Front Row: Columbus’ Comfest

Debauched and Depraved

By Benjamin Dale
June 24, 2011

Photo courtesy of Steven Hronek

Photo courtesy of Steven Hronek

When the sun is highest in the sky in the summer, the ancient ritual of solstice lechery is still celebrated by the lascivious patrons of Columbus’ Comfest. Comfest, or Community Festival, has very few redeeming qualities. The music, restricted to local jam bands who take three-minute Grateful Dead songs and turn them into 18-minute drones, leaves something to be desired — namely originality. If people aren’t coming for the music, then what is it? It seems human beings have an insatiable desire to pack on top of one another in hordes. Wherever there are people gathering, you can guarantee more people will gather. It’s the herd instinct. There was beer, but I first had to navigate the line.  Comfest sells tokens for their beer and by the time I was swindled by their shell game, I’d paid $11 for 32 ounces of Labatt Blue. Eleven dollars for beer made by Canadians.  With my wallet  lighter, I turned around to see droves of alt-bro hipsters and post-hippie young professionals swarming in the muddy grass, looking vaguely confused as to why they were there; why they are anywhere.  Time to find some shade.  Under the trees I found an impromptu gathering of Juggalos and was forced to move after they started spraying Faygo all over everyone.  After finishing my beer and slithering through throngs of bare-breasted women, I’d had enough. Walking back up High Street toward my car, I witnessed a man being brutally beaten by three other men. He was trying to defend himself with a pair of boots. I closed my eyes and thought “there’s no place like home, there’s no place like home,” and before I knew it, I was back on the gritty streets of Dayton, where I could breathe again.


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