Originally printed in Columbus Free Press January 2020 Issue
Planning for ComFest 2020 is underway. This is a very special year. It is the beginning of a new decade.
Many will call 2020 the year of perfect vision and hope that it will be. This is a very special year for ComFest and Columbus. This will be the 50th ComFest event (in 1973 & ‘75 there were two Festivals and in 1974 there was no Festival).
2022 will be ComFest’s 50th anniversary and should be a cause for a great celebration to start now. This is a celebration of ComFest and its long history and wonderful moments. It is also a celebration of the ongoing passing of the torch to the new generations of the volunteers and attendees that will lead ComFest into its 6th decade. But even more so, it is a celebration for Columbus and its progressive community and what we have accomplished together since ComFest in 1972.
We have seen the festival grow from a small festival at 16th & Waldeck to the dust bowl (now Victoriagate) across from the Goodale Park to finally in the Park itself. During this time, we have seen Columbus change from a conservative right-wing city to a democratic progressive one that has served as a home and sanctuary for the oppressed. We have seen ComFest’s present home in the Short North change from a rundown crime-ridden blight on Columbus’ main street adjacent to downtown to an internationally recognized arts district and tourist attraction.
Through all these changes ComFest has remained a very important and vital event that brings people together and makes them feel good about themselves and their community and working together collectively.
It has been and still is the best representation of Columbus’ rich music and arts and crafts scene. In addition, it showcases Columbus’ powerful progressive community through community organizations represented on street fair and workshops and speakers addressing the most important issues we are facing. It also serves as a map and directory for the progressive community and an important educational tool teaching self-improvement and survival skills, healing arts and more.
The festival is volunteer and locally driven and doesn’t accept corporate sponsorship. All this has established ComFest as a unique festival. There is no other like it anywhere.
ComFest is guided by its Statement of Principles and Mission Statement:
ComFest Statement of Principles
The Community Festival is guided by its Principles. The Principles are statements of what the members believe is basically important. They are:
- We think that people ought to work for the collective good of all people rather than for personal gain. We support cooperation and collective activity rather than competition and individual profit.
- The basic necessities of life are a right and not a privilege. People have the collective right to control the conditions of their lives.
- People should strive to conduct their lives in harmony with the environment.
- We recognize that there are primary attitudes which divide and oppress people. These attitudes are usually shown by prejudice against people on the basis of age, class, ability, income, race, sex and sexual preference/orientation.
- We seek to eliminate these attitudes.
The Statement of Principles is more important than any other writings of the Community Festival.
ComFest Mission Statement
The Community Festival is an independent, volunteer-organized celebration of creativity and activism in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1972, its purpose is to build bridges between progressive non-profit organizations, artists, and volunteers to raise awareness and promote action within our community. Everything we do is guided by our principles which promote community unity, tolerance, and equity.
We will strive to realize this mission through the fulfillment of the following Organizational Goals:
- Building community bridges and nurturing collaboration through safe,
peaceful, sustainable practices
- Initiating opportunities for community involvement and activism including
information and workshops at the festival, non-profit networking and
- Promoting a more unified, tolerant, and equitable community
- Showcasing and celebrating Columbus and Central Ohio artists, craftspeople,
musicians, activists and community organizations
ComFest 365 / Grants
Community Festival is a year-round organization, not just a festival for three days each year. One way we accomplish this is by supporting individuals or organizations with community-based projects through our Grants Program.
Since 2006, ComFest has awarded more than $300,000 to organizations and projects that promote the ComFest Statement of Principles. Grant funding has helped children, people with disabilities, women and families and much more. That money comes from festival goers who purchase ComFest beer and wine, shop the ComFest booth for memorabilia, and support the local vendors and craftspeople who line the famed ComFest Street Fair. For a list of some of the past recipients, visit comfest.com.
The deadline for submission is Martin Luther King Day January 20, 2020.
Musicians, poets, comics, dancers, speakers, and groups with workshop ideas should apply at comfest.com now. The deadline is February 1, 2020.
ComFest seeks workshops and speakers addressing the most vital issues of the day, the zeitgeist of the community. These might include hate and racism, domestic violence, gender inequality, income inequality, affordable health care and college education and global climate change.
Community Organizations applying for booth space in Street Fair should consider offering a workshop.
Street Fair Vendors and Community Organization Applications
These go live in February and the deadline is always April 20 (4/20).
Volunteer Sign Up
Volunteer sign ups begin online on March 1, 2020. Sign up early to get the position you want. In particular, the festival needs First Aid, Safety, and Clean Up/Recycling. These are key areas to the success and continuation of the festival. People with skills in these areas are encouraged to sign up, but experience is not necessary. Volunteers receive the official ComFest Tee Shirt sporting the 2020 logo plus tokens good for food and beverages.
ComFest operates on Volunteer Power. This is what makes ComFest the favorite festival of the summer in Columbus. It is the Community Festival.
ComFest Logo Contest
ComFest announces its 2020Logo Contest and calls all artists to enter original designs. Each year the selected logo appears on ComFest tee shirts, ComFest beer mugs, and the cover of the ComFest Program Guide and thus becomes a part of the festival’s history.
A public viewing of entries will be held on Thursday, March 12, 2020 at 7:30 PM at the Goodale Park Shelter House. This first round of voting includes the attending public. The three finalists will be reviewed at the following ComFest General Planning meeting on March 22, where a final selection will be made. Guidelines and details are found on the website, comfest.com.
Artists should always include the Hopewell Symbol in the design, along with the date of the festival, a reference to ComFest/Community Festival, and promote harmony, tolerance, and peace in its essence. Keep in mind all the important we are facing and that this is a Presidential election year. Remember: ComFest is a progressive organization dedicated to an inclusive community.
Upcoming ComFest meetings are in the Shelterhouse in Goodale Park:
ComFest General Planning Committee Meetings all at 1PM
- Sunday Jan. 12
- Sunday Feb. 16
ComFest Spirit & Purpose Committee Meetings all at 7:30PM
- Tuesday Jan. 14
- Tuesday, Jan. 28
- Tuesday, Feb. 11
- Tuesday, Feb. 25
ComFest is a great way to get involved in your community. There are lots of interesting and challenging jobs to take on. Volunteer with your friends as a group or volunteer and make new friends, ComFest is a wonderful way to give a little time back to your community and have fun doing it! To get more information about ComFest and related events visit: www.comfest.com.