Funktafest: Bring In Da Art, Bring In Da Funk


Written by Aaron-Michael Fox.

Who’s looking to get funked up? If you are, then you’re in luck. The third annual Funktafest is coming on September 29, 2018!

Funktafest is a daylong music festival at the Ritter Park Amphitheater featuring some of the region’s top funk, groove, electronic, DJ, and jam-inspired acts. Not to mention performing/visual artists, food trucks and craft beer vendors.

*Country Boy Brewery will even be bringing a special “Funkle Sam’s Pils” American pilsner just for the festival!

20 Acts, One Day

The first Funktafest was held in October of 2016 and featured five acts and three DJs. It was attended by roughly 300 people. The 2017 installment grew to include 13 bands, three DJs, and was attended by roughly 1,000 people. The list of sponsors also grew from eight to 46.

2018 is on pace to shatter all previous standards with 20 total acts spread across three pre-parties, the festival itself, and the official afterparty. The scheduled acts include such local favorites as The M.F.B., Beggars Clan, The Settlement, Dinosaur Burps, and Charlie Brown Superstar. Headliners for the festival will be After Funk and Marbin with Opposite Box headlining the afterparty. at the V-Club.

In the beginning...

Funktafest comes from the minds of Parry Casto (aka “Funkle Sam”) and Joe Troubetaris. Casto told the Herald-Dispatch that what started as a one-off concert as part of the Ritter Live series, which is also organized by Troubetaris, has grown exponentially in three years.

“It started as an idea between members of The Settlement and Beggar’s Clan and The M.F.B. We were given that opportunity through Joe and Ritter Live to curate a day of funkier and groovier artists and after talking to Kevin Brady with the park district, he was able to give us a Saturday instead of a Sunday and so we only had a month or so to throw that first one together. We started off with eight sponsors and a few bands, and I think we had at least 300 people there throughout the day that first year. It has really snowballed from there.”

It's really snowballed...

“That second year we really ramped up planning and so our sponsorships went from eight to 46, and we went from eight artists that first year to 16. That’s not including the after-party and the three pre-parties that were partial fundraisers,” Casto said.

“It was a raging success, and it was great vibes all throughout the day and the night. From year one to year two, you could see the growth, and having someone like Freekbass really helped put us on the map.”

More than music

From noon to 5 p.m., there will be “Funk Yoga” every hour on the hour led by Joan St Clair, Naomi Ittig, Ashley Skeen, Sara Limb, and Jeannie Harrison. That will be followed by live painters and fire artists in the evening.

The festival will officially begin with Dakota Nelson and his children’s drum circle organized out of the A.D. Lewis Community Center. Zac White, of Huntington Culture Storm, will also be bringing arts and crafts vendors to set up in the parking lot alongside several food vendors. Beer will be available from Country Boy Brewery out of Lexington, KY.

“We want it to be quite a carnival in the parking lot,” Casto said. “We are hoping to pack that entire parking lot with vendors.”

All's well that ends with a raucous after-party

Just as in the two years prior, Funktafest will host an after-party at the V-Club immediately following the festival. This year they will feature the Athens, Ohio, duo Hellnaw; the Chattanooga, Tennessee-based Opposite Box; Groove Heavy; Dinosaur Burps; and DJ Charlie Brown Superstar between sets. Casto said will also be a special guest on the patio – weather permitting.

“Weather dependent – this will be one for the ages,” Casto said. “It could be one of the coolest things that has ever went down at the V.”

Early bird tickets to the festival are $10 and $15 at the gate ($20 if you also want to do the Funk Yoga). VIP tickets are $50, and include an all access pass and a “swag bag” with a t-shirt, koozie, and sticker.

For more information, or to purchase tickets, go to Funktafest.com. 

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