Fashion and music are set to mesh together in festival form this summer.
The first Fashion Meets Music Festival is slated to take place at several venues across Columbus’ Arena District Aug. 29-31.
The festival is scheduled to showcase 250 musical acts on seven indoor and outdoor stages, in addition to two fashion stages, an urban campground and a “fashion and music marketplace,” according to a February press release.
Bret Adams, Columbus-based lawyer, sports/entertainment agent and the festival’s co-founder, said the idea originated in 2013 while he was on a tour bus with New Hollow, a local rock band he represents. The group was driving back to Columbus from the annual South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, when the idea of a Columbus festival emerged.
“We actually did the research on the bus ride on the way back and determined that we really didn’t have any competition at that time of the year — we didn’t have any competition regionally,” Adams said.
Upon his return to Columbus, Adams said he visited with representatives from the City of Columbus, the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, Huntington Park, Nationwide Arena and Nationwide Realty Investors to discuss the possibility of partnerships.
“Everybody thought that it was a great idea and then it occurred to me that we needed a differentiator between all other festivals in the country,” Adams said.
After further research, Adams said he realized that music and fashion have never been “fused” in a festival setting and determined that Columbus would be the ideal location.
“It was only natural because of the fashion industry that’s headquartered here in Columbus — not only with L Brands and (Abercrombie & Fitch) — but you also have recognized design programs at CCAD (Columbus College of Art and Design) and Ohio State,” Adams said.
Adams said he has been working alongside PromoWest Productions president and founder Scott Stienecker and local promotion company BravoArtist to book artists.
“We’ll have everything from EDM to punk rock because we’re serving all demographics,” Adams said. “Some other acts will be announced that’ll be a little different genre than Circa Survive, for example.”
Adams said a big part of the marketing plan has been to incorporate OSU students because the festival will give students a “taste of what Columbus is about.”
“The festival is certainly going to be like nothing the city has ever seen in terms of musical talent, fashion talent and entertainers, but the bigger picture in all of this is to brand the city of Columbus as a music and fashion capital, much like Austin has been branded with music and technology,” Adams said.
In addition to musical performances and fashion showcases, Adams said there will be additional activities to set the experience of the FMMF apart.
“This is a true festival with a 100-foot Ferris wheel, zip lines down Nationwide Boulevard and a 22-acre campground,” he said. “There’s not a festival in the country that has an actual urban campground. We’re going to have 3,000 campers inside of (Interstate) 670 and a five-minute walk from the venues,” Adams said.
The festival announced its initial artist lineup last month, which so far consists of 40 bands and seven designers and fashion brands. These bands are set to perform at the festival’s free outdoor stages and include Cold War Kids, Circa Survive, Switchfoot and New Found Glory.
“You really can come down and enjoy the festival and see that kind of entertainment without paying a cover, without having to buy a ticket for those shows,” said Melissa Dickson, communications director for FMMF.
Dickson said the overall reaction to the initial artist announcement was positive. More announcements are yet to come for the After Party Badges, where attendees can go to various bars in downtown Columbus to see smaller, showcase music sessions — a format similar to that of South by Southwest, Dickson said.
“The next round of announcements will definitely be gearing up for our After-Party Badges. We have 10 to 12 bars in the Short North and the Arena District that will be our partners throughout the weekend of this festival,” she said.
Dickson said these participating bars will host different bands throughout the night, and people who purchase After-Party Badges for $35 will have free access to every bar for all three days of the festival.
“It’s an amazing value, and that’s really where we feel our sweet spot is with our college student population,” she said.
While a portion of the festival’s music and fashion events will be free, tickets to additional events range from $10 to $200 and are available through Ticketmaster.