When the decently successful punk-hardcore scene in Charleston ceased to exist do to apathetic troublemakers around 2000-01, there was a hole that needed to be filled. Around that time, Chris Wallace started booking DIY all-ages shows at the YWCA in Huntington. Chris brought together local and regional bands of all styles of music every few weekends, and each show drew more people than the last. New bands formed and dozens of new faces were showing up at each show. Soon, other DIY promoters were doing renting out the YWCA and an entire new era of punk-hardcore in West Virginia began - almost single-handed jumpstarted by Chris.
In a short period, the YWCA played host to Hatebreed, Against Me, !!!, and a number of significant touring acts. After a while, the scene got to big for the YWCA, as had happened with the American Legion in Charleston. In 2004, Chris started a new venue - the Huntington Youth Arts and Music Project - in a large, empty warehouse. The HYAMP was run by Chris and friends, and he eventually turned over all responsibility. HYAMP closed its doors in March 2007, but in that time only made stronger what Chris created more than five years earlier.
The Queers, Strike Anywhere, Paramore, As I Lay Dying, Between the Buried and Me were just a few of the bands that played HYAMP. I was only in the area for a short time at the beginning of HYAMP's existence (my band playing one of the first shows to a large empty room), and most of the groups that played there were tough guy hardcore bands that don't appeal to me. But the photos and videos of shows at the venue still impress me knowing it was in Huntington, West Virginia, and the story behind its founding.
I want to share these select videos and photos from HYAMP shows, but I also want to praise what a powerful thing Chris Wallace created in Huntington (and others like Dana White, Matt Knight, and those I don't know who encouraged its growth and success).
Holden Caulfield, last show at HYAMP, March 2007:
As I Lay Dying:
The Starting Line:
Chris Wallace in Fall 2009 with his daughter Madeline (his best creation):