Writer: Emma Steele.
Those who aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the summer music festival season are in luck—the tenth and final Independents’ Day Festival will take place at West Bank Park in Franklinton on Sep. 16 and 17.
Founded in 2007, the festival began as a way to promote Columbus and the city’s many independent cultures. It has since evolved into a celebration of all things music, arts and the creative spirit.
“Since the beginning of Independents’ Day, Columbus has grown through many significant changes,” said festival co-founder Adam Brouillette in a press release. “We initially set out to show a city that had challenges celebrating itself that there was so much reason to do so.”
Despite being its final year, the festival is far from losing steam.
“Our tenth anniversary Independents' Day Festival represents the culmination of a decade of celebrating independent culture in Columbus,” said 2017 festival captain Shelley Mann in a press release.
Three stages on Saturday and Sunday will feature over 60 local and national acts including Soul Position, Company of Thieves, the Zoo Trippin’ Family Circus and Mistar Anderson.
“Each year the festival lineup is curated by our Music Team, a collection of some of the best performers, producers and artists operating in the city,” said festival Board Member and Marketing Lieutenant Patrick Locy. “As this year is our tenth and final festival we did invite some festival favorites back for one more show, but with the understanding that whatever they bring to the stage has to be a special, one-of-a-kind performance—we're expecting some truly unique things to hit the stage.”
Local jazz and hip-hop ensemble Mistar Anderson is one of the new acts this year, although the group isn’t total strangers to the festival.
“The past two years we played an after party [for the festival] and our emcee, Eric Rollin, played in the first or second Independents’ Day Festival in the late hip-hop group the L.E.S. Crew,” said drummer Andre Walker.
The group’s background ensemble typically features a guitarist, trombonist and saxophonist, but Walker says they are pulling out all the stops for the festival this year.
“We will be joined by three additional saxophones, three trumpets, one trombone, a tuba, turntable and aux percussion,” Walker said. “We're really excited to be joined by such a large band [and] we'll also be adding a couple of tribute songs dedicated to the late Prodigy of Mobb Deep and Columbus legend Nes Wordz.”
However, because of the festival’s initial mission to promote local culture, there will be much more than just music.
“Music has always been a large focus for the festival, but there's truly so, so much more,” Locy said. “We'll also feature almost 100 vendors, ranging from printmakers and comic book artists to handmade crafts.”
Festival goers will also be able to enjoy a wide variety of food and drink.
“Our local beer area will be a festival within a festival, rivaling the city's top craft beer events, and our food offerings will reflect the best of the best in the city's culinary scene,” Mann said.
With all that the Independents’ Day Festival offers, the decision to end its decade-long run after this year was far from an easy one, but Brouillette believes that the festival’s initial goal has been fulfilled—Columbus has come alive with support for and celebration of music, food, creativity and the arts.
“[These] celebrations now happen daily,” Brouillette said. “We found it collectively important to ask ourselves how best to continue creating unique opportunities and experiences. We’re excited to focus our attention on creating new ways to share special experiences with our communities.”
Performances are scheduled to run from noon to midnight on Saturday and noon to 9 p.m. on Sunday. The festival is free and open to the public. For more information, visit thisisindependent.com.