Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I'm so proud, Comfest

For you out-of-towners, Comfest (short for the Community Festival) is a Hippy-meets-Hipster gathering held in a small park in the Short North District of Columbus. In a nutshell, it is back-to-back bands, tents with political activism next to skirt-and-jewelry tents, food, and a Big-Gulp-sized beer in a souvenir mug displaying the Comfest logo winner (which always seems to resemble the last year's design, but not exactly...)

Good times, indeed.

According to their website, the festival has been in existence since 1972. But everyone I know started going in the early nineties. You could count on Mary Adam 12 being the headliner and you could easily meet up with people by saying "we'll be near that one tree by the road near the mainstage." In 2000, I was able to play Frisbee with some friends.

Not any more. And while my aging, curmudgeonly side finds this problematic (parking nightmares, long food lines, and a growing intolerance for drunken unpredictability), the young-at-heart optimist in me is thrilled (more bands, more food, growing mix of people co-existing peacefully.)

Every year it has gotten more and more populated, the festival literally bursting its borders and into downtown Columbus. But when I saw that the formerly modest "I Wish You Jazz" tent had been upgraded to a full-fledged stage at the corner of Goodale and Park, and the crowd ahead was officially a sea of heads, I thought how cool it was to be witnessing something grow, instead of lamenting a decline.

I did manage to find my friends, but not without significant cell-phone navigation. If you are interested in seeing photos of the bands, my friend Eric is posting his at (and managed to serve on the 12-2 AM clean-up crew... his energy and enthusiasm is unmatched, especially since he turned 40 last year and my turning 40 this year was my excuse for leaving at 8:30 one night...)

I do regret not getting a Comfest mug. Eric had just exited the line when I met up with him and I didn't want to wait. So if someone's got an extra they're willing to part with, I'd be willing to buy someone a Northstar chicken basil burrito in exchange.

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