What’s New at the Columbus Arts Fest
By Nick Dekker

What’s New at the Columbus Arts Fest

The weekend of the Columbus Arts Festival is a fan favorite each year. It’s an exhilarating weekend of getting to be in the midst of the hundreds of exhibiting artists, live music stages, family activities, and busy food trucks. Here’s what is new this year at the Columbus Arts Fest!

The Festival is growing and changing every year, from new artists to new musicians, adjustments to the layout, and other details. Half the fun is seeing how it grows and adapts; recent years have been particularly fun with the renovation of the downtown Columbus riverfront, how featuring parks and bike paths and public art.

1. The largest stage of the Festival, the ABC6 Bicentennial Park Stage, will host two national headlining acts: Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox on Friday, June 8 and G. Love & Special on Saturday, June 9. You’ve probably seen some of Postmodern Jukebox on YouTube, where Bradlee and his team rework pop songs into vintage musical styles. And G. Love? Well, if you grew up in the 90s, you’re familiar with his blues work.

2. The renovated riverfront in front of COSI has created some excellent views of the Columbus skyline. So this year there’s a new music venue, the Genoa Park Music Stage, situated next to the river. Guests watching a show also get a view of the city and the bridges lined with artists’ tents.

3. As a parent, I’m always looking for the kids’ angle, and the Hands-On Activities Village is a must. There are local arts organizations hosting all sorts of engaging activities for the kids, plus a children’s gallery (parents aren’t allowed!) where kids can buy $5 pieces of art donated by the Festival artists. Plus, there’s a children’s theatre company performing throughout the weekend, and the village has shaded seating and is close to food vendors. This year the village has shifted westward so it’s next to COSI’s new park, giving kids even more to do!

4. Craft beer! There are have always been adult beverages at the Festival, but new this year is a Local Craft Beer Garden on the west side of the river (close to music stages and food trucks!). It’ll feature brews from BrewDog, Columbus Brewing Company, Four String Brewing Company and Seventh Son Brewing.

5. I’m a sucker for a good T-shirt. This year there are also kid’s T-shirts featuring the Art Shark, the festival mascot, designed by students from Columbus College of Art & Design. You can also find the regular souvenir Festival shirt printed by Tonic Studios in Columbus, and a limited edition vintage Festival shirt created by Homage and featuring the awesome 1992 Festival logo.

The Columbus Arts Festival is June 8-10 on the downtown riverfront! Check out ColumbusArtsFestival.org or download the free app to help you navigate the Festival. The app lets you search for artists, look up food vendors and menus, browse stage schedules, and find your way to restrooms, drinks, and everything you need. 

For more travel inspiration, Find It Here at Ohio.org

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