Space for people of all ages
HUNTINGTON — The end of bands playing at the YWCA and the ultimate death of the beloved Huntington Youth Arts and Music Project (HYAMP) marked both the end of an era in Huntington music history and the beginning of a years long search for the music and arts community to find a place to carry out all-ages shows.
This weekend, however, brings a hopeful end to the search as Chuks has its grand opening and first show Friday, March 1, with doors opening at 7 p.m. sandwiched between Tat-Nice tattoo shop and Happy Camper at 1325 4th Ave.
Infant Island, a screamo band from Virginia, will headline with local bands Homesick and Waxjaw opening. KerryErin Coats, the local musician who realized the dream shared by many in the community, will also perform.
Chuks joins Alias14W, a community experimental art and music venue at 720 14th St. W. in Huntington, as another safe space for people of all ages to go to enjoy shows featuring local and
regional acts as well as nationally touring bands.
“It’s important for the community to have a place that isn’t bar focused,” Coats said.
Bar shows, Coats said, are not inclusive to those who cannot enter bars, such as underage kids, and those who do not want to be in or around alcohol or bars, like people in recovery.
Instead of alcohol, Chuks will offer refreshments like sugar cane sodas, ginger beers, root beers, local kombucha and waters. Eventually, Coats wants the space to have a coffee shoplike atmosphere.
In addition to music, Chuks will also operate as a pinball arcade, a personal dream of Coats. A few machines will be in the venue for the grand opening but Coats said there will eventually be six in the space.
Chuks namesake, Chuk Fowlord, was a locally famed rocker who spent time in rock, punk and metal bands including Killbot, Polish Corn Dogs, Back Stabbath and Wizards of Ghetto Mountain. Fowlord passed away at the age of 36 in October 2013. He was a close friend of Coats and at one point lived in the house behind the new venue.
“What better way to immortalize him than to have a music venue named and honored after him?” Coats said.
Coats said she has experienced an outpour of support from those in the community that has made it all possible, including the landlord, who was supportive of the decision to make the space into something other than another bar.
Coats said she is excited to be able to give back to the community in the form of a space where anyone can enjoy music and art, as well as create a place where community involvement makes it all happen.
“I really want to make it something that sticks,” she said.
Follow reporter Megan Osborne on Twitter and Facebook @megosborneHD.