A relaunched downtown Columbus summer concert series will try to gain new fans with a new day of the week and new starting time.
The JCB Summer Concert Series was started by the Columbus Area Arts Council as Neighborfest on Thursday evenings, but is now being organized by the Fun on Fourth group and the Columbus Area Visitors Center.
Kurt Schwarze with the Fourth Street Bar and Fun on Fourth explains that the series will be held on the first Fridays of the month, May through September (except) for July and will kick off earlier in the afternoon than in years past. That comes on the heels of last year’s experiment with a later start time.
“Last year, we tried to go just a little later than normal,” Schwarze said. “In the past, it had always been 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Last year, if I remember correctly, we tried to go 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. That was due to some feedback that we got that people couldn’t get home and get back there in time.
“So, we tried that and we got more negative feedback than positive feedback on that.”
“We started getting some comments that instead of going later, if we actually went earlier (people) might still be downtown, getting out of work and hang out for a little bit after work,” Schwarze said. “So, that is kind of where we are headed this coming summer to give that a try to see if that keeps some people to stay downtown and perhaps have some family members meet them down there after work and just hang out there in beautiful downtown Columbus.”
The shows this year will be from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. instead. The location will remain unchanged, in the 300 block of Washington Street in front of The Commons.
Schwarze explains that JCB wanted to continue supporting the downtown events.
“They have been the sponsor of Neighborfest for a long time,” Schwarze said. “And with some changes to Neighborfest, they wanted to still be involved with events downtown. And they reached out to us and said ‘Hey, can we make this happen in another way? And we started working with the and the Columbus Area Visitors Center to move those to Friday nights and see if we could pump some life back into them.”
There will continue to be a beer garden for the show and there will be food provided by Savory Swine, he said.
Schwarze said the said the summer concert lineup will include some local favorites.
The concert series kicks off on May 1st with The Bigger is Better Band.
“The June one is Jackson Way, which is really a regional favorite that brings out a lot of people,” Schwarze said. “We had them each of the last two years for the Neighborfest and they brought out a lot of people. We also have Flat Earth which is a regional favorite in August. And the Tiptonians, another regional favorite group which has been around for a few years, in September.”