For no good reason, on May 31st, less than 30 days out from ComFest beginning, the insurance company we use informed us that two of the bands scheduled to play the Off Ramp Stage – Unchipped and Weed Demon – can not play if ComFest wants to keep Assault & Battery coverage for the entire festival. Without this coverage, ComFest would not be able to get the necessary permits to operate at all, and would be cancelled.
This is a very serious question of whether or not a company gets to determine who performs at our festival. We know it’s only two bands – this time. But, it is likely that we will run into this again in the future. Should any company be given that much power over what this organization can do? We don’t think so.
Cancelling these bands’ performances at ComFest directly violates our Statement of Principles. As a grassroots community organization opposed to corporate abuse, letting a corporation tell us which members of our community can and cannot participate is antithetical to who we are. We acknowledge this violation because it is critically important, but posed with the choice of cancelling the festival or removing the two bands, we were forced to make a choice we are not comfortable with in order to ensure the continuation of the festival.
The people in these bands are a part of the ComFest family and Columbus community. They would never want to endanger anyone at the festival or our organization by being associated with violence.
The decisions we have been forced to make this year were made by the insurance company. This situation is unacceptable, and is not an option for us moving forward. ComFest will do everything in our power to ensure that our principles and values are upheld, and not compromised by outside interests. We will be working hard to ensure that this situation is not repeated in the future. Once we have resolved these issues with companies we contract, we have every intention to bring both of these bands back as soon as possible.