Local rocker to host art, music-filled birthday fest
HUNTINGTON - It’s Zac White’s birthday and he can rock if he wants to - and you can join him.
The creative force behind Huntington Culture Storm turns 32 on Friday, Aug. 24. He’ll be celebrating in style by throwing a heavy music and funky art party called Heck Yeah Fest at the V Club, 741 6th Ave. in Huntington.
Now in its third year, Heck Yeah Fest, which is open to the public, kicks off at 2 p.m. Saturday with an eight-band blast featuring headliners and Maryland rockers Cavern. There’s also a who’s who on the heavy scene in the region with Horseburner, Nuclear Hollercaust, Waxjaw, Feverwar, Fabulous Brothers Steele, Flat Tracker and Pocket Socks.
Admission is $15 to the full day-and-night fest with 10 artist vendors including White and his wife, Amanda, as well as food and drink vendors Southside Sliders and Hill Tree Roastery that will have cold brew coffee.
White, who’s thrown a bunch of Huntington Culture Storm art pop-up parties around the city while he helps wrangle vendors for the Huntington Music and Arts Fest, said Heck Yeah Fest is just a DIY event he does to get a bunch of the bands, artists and people he loves together.
“I try to make sure this is all about the bands and about the artists who showing up to sell,” said White, who self-funds Heck Yeah Fest. “I want to give them a platform that is not expensive and I try to make sure that everyone is compensated and that everyone has a good time and comes out to hang out for my birthday. And I hope that it will spark something in the community so I can get a wider audience for these bands and artists and open some doors for people and bring people together over it.”
White, who picked all of the bands for the bill said that it ranges from the first band Pocket Socks, a new band made up of old HYAMP vets to well-known hard-rock acts such as Horseburner, who just played Ironton’s Rally on the River last weekend and along with other locations all over the East Coast and Midwest.
“Another giant joy of the day is that all of the people on the bill are in one way or in 120 different ways all connected,” White said. “So the idea is not it being a typical show. It’s more of a giant hangout session and something we look forward to all year and it is such a big day. I have a couple people helping out but I’m sporadically everywhere in every corner of the building.”
White said a big shout-out goes to the V Club’s ace sound man Sam Moore, who keeps the wild slate of bands flowing through what is a 12-hour day of live music. In picking bands, White said he tries to go for bands that are really hustling and pushing themselves and other bands on the scene.
The Huntington band Waxjaw only formed up earlier this year, but they’ve already chalked up a couple tours, dozens of shows and are heading out on a seven-day run through northern Ohio, New York, New Jersey (Springsteen’s stomping grounds of Asbury Park), as well as Philly and Pittsburgh, in the week following Heck Yeah Fest.
“They have really spearheaded the DIY punk scene here and the house shows in the area,” White said. “Some of the members were in Quilt Monsters that played last year. They are kind of a Husker Du late 1980s, and have a really heavy like Dinosaur Jr. feel to them. I just love those kids. They’ve created something outside of what has become any kind of normal and I like that era that lived and died in the 1990s. It’s neat to see them digging through the catacombs of bands and finding their sound. They’re doing a lot behind the scene and I feel super fortunate to have them working with me.”
Outside on the V Club patio, which is rimmed with the many colorful murals painted by Jimbo Valentine, paying tribute to everyone from Hunter S. Thompson, and Clutch to Hank Williams III, White said he is stoked for people to check out some of the wild, weird and wonderful wares his friends have been making.
“We’ve got some really cool artists like Neva Dodrill, this is her second Heck Yeah Fest, and she will be at three of the HMAF events,” White said. “She recently became a teacher and most of her art is along the lines of jewelry. But she will find roadkill, strip it to the bone and make it into rings and things. She will have some embroidery. It’s really odd and something you’re not expecting to see there but totally Appalachia-centric.”
White said everyone brings their own flavor from the two-man Whitesburg, Kentucky, poetic thrash of Nuclear Hollercaust, to the heavy alt-country-tinged tunes of Flat Tracker and the string-punked country of Fabulous Brothers Steele.
“Something I learned from Crazy Fest in Louisville one of my main influences is to make it so eclectic that you don’t single out one crowd,” White said. “I want to have the best of the whole underground, alternative scene and all of the niches under one roof.”
If You Go
WHAT:The third annual Heck Yeah Fest
WHERE: V Club, 741 6th Ave., Huntington
WHEN: 2 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 25, until close
HOW MUCH: $15
THE SCHEDULE: 2 p.m., Pocket Socks; 3 p.m., Flat Tracker; 4 p.m., Fabulous Bros. Steele; 5 p.m., Waxjaw; 6 p.m. - Nuclear Hollercaust; Break; 8 p.m., Feverwar; 9:30 p.m., Horseburner and 11 p.m., Cavern (these set times are tentative and are subject to change or shift)
WHAT ELSE: Food and drinks from Southside Sliders and Hill Tree Roastery, as well as about 10 of the region’s weirdest and best creative artists, illustrators, painters and crafters.
CONTACT: If you’d life to be a sponsor /vendor send an inquiry to ZAWhite138@gmail.com
ON DECK @ THE V: Aug. 24, Funktafest Pre-Party #2 with Brother Smith, Black Garlic, Charlie Brown Superstar and Sin Revel; Aug. 31, Shenanagram / Grace Vonderkuhn / Friendly Fire; Sept. 1, HMAF Afterparty, Charlie Brown Superstar, Shelem, ScroungeHound and Buffalo Wabs & The Price Hill Hustle; Sept. 4, Metal legends Obituary along with Exmortus; Sept. 14, The Wonder Years / Hot Mulligan / Super Whatevr The Color and Sound; Sept. 15, Unknown Hinson and Of The Dell; Sept. 21, Laid Back Country Picker / Andrew Hibbard / Tim Lancaster; Sept. 22, Hot Wax: A Night of Motown with Charlie Brown Superstar.