MAD Flavor Fest - Through the Eyes of the Artists

MADISONVILLE, KY (5/28/13)—Madisonville’s first premier music, arts, and film festival, the Mad Flavor Fest, is coming up on Saturday, June 15th, 2013 at the Ballard Convention Center—and it’s no surprise that the inaugural event is garnering attention from communities across the tri-state region and beyond. With an ever-growing lineup of entertainment that currently includes performances by 13 local and out-of-state bands, over 15 art-based vendor booths, 11 US and internationally-produced independent films, a variety of family-friendly activities, food, refreshments such as beer and wine, and more, the festival is poised to be one of the tri-state area’s most entertaining summer events.

But what originally prompted a festival of this scale?

In the late spring of 2012, a powerful concept materialized before former Madisonville resident and The Late Circuit DJ, Mat Pentecost: to organize Madisonville’s first large-scale, collaboration-based arts and music festival that would showcase the wide swath of talent our region holds, while also supporting a positive cause (which, in this case, would become the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross).

As Pentecost explains, the idea came to him after revisiting music he had created with friends in Hopkins County. From there, he pondered upon the relatively unrecognized talent he was surrounded by throughout his youth, and he came to a realization that this underlying, albeit powerful, sense of synergy deserved a place in the public spotlight.

Soon after, Pentecost created a Facebook page that would help to gauge interest in such an event while also serving as a platform for regional collaboration among artists, musicians, filmmakers, and volunteers. The response was immediate and notable, leading Pentecost to take the first steps onto what would become a year-long path of planning, mediation, and overall event organization.

Today, just over a year later, Pentecost’s original vision is mere weeks away from becoming a tangible reality thanks to the support of the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross, a variety of volunteers and supporters, local artists, musicians, filmmakers, and many more helping hands.

And while the recently launched Mad Flavor Fest website——contains information on performers, artists, ticket prices, vendor participation, films, and much more, the Sugg Street Post has reached out to many of the people involved with the festival over the past few weeks to get their take on why the upcoming event is so important to our community, as well as why they got involved. Their respective responses are as follows. 

The Organizers
1.) Why did you decide to get involved with the festival as a volunteer?
2.) Why is a festival like this so important to our region?

Mat Pentecost
I incidentally started this thing because I was listening to a lot of old cassette tape recordings of StereoPop. I just wanted to goof off and hang out with my friends again. I was certain that I wasn't alone in that feeling. I feel that the festival is important because I don't want greater Hopkins County to lose the talent and forward-thinking visionaries that I know this region produces due to boredom and lack of positive stimuli. This happened with most of my generation. Most of us moved away. Why? What happened? Or more importantly, what didn't happen?

Seth Owen 
I decided to volunteer so I could help play a part in promoting the local art scene and businesses in the community where I grew up. Having multiple public outlets available throughout the year where artists can perform and display their talents are important, as is providing local businesses more opportunities to succeed. Growing up playing drums in a few different indie bands in Hopkins County and performing at different events was something I am grateful for having done—especially after living in a few different large metropolitan areas, I see how big of a role the arts have in our daily lives.

Whitney Drewe Wardrip 
I got involved because it is an honor that the festival benefits the Red Cross. We are thrilled to be a part of such an awesome event that is so desperately needed in our community!

Christopher Mcdonald

From as far back as I can remember, I've had a love for, and have felt a deep connection with, music and the arts. Living in this town, I've had the honor to grow up with and form friendships with some intensely talented artists and musicians. Unfortunately, as has been discussed, there are few venues and platforms in the area for these amazing minds to display their gifts. So when Mat shot this idea out, I jumped at the opportunity to help in anyway he needed me. The fact that this thing evolved into a charity event to benefit the Red Cross was the icing on the cake. I knew how huge this could be for the community both artistically and economically. I knew I didn't have nearly as much to offer as the majority of the group, and was humbled to be asked to be a part of what I see becoming the single greatest gathering of local talent seen here to date. This thing is like a dream come true.

Jessica Dockrey 
I got involved with the festival because I love collaboration on a massive scale. It's truly amazing to see what I would consider a piece of collage art, the festival, come to life. People need to appreciate the people that surround them. Being able to share your talents with your community is important to each individual as well as the area as a whole. Love where you live. It's easy if you involve yourself in what's going on around you and make yourself aware of all the reasons to appreciate all that deserves to be appreciated. Acknowledge the people that actively contribute in your life experience.

The Musicians

1.) Where do you call home and who all is a part of your band?
2.) Why did you decide to get involved with this festival?
3.) Why is music and art important to both smaller communities and society at large?

Philosopher’s Stone
We create music in the hills of Boone County, KY. The four of us live in northern Kentucky just across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. The music makers in Philosopher’s Stone are Chris Laile (bass), John Carrico (drums), Jon '8k' Divita (keys/synthesis) and me, Brad Denham (guitar/vox).

We were invited to perform at the inaugural MAD Flavor Fest via Mat Pentencost, who we have played music with in Cincinnati. Matty P has performed at many of our shows over the years and usually ends up on stage with us for live jams.

Music is an integral part of society…it is essential to completeness. Music and song are basic human functions, like the beating heart or breathing. Like birds and crickets, we all have a song. A quick search of the internet yields an interesting fact: "there is no international law that requires a country to adopt an anthem, yet currently every country has realized that this is something that is needed as part of a national identity. An anthem is used to musically express what a country—or any other group of people—stand for and what unites them.” ( Music allows us to express our fears, our pain, our wants and desires; it enlightens, elates, and transcends. Above all else, it can express our deepest love. A song can speak for the things that are not easily said. Like a needle in the groove, music imprints itself on the human heart and brain capturing the experience and moment in time, and, upon listening again, those memories and feelings are triggered and can be relived again and again. There is nothing like a great song that can magically take you back to relive your childhood.

If I had to choose between losing my sight or losing my hearing, I would choose sight. The first thing you do when you hear something beautiful or when you experience pleasure is shut your eyes.

Pat Ballard

My home is Hopkins County. The guys I’ll be playing with at the festival are Jon Gilbert (guitar), Gary Madison (bass), Clint Combs (drums), and maybe Johnny Keyz (keyboard).

When I found out about Mat and what he was putting together, and his passion and drive to showcase the talent here and regionally, I just wanted to help in any way I could. Mat has worked really hard to bring so many people together for a great cause, which is not only a benefit for the Red Cross, but also a benefit to all of us by getting so many musicians from this area at one festival.

It’s hard to articulate an answer to the last one. The benefits of the arts to all communities are just so intangible. It really gives us artsy types a little more room to breathe.


Home for Falter is right here in Hopkins County. With the exception of our drummer Bryan Thomas who resides in Hopkinsville, KY, all other members (Kevin Offutt, John Pierce, Brad Wilson, Adam O’Rear) were raised right here in Hopkins County.

We in Falter are big believers in giving back to our community, charities, and to society in general. Each year we set aside time and promotions for events such as the Mad Flavor Fest. We have done quite a few this year. Most recently, we played the Thumbs Up For What’s Wright Benefit in Nashville at the Tin Roof. We have had very much support from our fans, especially the fans right here in Hopkins County, so we were thrilled at the chance of being a part of this event for our hometown community and for the American Red Cross. It’s been some time now since we’ve been able to play a show right here at home due to scheduling issues, so being a part of this event is very exciting because allows a way to raise money for the American Red Cross while also bringing awareness to this community, which is a plentiful melting pot of talent. Whether it be musicianship or the arts, Hopkins County is rich with both.

There are so many points that I could address on the matter of music and art’s importance and role in raising of a cultured and great society. Music was a huge part of my life personally, and at no matter what point of my life, I have always acknowledged there has been an overwhelming yearning and calling in my life for music. I am following the calling now on a larger scale, but even if I wasn’t, music will always be a large part of me. To us, the biggest importance to a community and society is self expression and our rights and freedom. So many times I have heard stories of schools cutting the arts programs, and this saddens me because these programs give kids the avenue to find their true passions as artists.

JT Oglesby

I am a gypsy-spirited vagabond that embarked on a spiritual journey exploring the musical and creative aspects of the world during my teens, which continues to this day. My band consists of rounders, misfits, and other miscreants I have encountered over the years that embrace a noncompliant societal and creative view. These roustabouts frequently change, making my band an ever-shifting work-in-progress. Each unique version explores a different path unknown to the incarnations before it.

I wanted to get involved with this festival because I am proud to be a Kentuckian and I am proud to be from this area. My family has lived and died in this area for so long that there is more of my DNA in this soil than dirt. I want to do whatever I can to help promote and preserve our heritage and culture. A lot of people say it, but few truly mean it: LLKM! Long Live Kentucky Music!

Hollywood Gutterats

Home is where the rock is! The Hollywood Gutterats are Slush (lead vox and guitar), Yngwie Springsteen (guitar), Micheal Anthony Hall (bass), and Tommy Lee Greenwood (drums).

Why did we get involved? Because Slush and Mat Pentacost both like Taco Bell Chalupas!

Music and art is important because it touches everyone in one way or another. And who doesn’t like to be touched?

Technology Versus Horse

Technology Versus Horse as a band is from Bowling Green, KY. We all met while/shortly after attending WKU. We are composed of Mike Farmer (vocals), myself (Rafe Heltsley–guitar), Matt Bitner (bass), David Prater (keys), and Josh Hines (drums).

I grew up in White Plains, KY and went to high school in Madisonville (Hopkins County Central High School). When Mat Pentecost was thinking about throwing the festival, he mentioned it to me. I thought it sounded like a great idea and wanted my band to play to show our support.

Music and art are very important outlets of expression. They also help gather people together, bonding over a shared favorite band or artist or meeting up at local shows.

The Fair-Weather Kings

The Fair-Weather Kings started in Bowling Green KY and all of us still live here. Our members our Wesley Stone, Zach Barton, Jason Williams, Craig Brown, and Marcus Long

Zach and I (Wesley) grew up in Madisonville. Marcus is also from Hopkins County. So we have "roots" there, so to speak. Zach and Marcus' parents still live in Hopkins County. So, for us, getting involved with the festival was about the opportunity to be involved in an event that not only benefits the American Red Cross, but also brings art, in various forms, to a town that a few of us have called home.

Art and music are important because they are "tools" that have many uses; free to anyone that desires them.

The Artists and Vendors
1.) What's your personal info (name, age, hometown, business name and overview, etc.)?
2.) Why is your art form or craft important to you personally?
3.) Why did you decide to get involved with the MadFlavor Fest? OR Why is the festival important to our community?

MCC Humanities Division

Myself (Brooke Archila) and perhaps a few others will be setting up a booth to represent the Humanities Division at Madisonville Community College. The Humanities Division is an eclectic group of instructors who teach classes in the fields of English, history, communications, foreign languages, music, reading, art, and women's studies. We support and promote anything related to these areas on campus and in the community. The study of humanities in various forms is essential to understanding ourselves and the world around us. Through these areas of study, we express our creativity and share in the creativity of others. In our representation of our department at the festival, we want to share the many cool things we have going on in the fall and encourage involvement and support!

Bad Apple Paintwerks
My name is Patrick Harvey and I'm the owner of Bad Apple Paintwerks. I'm 38 and my hometown is Hopkins County. I create art directed towards the musically inclined.

Why is what I do important to me personally? A favorite quote of mine might sum that up: "Paint chips make me thirsty."

I decided to get involved with this festival because I live here and I want to help promote the arts in our community when I have the chance. 

HoldFast WoodCO.
My name is Cody McDowell. I’m 24 years old and live in Madisonville, KY. I’m the owner of HoldFast WoodCO. I create simple custom furniture and home decor.

Woodworking is important to me because it’s becoming a lost art, yet it’s one of the basic trades that defines us as a country and as a civilization in general. I think that using reclaimed materials and old tools to do my work is also an important part of what I do because anyone can go to Lowe’s and buy a new 2x4, but if you go to a barn and pull off a 2x4, it has character, it’s had purpose, and it’s been reliable for years and years. Taking something like that and making it into a coffee table for someone means they have a piece of history that will outlive them; it’s something that they can pass to their kids. The Mad Flavor Fest is important to the Hopkins County region, as well as all the local artists and crafts people, because maybe for that one day that we are set up, someone will buy a CD from a band that actually needs the money, and instead of getting something out of a box at Wal-Mart, they will buy something handmade and invest just a little money back into their local economy.

Elite Tattoo Lounge

My name is Aaron “Chappy” Chapman. I’m originally from Denver, CO and I own and operate Elite Tattoo Lounge (530 E. Center St., Madisonville KY 42431). We are a full service tattoo and body mod studio, specializing in all styles of tattooing from black and grey, to new school, to photorealism.

The art of tattooing is important to me for many reasons. First, it’s how I make my living, and I make a very good living doing it. It’s really about doing something that you love, but when you can make a living doing it, it is priceless. This is not my job, it is my career and my work. It is what people will know of me when I die.

I decided to get involved with the Mad Flavor Fest because I believe in Madisonville. For so long there has been a lack of focus in this area toward the arts and culture, and people here have lacked a focal point to channel their artistic talents. This town is so full of talented people it is going to burst. That is what the Mad Flavor Fest is to me: the Madisonville arts community no longer being content to stay at home, no longer being contained!

Travis Shanks
I’m Travis Shanks, 21, and my hometown is Slaughters, KY

Painting and drawing is important to me because it's a great way to express myself. At one point in my life, it helped me escape some hard times. Art gives a way for us to bring beauty into a world where beauty is rapidly thinning.

I decided to get involved with the Mad Flavor Fest so I could share my art with more people. And, hopefully, to become known in some way as a reputable artist in the community. The Mad Flavor Fest is most definitely important to our community and what we, as artists, are trying to achieve. Hopefully, this festival will open the eyes of the community to the true value of art, which is so often forgotten in modern times. Also, it's going to be a great place to meet all the people in the local area that share your passions. I cannot wait!

Poppy & Clover (Gina Boyd & Riley Jo Dever)

We are a mother/daughter team that loves to craft. We specialize in antiques, soy candles, soaps, pillows, and many other delightful offerings. We are hoping to actually open a store by summertime so that we may invite you down for a cup of tea and to browse around—or just to stop in and say hello.

We have always enjoyed art and crafting around with each other. We decided a couple of years ago to team up and begin to create things that appeal to us and hopefully to others. I love to decorate and it is fulfilling to adorn my home with things that I have created.

We decided to get involved with the Mad Flavor Fest so that we could offer some of our goods for the public to come by and see. As we work on opening our store, we are selling things out of our home. We have been asked my many people to see our things in-person, so here is an opportunity to do that. We hope many people come out and enjoy a day of music and art that is offered by local community members.

Big Biting Pig Productions

Steve Hudgins: I’m originally from Chicago, IL, but I currently live in Dawson Springs, KY.

Big Biting Pig Productions specializes in feature-length thrillers and horror films. I love telling stories, acting, directing others to get the most out of themselves and watching everything come together, so being a filmmaker is kind of a natural thing for my tastes.

I think it's great to have a festival that focuses on Madisonville and helps those in the community see what is out there that they may not be aware of.

PJ Woodside: I'm PJ Woodside, living in Madisonville, originally from Charleston, SC, married to Jude Roy of Louisiana Cajun heritage. I mostly collaborate with Steve Hudgins of Big Biting Pig Productions on movie projects, such as my latest movie which will be premiering this summer, Lucid. We also make book trailers, commercials, and music videos through PJ's Productions.

I've come to appreciate horror movies much more since we started making them several years ago. They help people release their everyday fears in a nonthreatening way. The one we're showing at the festival, Spirit Stalkers, is a combination of ghost hunter’s show and a classic haunted house movie. It will have you on the edge of your seat and jumping many times, but the characters are also interesting and believable. It's important to me to tell stories that matter to people and have some emotional resonance.

I got involved, well, because you asked me! But also, there are a lot of Madisonville locations and people in our movies, so we like to share them with the local community when possible! It's always good to see what is being made right here, right under our noses!

The Learn’d Housewife

I’m Cassie Pendergraff from the wonderful metropolis of Madvegas. I’m a 2002 MNHHS graduate and owner of The Learn’d Housewife. I enjoy crafting and trying new things. I’ve always loved fabric; I come from a long generation of quilters, so finding new ways to work with fabric is always an adventure. I decided to start making fabric button earrings. For me, it’s a fun way to keep memories. I can take scraps from pretty much anything—a baby quilt, a dress I’ve worn, my daughter’s coming home outfits—and make a pair of earrings or a necklace.

I decided to get involved with the MadFlavor Fest because I love supporting local artisans. It’s a great opportunity to see what’s out there in the community and get connected with other people who have similar interests. There are so many unique and creative people hiding in our hometown and it is events like the Mad Flavor Fest that gives them a chance to crawl out of the woodwork.

* * * * * * *

For more on the Mad Flavor Fest, including directions to the Ballard Convention Center (605 E. Arch St., Madisonville), ticket sales, admission information, vendor sign-up sheets, a full list of current performers, artists, vendors, filmmakers, and much more, visit the recently launched Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival website at the following address:

You can also find the Mad Flavor Festival’s official Facebook page by clicking here.

To read another Sugg Street Post article about the Mad Flavor Fest, which was written by Jessica Dockrey, click here. To learn more about the CINEMADIC Film Festival, click here.

All ticket sales and additional proceeds raised via the Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival will go to support the efforts of the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red CrossTo learn more about the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross, click here.

The Mad Flavor Arts & Music Festival is sponsored by the Mid-West Kentucky Chapter of the Red Cross, the Sugg Street Post, and Art Interactions

Sugg Street Post
Written by Luke Short
Photos courtesy of Jessi Smith, Jeff Harp, and Respective Mad Flavor Festival Participants


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