A crash course of every band playing at the Huntington Music and Arts Festival
HUNTINGTON — The Huntington Music and Arts Festival is well underway as its followers have already taken over the city with arts, crafts, short films and roller jams, but the real meat-and-potatoes of the festival is yet to come — the music, the main course of the weeklong shindig, will continue through Saturday at the main event in Ritter Park Amphitheater, followed by the after party at the V Club.
This year’s lineup consists 13 bands representing of a range of Americana, blues, funk and plenty of rock separated by 12 short acoustic sets from a variety of singer-songwriters. Don’t go in blind; here’s a crash course of the main bands playing Saturday at Ritter Park:
This southern Ohio group has already made their rounds around the Tri-State and shared the stage with the likes of Ona and Tyler Childers, to name a couple. This first act of the day aims to warm up the crowd with a blend of modern folk-rock and Americana sounds. Maggie hasn’t released recorded music, but don’t worry, they’re working on it in the studio.
For fans of: The Avett Brothers, The Doors, Fleet Foxes.
This is where the lineup gets a little bit rowdy pretty early. Flat Tracker consists of several familiar Huntington musicians who have been involved in several projects — Jeremy Roberts, Ryan Herndon, Jared Stephens and Nick Adkins — who come together to serve up a heavy mix of alt-country and rock ‘n’ roll.
For fans of: Drive By Truckers.
This four-piece brings the gritty Southern flair to the
festival afternoon with bluesy licks and heavy rock ‘n’ roll riffs sprinkled with a pinch of Americana for taste. Ducain released an EP, “Getaway,” in February 2017 and is currently working on a full-length album.
For fans of: Lynyrd Skynyrd, Kings of Leon, Bad Company.
This Lexington five-piece is has a busy weekend — playing two shows in Kentucky on Friday, rolling into Huntington Saturday afternoon and then going back across the border to play the Honey Festival in Kentucky later that evening. The high demand for the band should be telling of how groovy they get. Lead singer and guitar player Maggie Noelle’s voice is backed by a classic, almost retro-sounding concoction of bluesy rock and funk.
For fans of: Lake Street Drive, Widespread Panic, Jefferson Airplane.
These psychedelic blues-rockin’ youngins from Lexington will bring their groovy tunes chock-full of wavy synthy guitar and gruff vocal style. The three-piece released an EP, “Haint Blue,” in June and have already graced Huntington with their presence at Rails and Ales.
For fans of: The White Stripes, FIDLAR, King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard.
Short & Company
Jeremy Short and his band have made it to the semi-finals of the International Blues Challenge and will demonstrate why the judges why their deep southern sound took them that far, bringing plenty of soulful sound to the HMAF stage. The group released “Lost in a Spin” in March.
For fans of: Allman Brothers, Derek Trucks, Gary Clark Jr.
Following Short & Company to serve up more sweet soulful sounds is this Huntington-based spunky fivepiece, who released their EP “Shakesy” in 2017. The Dividends have played around the region at several venues including the Pullman Square Summer Concert Series and Charleston’s Live on the Levee.
For fans of: Houndmouth, Alabama Shakes.
John R. Miller and the Engine Lights
If honest, ornery backwoods music is what you seek in the lineup, look no further than this veteran act. Miller, also of Prison Book Club and The Fox Hunt recognition, has previously played HMAF in both of those acts and in acoustic sets. Miller has also performed worldwide, on NPR’s Mountain Stage, and with the Travelin’ Appalachians Review. Miller also has a new album he released Friday, Aug. 31.
For fans of: Tyler Childers, The Dead South, Old Crow Medicine Show.
This folk-rock band hailing from Louisville is coming to HMAF for the first time, but they’ve already shared the stage with HMAF regulars Qiet and Ona. They released “Consensual Wisdom” in 2015 on Bandcamp.
For fans of: Bon Iver, The Devil Makes Three, Mumford and Sons.
Don’t let the name fool you, the tunes pumped out by this circus of a band are far from a quiet sound. This rowdy band has everything from swing, trumpets, jazz, trombones, rock, violins, backup singers to miscellaneous percussion and an old fashioned microphone. Essentially, it’s a high-energy dance band with vaudevillian flair, and could cause excessive foot tapping. Wear dancing shoes.
For fans of: Cake, Gogol Bordello, Arcade Fire.
William Matheny & The Strange Constellations
Matheny is one of many HMAF veterans on the lineup and is returning once again to bring his vivid storytelling to the Ritter stage, backed by Bud Carroll, John R. Miller and Clint Sutton. The Morgantown-based, nationally traveling songwriter released “Moon Over Kenova” earlier this year, an EP to follow his debut full-length album “Strange Constellations” that was released in 2017.
For fans of: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Wilco.
This up-and-coming Huntington favorite has gained national attention since they released their debut album, “American Fiction,” in 2016. The indie rock band has appeared on NPR’s “Mountain Stage” twice and has worked with the same producer as Of Montreal, Toroy Moi and Drive By Truckers. Catch them locally now because they are hitting the road with Caamp and Tyler Childers for the next two months all over the U.S.
For fans of: Band of Horses, My Morning Jacket, Dawes.
After a few years of pre-headliner slots and headlining 2016′s HMAF after party, Rozwell Kid is taking over the headliner slot and filling it with songs about Wendy’s trash cans and sick jackets. These goofballs describe themselves as the “Whose Line is it Anyway? Fantasy Draft Champions” and like to throw their instruments around while pumping out good, honest indie rock. Head banging is suggested but not mandatory.
For fans of: Weezer, Cake, Jimmy Eat World.