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Gnarbeque festival brings music, art and food to the Columbus community

A local music, arts and community festival is returning to Columbus for it’s third year this weekend.

Gnarbeque began as a house show where the alternative group Tourist Trap played together for the first time said Zach Barnes, bassist for Tourist Trap.

“We didn’t know how to get booked at an actual bar or for an actual gig because we didn’t have songs recorded,” Barnes said. “We didn’t have ways for people to hear us except for playing live.”

After inviting local acts Weird Fishes, who has since broken up, and Zoo Trippin’,  Barnes said the house party eventually grew into what is now called The Gnarbeque.

Zoo Trippin’s drummer, Steve Hatmaker, said the festival’s name came from a play on the words gnarly and barbeque.

There will be two neighboring houses each using their back decks as a stage and an area for entertainers, including fire-twirlers, professional hula-hoop performers and wall painters.

The festival will also feature an “Artist Ally” where local art can be bought and sold, said Barnes.

Grills will be located behind the “Artist Ally,” and festival goers can purchase a plate of food for $3 each.

This year’s lineup will include acts from a variety of genres, including funk, rock, blues, indie, ska and EDM.  Rappers Yogi Split, OG VERN and Tribe will also be joining the lineup this year.

Closing out Gnarbeque will be DJs Pza Prty, BBX, Obi-Wan Shinobi and Harok playing their sets on Sunday night.

In it’s beginnings in 2015, the inaugural festival included three bands and brought in between 70 and 80 people.  This year, Barnes said he is expecting hundreds of people to show up.

Though the festival started off as a house party, Barnes said it quickly became a way to give back to the community. For him, Gnarbeque is more than just music and art, and will also include a canned food drive.

Michael Larkin, better known as DJ Obi-Wan Shinobi and organizer of the festival’s DJs, said he liked the idea of a community based festival. There are a lot of EDM shows that are commercialized and it feels good to get away from that, he added.

In the event of rain, there are plans for a festival makeup on Aug. 12 said Nathan Weirich, a fourth-year in electrical and computer engineering and lead guitarist for Tourist Trap.

Barnes said he wants to move forward in the future with this festival, and said he hopes to one day have it at an actual venue.

“It’s something that I want to grow into being a Columbus staple,” he said.

Gnarbeque will be held at 96 E. 9th Ave. Doors open at noon on Saturday, July 1. Admission is free but a suggestion donation of $5 can be given at the door.

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