Alec Neu said doing a good deed for his community isn't the only reason he and business partner Anthony Princeton organized the Hurricane City Musical Festival, but it's a big part of it.
"There's not a lot going on in Hurricane most of the time," the 19-year-old WVU sophomore said. "We're trying to bring a little more light to the community. It's something good for the town, and we also thought if we threw a festival, we could promote all of our artists on our record label."
The free festival, which runs 4 to 11 p.m. Saturday at Hurricane City Park, has performances by funk artist Thump Daddy, alt rocker Noah Gillispie, rock band Prophesy, blues duo McCracken-Kirk and hip-hop artist Phenomenon. Aside from Thump Daddy, a popular regional performer, most of the acts are newcomers who haven't played in front of substantial crowds.
"We think we've got a nice range of genres," Neu said. "It's very local. Except for Thump Daddy and Scott McCracken, who used to play in Highway Jones, it's their introduction, kind of their debut."
Neu hopes that because it’s free people will come give it a listen. He added that while the festival is small, there will still be some food vendors: Dem Two Brothers (barbecued ribs), Orange Leaf (ice cream) and a Sno Cone truck.
Neu said everything has come together very well, considering that planning for the festival only started two months ago — just a month after he got a business license and started Ph.D. Records.
"But I've been producing local performers for about three years," he noted.
Despite the producing experience, the idea of incorporating and starting a real record business is something new.
"A friend of mine [Anthony Princeton] and I used to have these breakfast meetings," Neu said. "There would be food, and we'd talk about music and marketing stuff. We had some really good conversations, and he told me we should just go ahead, get a business license, make records and start doing marketing and promotion."
Neu said that with the label’s launch, they have upgraded their recording equipment.
"It's a lot higher quality and very portable," he said. "People can come to us or we can go to them. If they want us to record on a boat, we can record on a boat — whatever."
The label has Neu’s full attention now, though his time will likely be divided in the coming months when he goes back to school. Still, he hopes Saturday’s festival will give people something to do during the slower part of the summer and maybe help get word out about his clients.
He said he has no real expectations for the event.
"For the people who just want to see Thump Daddy, he goes on stage at 8 p.m.," Neu said.
However, he hoped people might come and listen to some of the other performers, too.
Reach Bill Lynch