Summer is a glorious time for any city’s music scene, especially a booming one. The weather allows for outdoor venues to be enjoyed at their fullest capacity, fully accentuating what Columbus musicians have to offer up as a complete concert experience. Consider your weekends for the rest of the summer booked.
Below you can find six of the most captivating concerts, festivals and performances that you don't want to miss this June and July.
Columbus Arts Festival (June 8-10)
Since 1962, this nationally renowned festival has earned estimable remarks across the board. The Columbus Downtown Riverfront extravaganza brings out the finest in arts, crafts and performance from around the city, including 150 acts across six stages. Local musicians that should draw you to the Scioto Mile include Mistar Anderson’s jazz-infused hip-hop on Friday, an acoustic Americana offering by the female-fronted The Salty Caramels on Saturday and the wild rock-and-roll antics of Zoo Trippin’ on Sunday.
ComFest (June 22-24)
A Columbus summer tradition like no other, ComFest returns to Goodale Park to ignite a blissful fire under the community. Doc Robinson’s alternative folk-pop twist and Dom Deshawn’s modern approach to ‘90s-inspired rap guides you through Friday, while the soulful crooning of Parker Louis on Saturday and Souther’s raw lyricism and layered, intricate guitar melodies on Sunday will have you bookmarking your calendar.
Gnarbeque IV: A New Hope (July 7)
Reaching its fourth year, Gnarbeque has evolved from a backyard party at the corner of East 9th Avenue and Indianola into a local music festival. Put together by musicians, artists and even some neighbors who partake as both, Gnarbeque will host top local musical talents, including lighthearted punkers Tourist Trap, quirky pop rockers Miller and The Hunks and the linedrive rock ‘n’ roll of The Turbos. Along with gnarly tunes, this show will come packed with other festival entities, such as fire spinning and live art.
Summer Jam West (July 14)
Located at Westgate Park, this grassroots music and arts festival is committed to constructing a is permanent fixture—mural, sculpture, etc.—in the community along with bringing awareness to a philanthropic measure. This year’s theme blocks out the negatives and focuses on all the encouraging aspects of the Hilltop community where the festival takes place. Musical guests that will have you flocking to this fest include the soulful pop-stylings of Honey and Blue, original blues music by MoJo Theory and the throwback heartland rockers Antiøch.
Jazz & Rib Fest (July 20-22)
Packed with all the funk and feast you’ll ever need over the course of a weekend, the Bicentennial Park staple pairs the grooviest riffs with the most succulent ribs from across the country. While you're licking clean a bone or two, be sure to check out national performances by retiring contemporary jazz pioneer Ramsey Lewis, ebullient multi-instrumentalist Arturo Sandoval and the radical jazz of The JuJu Exchange. Look out for the local schedule, coming soon.
2x2 Hip-Hop Festival (July 28)
This isn’t your typical music festival. 2x2 Hip-Hop Festival stays true to its name, representing every element of rap’s roots. Breakdancing? Check. Graffitti art? You bet. Music? Of course. Now in its fourth year, 2x2 will feature local, legendary emcee Blueprint as a headlining artist, along with revered underground treasures Skyzoo, Apollo Brown and PROF and central Ohio hip-hop’s wide array of diversity on display.