Around The Region: Heck Yeah Fest by EDWIN CALLIHAN

Get a real job! An all too familiar statement the starving artist and musician has certainly heard, especially in our lovely tristate area. Some of us are not cut out for the long shifts, the heavy machinery, and the physically demanding work of the typical trade work and some of us can do both!
Regardless of the day job, art isn't exactly about paying the bills— obviously— and although there are a couple of art galleries for the realms of more fine art, our area still struggles to accommodate a community of underground artists that strive to find common audience to appreciate their work. Still, there is hope for the eclectic myriad outsider art and it’s it the wild and wonderful West Virginia!

Huntington's Heck Yeah Fest, which took place Saturday, October 5th from 4 pm - 3 am, offers a platform for artists and musicians around the tri-state to join together as a community while supporting each other and their passions. Heck Yeah’s creator, organizer, and artist himself, Zac White, 33 of Huntington, assures us that in the festivals fourth year that he has no intent on stopping now.

"We've actually increased in attendance by twenty-five percent," White stated over a conversation about the impact Heck Yeah Fest has had on the community.

Luckily, I had the chance to sit down with Zac for what was intended to be a brief interview but eventually turned into a lengthy discussion about being an artist and what drives him to pursue his passions, even without the promise of financial stability. Heck Yeah Fest accomplishes something that is necessary for a community to thrive and that is unity.

Among the many vendors, artists, musicians, and the general public that gathered was a positive environment of support. Zac started out with what he explained as sharpie doodles and graffiti and developed into organizing small events with just a DJ. Early on he realized that his demographic was not well represented which lead him to organize larger events.

The V Club served as a perfect venue for such an event, especially on a cool, autumn night. After sunset, the club quickly became packed with people enjoying themselves browsing the local artist booths while being provided with a fully stocked bar, outside lounge, and a stage that hosted some excellent musical acts ranging from punk rock, thrash, and even hip-hop. The diverse attendance proved this event should be marked on next year's calendar and the years that follow!

The art we are talking about is not your typical illustrious oil paintings of flowers and pretty landscapes that some might conceive as art. No, these artists are gifted with crafting more obscure visions of phantasmagoric proportions including wizards, demons, and superheroes that inundate our pop culture. Various mediums could be found among the multitude of artists including photography, paintings, and even local comic publications! Could this art be a reflection of the society we live in? I’ll refrain from commenting on the socio-political climate of what drives the artist, but White insists that the mystery of underground art is what makes it so captivating.

Zac informed me that if everything works as well as it has in previous years that he hopes to see Heck Yeah Fest host larger touring acts and an even larger attendance. “As things grow I would eventually like add headliners, like regional and national headliners,” Zac said. The future foresees some excellent things coming from Zac White and Heck Yeah Fest, so keep your eyes open!
Be sure to check out Zac White’s awesome art which can be found on Instagram

 Also, be sure to follow the event on facebook:
Edwin Callihan serves as Regional Entertainment Editor for Carter County Post(.com)