Downtown Abbey: After-Comfest

Abernathy Miller, Columbus Alive

It's going to take a lot more than rain to put a damper on the ComFest spirit. Though inclement weather forced festival organizers to shut down early on both Friday and Saturday, the city's local music and bar scene rallied, effectively turning ComFest into a mini SXSW. In an all-hands-on-deck effort, Little Rock Bar, Kafe Kerouac, Rumba Café and many others made sure the show went on in Columbus.

I was unsuccessfully trying to keep rain water out of my beer when I noticed everybody leaving the Offramp Stage. Mama had been tearing up the stage for an enthusiastic crowd when I left, and now everyone was walking away with long faces.

"They're closing down the fest - goddammit," a disheartened ComFester said between gulps of beer from his mug. ComFest giveth, and ComFest taketh away.

Like most people in attendance, I had planned on spending most of the night catching my favorite acts at Goodale Park - now what the hell were we going to do? But just as randomly as the first guy gave us the bad news, another guy came with the good news: "Party at Little Rock! The Girls, Bummers, maybe some other dudes!"

Just like that, the party was back on.

By the time we arrived, Little Rock was already five-deep at the bar. Even though everyone was soaked and covered in mud, you couldn't slap the smiles off their faces. On the north end of campus, a similar scene was playing out at Kafe Kerouac, Rumba Café and Bossy Grrl's Pin Up Joint. Within roughly an hour, numerous bands had new set times, and party-goers had a dry place to drink.

"I had to grab one of my bartenders who was off to help behind the bar. They had just had a pot brownie. It was absolutely crazy but it sucks to get rained out and I'm glad people accommodated the bands," Little Rock Bar owner Quinn Fallon said. "It's hard to kill the ComFest spirit."

"I think I made literally 60 phone calls in the span of an hour," said local promoter Ben Hamilton, who helped move bands to Rumba Café. "I think it speaks to how well the music scene in Columbus communicates. We all care enough."

Photos courtesy of Rick Carr, Jennifer Chastain and Anastaisa Hartlaub