When 4th & 4th launched last summer, the fest had modest aims. Local acts like Eye, Connections and Sega Genocide filled out the bill, and organizers had little expectation beyond opening up the parking lot of Seventh Son Brewing Co. in Italian Village for a laid-back, neighborhood party.
Driven by the overwhelmingly positive response — more than 1,500 people attended the inaugural event over the course of its daylong run — the festival has grown in size and scope on its second go-round, attracting on-the-rise indie acts like Chicago’s Twin Peaks, which is slated to perform at the Pitchfork Music Festival later this summer, and a smattering of killer projects spun off established acts.
“It’s almost turned into Side Project Fest, because we have a Wilco side project (Autumn Defense) and a Divine Fits side project (Operators) and a Breeders side project (R. Ring),” said 4th & 4th cofounder Bobby Miller, who conceived the event alongside Seventh Son co-owner Jen Burton. “I don’t mean this in the wrong way, but Columbus is so Columbus-centric, and there’s so much local pride, we almost feel like people started to lose sight of the big picture. There are tons of awesome, fun music festivals and parking lot parties and different things around Columbus throughout the summer that are super great, but are all local-centric. It was like, ‘Can’t we put on a festival that has that same neighborhood, community, block-party-type vibe, but have national acts come through?’”
The festival is also doubling as the launch event for Revelator, a newborn promotional company founded by Miller that he described as “an entertainment and lifestyle company” (think “Parks and Recreation’s” Entertainment 720 minus the delusions of grandeur). In the coming months, the company intends to branch out into concert promotion, beer festivals and health and wellness events like fun runs. Long-term, Miller envisions the company bringing a music festival on-par with Cincinnati’s Bunbury Music Festival to the city, possibly as early as next summer.
For now, however, Miller remains focused on 4th & 4th, and he’s particularly excited about the late-afternoon possibilities, when a handful of performers, including Wilco/Autumn Defense members John Stirratt and Pat Sansone, are scheduled to perform more intimate sets on a smaller stage erected inside the bar.
“There are a couple other surprises I don’t want to let out of the bag,” Miller said. “But it will be an interesting chance to see some renowned artists in different contexts in the same place on the same day.”