Thousands of body art enthusiasts will descend upon the Columbus Hyatt Regency Friday through Sunday for the annual Hell City Tattoo Festival.
Hell City features tattooing, tattoo competitions, painting exhibitions and entertainment such as live bands and aerial acrobatics. However, the main event is the gathering of more 200 top-notch tattoo artists from around the world.
“We want people to experience tattooing that they can’t normally experience in their hometowns and bringing them a different experience,” said Durb Morrison, Hell City owner and organizer who also owns RedTree Tattoo Gallery. “Mainly Hell City has tattooers from around the world that you can’t normally get tattooed by that are award-winning, they’re in all the magazines and the television shows, and we do have a variety of local studios.”
Local artists see the festival as a way to showcase their work for a worldwide audience as well as a way to stimulate local businesses.
“It is one of the premiere tattoo festivals in the world and it brings some of the top artists not only to the city but also regionally, and the country and the entire world in the town,” said Joey Knuckles, owner of High Street Tattoo, Body Language Tattoo and Sacred Hand Tattoo who will be attending the festival. “It brings thousands of people into town, it helps every local business, restaurants, bars night clubs, everyone does better during something like that.”
After building up a steady audience over its 16 years, this is anticipated to be Hell City’s biggest convention yet.
“This year is going to be our largest festival because we have expanded into a third ballroom,” Morrison said. “So with this year we have 140 booths, each booth has around two to three tattoo artists and so we have well over 200 tattoo artists maybe around 250. Over the weekend we get around 6,000 to 8,000 people.”
Morrison also wants people to know that despite the more adult aspects of the festival, it truly is an event for the whole family to enjoy.
“We have music, we have art, we have entertainment, so you get a variety of experience. Hell City has a warm, kind of jovial atmosphere to it. It’s very friendly, inviting,” he said.
Hell City Tattoo Festival will take place from Friday through Sunday at the Columbus Hyatt Regency Hotel, 350 N. High St. Tickets start at $25 plus fees for a one-day pass and can be purchased online or at the door.