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Music fest highlights Columbus’ best

Columbus has a thriving underground arts scene, which is lush with bands and filmmakers from virtually every genre competing to get their time in the sun.

The Ohio Film + Music Festival, a four-day event set to run from Thursday to Sunday, will give local artists that chance to shine.

“The festival is to showcase the diverse array of creative talent Ohio has produced through the years,” said Eric Mahoney, co-founder of the Ohio Film + Music Festival. “There will be a lot of new and a lot of old stuff going on.”

The festival will feature a wide range of music and film from various artists such as filmmaker Jim Jarmusch and bands such as Blueprint, Heartless Bastards and New Bomb Turks.

There will be 12 different musicians performing at Skully’s Music Diner and The Summit, and 13 different films will be showing in the Arena Grand Theatre.

Todd Volkmer, a director who will be showcasing his short film in the festival, is excited for the event.

“I have always wanted to get ramped up and have a festival like this one,” Volkmer said. “I am a big believer in creating destinations and I feel that a lot of people forget that the films and art they see in New York and places usually come from the Midwest.”

According to the festival’s website, his 30-minute film, “Outside In, The Life and Art of Alfred McMoore,” began as a self-funded project with his production partner Erin Ludlam. They were doing research for the show “Arts Quest” and decided to do a short feature story on McMoore, who was an Akron artist. As the story grew to be more intricate, the film took on a life of its own.

“As an independent filmmaker, we usually work with an extremely low budget so the free exposure is great,” Volkmer said. “This is primarily what I do. It’s opened a lot of doors for me.”

Mahoney said the goal of the event is to educate people about local artists.

“The goal ultimately is to position all these great artists in a way to display their talents,” Mahoney said. “They are in our own backyards and we don’t even know it.”

Mahoney’s film, “North Dixie Drive,” which will also be showing at the Ohio Film + Music Festival, has played at the New Filmmakers Festival in New York and is distributed by Dark Hollow Films.

“My background is in music. I’ve met a ton of musicians, filmmakers and solid artists that have come out of Ohio,” Mahoney said. “Since Ohio is not necessarily known for art, we really want to spotlight the good crop of people doing a lot of really good work.”

The Main Street Gospel, who will be performing at the Ohio Film + Music Festival, is a Columbus-based band that plays a mix of classic rock, country and blues.

“The festival is putting a lot of really good bands together and will be a good thing for Ohio,” said Christian Pierce, the drummer of Main Street Gospel. “It just sounds like a great thing.”

The band has an 11-track album, “Love Will Have Her Revenge,” through Tee Pee Records.

Pierce said he and the rest of his band mates of Main Street Gospel are thrilled to be a part of an event with other great talent.

“It is just a good feeling to be appreciated and be a part of something that is and could be a big deal,” Pierce said.

Although it was a lot more work than founders Mahoney and Scott Johnson anticipated, for the future they would love to turn the Ohio Film + Music Festival into an annual event.

“We would love to see it grow in the future and become a huge event that features big acts,” Mahoney said.

Some students said they were interested in attending.

“I don’t really know much about the festival but I saw that the Buffalo Killers and Nick Tolford and Company were playing at the Summit, so I bought tickets immediately,” said Jonathan Giacalone, a forth-year in evolutionary biology.

The tickets to each of the films and three nightly concerts are sold separately through Brown Paper Tickets, at www.brownpaperticket.com.

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