Funktafest prepping for epic fourth annual daylong fest
HUNTINGTON — As Earth Wind and Fire asked so well in their hit song, “Do you remember the 21st night of September?”
Huntington festival organizers Parry Casto and Joe Troubetaris sure hope so because once again they are teaming up to use a sweet flow of music to change the minds of pretenders and chase the clouds way.
For the fourth year, the dynamic duo is teaming up with a host of sponsors to present Funktafest that will roll 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21, at Ritter Park Amphitheater with an all-you-can-groove music festival that features some of the top funk, jam, reggae and other groove-related musicians.
Confirmed acts include such headliners as Tropidelic (Cleveland), Funk You (Georgia), Opposite Box (Chattanooga), Joslyn & The Sweet Compression (Lexington, Kentucky), Short and Company (Morehead, Kentucky) and a host of the Mountain State’s grooviest touring bands including The M.F.B., The Settlement, Black Garlic, The Tangled Roots and The Dividends.
In between sets will be DJ performances by DJ Charlie Brown Superstar - who has played every Funktafest, DJ Tim Hoover, DJ Caveman, Pyradigm and Tripster. There will also be a full slate of regional arts and crafts, food and craft beer vendors.
Advance early bird tickets for the full day show are on sale now through July 1 for $15 online (www.funktafest.com) as well as brick and mortar locations including: Razor and Shear, Summit Beer Station, Taps at Heritage, Buddy’s BBQ, Black Sheep Burrito and Brews, Bahnhof WVrsthaus and Biergarten, Honey Bones and The V Club.
Admission will be $20 day of the show and admission is free for children 12 and under.
Casto said they’re super stoked at the lineup for Funktafest which will be headlined by Tropidelic.
“Tropidelic has an amazing following. They are really blowing up right now,” said Casto, whose band The M.F.B. opened up for them at one of the Clay Center SoundCheck Series. “They have a great energy. They’re six young guys, they’re hungry and they’re out there living it. It’s a reggae vibe with a little bit of hip hop and a little acoustic. It’s kind of all thrown in there.”
Casto and Troubetaris said no matter what the genre, the thread that runs through all the acts is how they get a groove on.
“Our bottom line is that if it has a groove, you are on our radar,” Casto said. “Like Kind Thieves are on the after party and they are bluegrass but they groove. They groove hard with that festy-vibe and that is what we are going for.”
Casto said they’ve tried to dial up a bunch of regionally based bands that are really out there grooving and grinding to make incredible music and reach more people. He said a good case in point is Colten Settle’s band The Settlement, which is chalking up nearly 40 dates this summer.”
“The Settlement has been ripping it,” Casto said. “They are really starting to come into their own. They have released a couple singles recently that are fantastic. I’m real excited for this next chapter of The Settlement. And Colten is really starting to self actualize and see the big picture of it all. I think he is really coming into his vision for it.”
Off the stage and to carry on that festival vibe, Funktafest, which introduced Funk Yoga last year, is increasing the activities during the day-long family-friendly fest. Brett Fuller (aka DJ Charlie Brown Superstar) coined the term “Funktivities.”
“Funktivities are just demos or workshops that we will have from area artisans and professionals,” Casto said. “A presentation on something. We have someone interested in talking about coffee roasting session, and maybe homebrewing and have a bunch of people from diverse areas doing workshops in 30-minute blocks so when you walk in you get a little handbill that has all the Funktivities and the Funk Yoga and then the other side the lineup.”
Casto said they’re trying to think of new ways to engage the community to come out and celebrate creativity.
“Last year we made the yoga $10 but this year it is just part of the admission price,” Casto said. “We are really trying to jam pack it. You can’t spell Funktafest without fun.”
Since parking is always a premium up at Ritter Park, Troubetaris said he and Casto have been working with Joe Murphy to think of ways to improve the young fest and decided to pull almost all of the vendors from the parking lot and put them back into the amphitheater.
“We are taking them out of the parking lot and putting them into the festival,” Troubetaris said.
They are turning that parking lot into VIP parking. Parking will also be open along the road that runs around the amphitheater as well.
“Parking up at the park is tough so that really opens it up and it gives the vendors more foot traffic inside the festival and everything is right there,” Casto said.
Casto and Troubetaris started the festival four years ago as a final concert for the Ritter Live concert series, a free, donations-based series that Troubetaris started as an extension of his house-show concert series, the Porch Unplugged.
Both love the location of the amphitheater that is rimmed in the hills of Ritter Park, which has been recognized before as one of the Top 10 public spaces in the U.S.
“Ritter Park amphitheater is one of the crown jewels of Huntington that is beautiful and is under used,” Casto said. “The only thing that uses it to its vision is the theater (HART in the Park) and they do a fantastic job. For us to be able to hold a one-day event there to this scale is fantastic. It blows me away all of the support we get from all of these different businesses and bands.”
Troubetaris said it is incredible to see what has developed in the past few years with the music scene in Huntington as more and more bands are touring not only regionally but some now nationally. He and Casto said they hope they can play a small part in helping bands and fans connect.
“I remember you wrote an article with me years ago about Porch Unplugged and I said Huntington’s music scene is going to take off in the next five to 10 years and Huntington is going to be the next Athens, Ga., the next music scene is going to be right here in Appalachia,” Troubetaris said. “We have so much diversity, everyone is playing original music that is unique and good.”
WHAT: The fourth annual Funktafest with 145 different acts from all over the Eastern United States. There will also be live visual arts, fire & flow artists, craft & food vendors as well as a full slate of Funktivities including funk yoga and many other workshops
WHERE: Ritter Park Amphitheater
WHEN: 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 21
CONNECT:Go online at www.funktafest.com
VOLUNTEER: Attention all interested volunteers or street team members! If you can commit to working at shift at Funktafest 2019, sell Funktafest 2019 tickets or VIP passes, and/or hang posters or deliver handbills, you can earn one or more VIP PASSES to Funktafest 2019. For more information, visit http://www.funktafest.com or email email@example.com.
SPONSORS: There’s a wide range of sponsorships from $10,000 to $200. Get in touch with Parry Casto and Joe Troubetaris to join their list of sponsors for the Funktafest.
VENDORS: All vendors will set up inside of the amphitheater this year! That means increased foot traffic and interest! Early bird pricing for both craft/artisan and food/beverage vendors is available through July 1. Visit http://www.funktafest.com/vendors for more information on applying for a vending spot. They will be issued on first pay, first serve and when the spots run out, they will be gone.
FUNKTIVITIES: Funktivities are activities, workshops, and demonstrations offered by community members who have experience, talents, or expertise in specialized areas. For more information on applying to host a 30-min Funktivity at Funktafest 2019, visit http://www.funktafest.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
PRE-PARTY: The Funktafest 2019 Pre-Party is Aug. 24 at The V Club, 741 6th Ave., Huntington, with Beggars Clan, Black Garlic, The Kind Thieves, The M.F.B. and The Settlement. Patio DJ performances (weather permitting) with DJ Charlie Brown Superstar and DJ Tim Hoover. Purchase a Funktafest 2019 VIP Pass and get in to this event for free. Show is 18 and up. Cover is $15 day of show.