Since 1972, the Columbus Community Festival, better known as ComFest, has united the city to celebrate art, music, and activism with a free weekend-long party for “the people.” 100% non-corporate and completely volunteer-planned and operated, ComFest is about as close to Woodstock ’69 as we might get in our modern city. The infamous summer favorite returns to Goodale Park this weekend with an expected attendance of over 20,000 people for each of its three days. Here are a few of our favorite ComFest experiences & encounters you can expect over the weekend.
Music & On-Stage Entertainment
Music fills the air at ComFest, with six main stages hosting live tunes of all genres. Make sure to grab an event program and check out the hilariously accurate “Three Word Descriptions” of each act for an idea of what to expect. Only at a place like ComFest could you find bands that define themselves as “Shimmering Gloom Rock,” “Rockin Soulful Trashbilly,” and “Afrocentric World Beat” in the same place! Other on-stage attractions include workshops, spoken word readings, comedy, live dance & yoga, and more.
ComFest boasts the best people-watching in the city, bringing tens of thousands of attendees of all cultures and walks of life together. In one lap around the festival, you might spot floor-length dreadlocks and neon mohawks, scantily-clad ravers slathered in body paint, people in cosplay costumes and fetish gear, head-to-toe tie-dye families, and face-painted Juggalos – just to name a few. Take some time to look around, and don’t be afraid to let your own freak flag fly.
The Food & Drink
Foodies will find their happy place at ComFest, with endless options to indulge on. The park is lined with dozens of locally-based and visiting vendors serving everything from authentic BBQ, organic pizza, and farm-fresh sweets to vegan eats and ethnic food from around the globe. Visitors can also grab funnel cakes, lemon shake-ups, candy apples, and other “fair food.” There is truly something to satisfy all taste buds.
To wash it all down, visitors can grab a souvenir mug and fill up with domestic or craft beers, including a brand new wheat brew created just for the festival. Wine and mixed drinks are also available.
The Street Fair
Spanning the park’s pathways at the festival are hundreds of vendor and artist booths that are definitely worth browsing. Shoppers can find a plethora of crafted items like organic beauty products, hand-dipped candles & incense, jewelry, and tie-dye everything (a true ComFest tradition). Dozens of artists also host space at the event showcasing creations like blown glass, life-sized iron sculptures, paintings, and plenty more.
The spontaneous drum circles that pop up around the park at ComFest can be one of the rawest, most high-energy experiences at the festival, especially at night. There’s something primal, freeing, and communal about gathering around the hypnotic rhythms and dancing in the grass with dozens of strangers, united by one groove. Don’t hesitate to jump into one of these or just watch from the sidelines.