One poster for metal/punk festival Dude Locker IV sums it up simply: A Venn diagram locates the fest in the overlap between music, beer and dudes.
It’s a foolproof formula, but it wasn’t being tapped effectively when Joel Archibald and Jesse Bartz founded the warehouse bash in 2009.
“We wanted to have a party that embraced everything that we like about playing shows and have our friends there with it,” Bartz said. “Instead of waiting around for other people to do it, we did it.”
Archibald and Bartz were active in the creative community known as the Lemon House Collective. They put on a series of big rock shows including the daylong blowout LHC Fest in 2005. That was over by 2008, when Archibald rented space for a woodshop and band rehearsals in Todd Gentry’s 11,000-square-foot campus warehouse.
One day Bartz’s Lo-Pan bandmate Skot Thompson wandered into Archibald’s woodshop, noticed the power tools and punching bag and asked, “What is this, some kind of dude locker?” The name stuck.
Soon the friends conceived another festival to be held in the warehouse’s main room and parking lot — half Columbus bands, half regional acts that usually got stuck playing late-night bar shows. Donations at the door financed the traveling bands. Overhead was minimal.
“That’s pretty much what it’s about,” Archibald said. “You don’t have to rely on anything other than you and your own friends making your own fun.”
Three years later, Dude Locker is among the best heavy music showcases statewide. 2012’s installment features a skate park, a record swap and the OH! Burger truck. Drinks are BYOB. A new band begins every half hour.
“Anybody can show up any time of the day,” Archibald said, “and they’re going to walk right into a sweet band playing.”
Photo by Jodi Miller