It's Coachella in Columbus

Bobby Couch is used to being behind the scenes. He curates experiences like the Black Fashion Expo, and assists with events like New York Fashion Week. He was even found in the Alive photo studio, styling rapper Kashis Keyz, one of our 2019 Bands to Watch.

But on Friday, June 7, Couch will be front and center at BOBCHELLA, an art and music festival at the Urban Oasis Community Events Center in Linden. He created the event to celebrate his birthday.

“It started off as just something very small-scale,” Couch said in a recent interview at Art of Republic, an arts and event space where he is creative director. But considering his talented and accomplished circle of friends, he decided to think bigger.

“Why not make it Coachella in Columbus?” he said.

At the BYOB event, attendees can expect festival decor, finger food, hookahs and installations, including a “Pop the Trunk” initiative.

“It is a setup with vintage hatchback cars,” Couch explained. “And vendors will be selling merchandise out of the back of those vehicles.”

There will also be performances by acts like Keyz, a headliner, and Couch himself.

“I think that I limit myself with the word fashion,” Couch said. “I used to sing in elementary, middle school and high school. And I've always had a passion for music. So BOBCHELLA will show a different layer of me as an artist.”

Couch also hopes the festival will serve as a catalyst for building a scene where the black LGBTQ community can feel centered and safe.

“It's a celebration of creative culture,” he said. “I don't think that we necessarily have a large platform for that, especially for black gay creatives. … So by creating a lane like this and doing what I do, I think that'll be really cool to figure out what that looks like.”

Those familiar with Couch's events have gotten to know his alter ego, BOBONCÉ.

“[It] allows me to be a superhero and fierce,” he said. “It's almost like a sense of courage and embracing your inner Beyoncé.”

At BOBCHELLA, though, people will see a marriage of the over-the-top persona and the real Couch coming into their own.

“It could come off as, ‘Who does he think he is, having a party all about him?'” he said. “[But] it's kind of like, ‘Who do I think I'm not?'”