

Thornton’s own electric indie rock band, AC-30, will perform. He said the festival showcases what he feels is the great thing about Huntington’s music scene — its diversity and its camaraderie.

“ think one of the best parts about this town is the eclectic scene,” he said. “We obviously have a great metal scene but as a whole these indie rock bands feel like we are in a fight together and we back each other and support each others shows.”

Thornton said they’re also up to a dozen visual artists as well, and he hopes to grow the fest to become an annual tourist draw to Huntington.

“It’s growing on all fronts and hopefully it will just keep growing,” he said. “There are a lot of big festivals like Cincinnati’s Midpoint Music Festival that started out as a small grassroots festival and has grown so much that last year it brought in 26,000 people.”

Other events

In addition to the festival, HMAF also generated a few related events.

The V Club was the site of a pre-party Thursday and tonight, Black Sheep Burrito and Brews at 1555 3rd Ave. will host the eight-piece horn-fueled jugband Big Rock and the Candyass Mountain Boys with special guest Tyler Childers. There is no cover charge.

 The HMAF After Party kicks off at 10 p.m. Saturday at The V Club, 741 6th Ave., with The Phantom Six and Sangoma, followed by Charleston hip hop vets Dinosaur Burps. Cover is $5 or free entry with an HMAF wristband.

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