Insider's Guide to Independents' Day Festival

Full disclosure: I have been a huge fan of this festival since it started and was honored when The Lonely Bones were chosen to perform and was happy to oblige when Watershed was asked for their only Columbus appearance a couple years back. What makes it so special? Hell, I can't define that. You will know it when you see it, so please make plans to attend the weekend September 19-21.  Click here for full schedule.

 In the meantime, let's get the straight dope from the Indy Day braintrust.

1) Obviously, the big question would be after all the success Independents' Day enjoyed downtown, why the move to Franklinton?

Adam Brouillette, Independents' Day Board Chair + Independents' Day Co-Founder: We moved to Franklinton for greater opportunity. We had largely outgrown our downtown location and in a search for our new home, we found Franklinton well-suited to the ethos the festival tries to adhere to. The partner neighbors, the ample space, and the diminished logistical issues have been beneficial to the growth of the festival. Now, as the neighborhood grows, we can grow with it. 

Michael S. Brown, Independents' Day Board Member + Co-Founder: Gay Street has seen incredible growth over the past seven years and we love it, but we also saw that there is some very real creative energy building in Franklinton, and that makes for a very attractive canvas.  Standing down near 400 W. Rich just begs the question, what next?  We think that the more people see it filled with life and art, the more they will love it and find ways to integrate that creative energy into whatever it is they are doing. 


2) Were you involved with this festival from the start? How did it begin?

Erin Corrigan, Independents' Day Board Member: I was lucky enough to be involved more or less from the beginning. The first Independents' Day was put together in an extremely short time-frame, so there was some very direct outreach to determine who could do what and how fast. I was the service chair for Cap Square Rotary at the time, so I was able to commit the club to providing some volunteers, and then worked on coordinating the rest with help from CYP (Columbus Young Professionals), other groups, and friends. We started with a few dozen volunteers, and now we recruit more than 300!

***it's not too late to volunteer! free T-shirt and beer tokens! Click here to sign up!

Brown: The summer before the first Independents’s Day there was a great crew of creative people who kept intercepting at events and festivals, we all felt there was an energy that needed to be tapped and that wasn’t getting showcased enough at other fests.  We knew we could get beer and bands together, but we believed the creative community is a lot bigger than that, so we tried to build the festival around that ethos.  This was also a time when downtown was just starting to show signs of a come-back, Gay Street was an open canvas that we felt we could fill in with fun and music.  It worked and we not only enjoyed each year more than the last, we built a community of organizers and volunteers who may not have every really worked together if not for ID.

3) It seems that Independents' Day is always a cut above other festivals as for quality of live music, what is your secret?

James Allison, 2014 Music Chair: We have about 20 people involved on the music committee that cover a range of tastes, eras, scenes, and genres who get an equal say in what gets booked for the festival. I think the greatest strength of the music line up at Independents' Day is its diversity. On top of that, we also try and focus on unique and rare experiences. We always dream big at the start of the booking process with reunions, collaborations, etc. We'll never gawk at a suggestion and always explore the possibilities. I think everyone's usually surprised by how many of them actually work out.

4) If someone was planning to attend this year, give me a couple can't miss options food, music or otherwise?

Corrigan: In addition to all the usual festivities, there are some really amazing things we've never tried before, including:

• Pinata Thunderdome 

We've recruited local artists to craft special works of piñata art just for us.

• Shipping Container Park

We've challenged a group of vendors to turn shipping containers into retail stores, art galleries, food concepts and alternative spaces for the weekend.

• Battle of the Pig

At 5 p.m. on Saturday, two of the city's best-known chefs will battle it out, preparing a series of pork-centric dishes for our panel of judges, and only one will be named King of the Pig! 

• PBR Skate Ramp

Our friends at Pabst Blue Ribbon and Abnormal Allies will be building and skating a PBR themed skate ramp all day. Stop by to check out riders on half pipes and fun boxes doing wall rides, grinds, and flips.

• Mini Moss Terrariums

This free of charge feature will provide you with the sand, soil, stones, moss, bark & a tiny glass container you need to make your very own terrarium.

• Urban Mini-Golf 

Scenesters may remember the A-Holes (art holes) mini-golf from a few years ago... well, it's back! Each of the nine holes was designed by a local group of artists to create a one-of-a-kind mini-golf experience.

In addition, we'll have some 30-foot visual pieces that will really bring a new dimension to the festival.

And last but certainly not least, James' music picks: sets by J Rawls and his stream of proteges; Happy Chichester, who's taking a break from his string of solo sets to perform with a drummer; and The Floorwalkers with Jared Mahone. All three of those sets are going to feature unique collaborations with different artists that you probably won't see again, or at least for a long time.