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Opinion: Worst Kept Secret Fest spills beans for sixth time, gets better with age

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As warehouse Dude Locker returns to the regular hum of band practices, Columbus’ music fans battle hangovers, and the plethora of artists nurse their (head-)bang-overs.

It’s not quite confidential that Worst Kept Secret Fest 6 was another huge stride for the Columbus arts community.

“This year, it was easier. We had a lot of people who we could trust working for us, and everyone had their own job and everyone did it,” said Pat Chase, one of the five heads who organized the sixth fest.

“There are volunteers for the volunteers,” said James Amos, a WKSF volunteer.

The event was greeted with chilly, scattered showers and overall crap weather, as if the gods of the “scene” were displeased with the progressing camaraderie.

But the gathering was healthy and full of friendly faces, unconcerned about the poor weather. Chase explained that he and the organizers are always trying their best to get separate members of the Columbus music community to get along with each other and as the rain persisted on Friday, Columbus’ local rock stars got the bodies warm from dancing inside the warehouse, giving many strangers a good reason to cool off outside E. Hudson St. with the food trucks and shoot the s—.

Naturally, Pabst Blue Ribbon showed its full support in rock ‘n’ roll in leaving a beer truck (for lack of better terminology) equipped with draught beerand more, resulting in a continually long line of people smoking and shivering for a cold one. The Paddy Wagon food truck stayed for both days of WKSF, while CD 102.5 and the Burrito Bus showed their support on Friday.

On Saturday night, Chase stood next to me beaming as psychadelic band DOMES began their set. He looked at me and smiled as if he had just had the epiphany and said: “Dude, we’ve got sponsors — and they don’t own us!”

Chase was referring to the biggest point of the fest: Do-It-Yourself. Having control from within the community, making wholly beneficial decisions and retaining the responsibilities that come with the WKSF ideology all hold a great importance to Pat Chase and company.

“Two years ago (WKSF is a biannual event) , we never thought anyone would want to help us,” Chase said later that night. “There were so many people that wanted to help out (with WKSF 6), the organizers who would normally be stressing out have been able to get around and talk to people and thank them for being here.”

As for the offending exploitative “scene,” Chase said he believed the only way to beat the “bad guys” is to be as organized and as prepared as they are.

“And I get it, we’re not like them ‘cause we’re not getting paid, so we’ll never be as organized and prepared, but g—d—– we can try our best,” Chase said.

Being perhaps the edition with the largest band variety, WKSF6 provided a constant rotation of surprises and big moments, some of which opened my eyes to incredible talents that I had been missing out on for nearly four years of living in this city.

The mountainous, psychedelic band DOMES jammed a bouncing crowd through an adventure of a set with an incredible cover of Pink Floyd’s “Astronomy Domine” as its finale on Saturday.

Another notable act, Mama, strutted into the fest with their unique brand of rock ‘n’ roll on Friday, ending with its own surprise rendition of “Almost Cut My Hair” by Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young.

In a rolling secession of powerful bangers and ballads, Wolfman and the Airship Captain, Eternally Dizzy, DOMES and Damn the Witch Siren delivered an overwhelmingly great line of consecutive sets toward the end of Saturday night.

“We were stoked (to be invited as a performer), and, honestly, we didn’t know if we would ever get into something like this because we’re electronic and poppy,” said Bobbi Kittern, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist of Damn the Witch Siren, “I’ve been a fan of this ever since it started, so it’s been one of our goals to play Worst Kept Secret Fest.”

The complete catalogue of dancing, moshing, head-banging and interpretive dance was observable throughout the festivities. Having so many styles intertwined at one show seemed to remove any shyness between the members in the crowds, some of which could be seen dancing together. Like, really “getting down.”

“All you can do is dance and vibe to every artist, and it’s been f—— great! That’s all I gotta say,” said Brittany Peltier, a University of Cincinnati student who traveled up to the event on Saturday to see Wolfman and the Airship Captain, among other performers.

With the general consensus that WKSF has only gotten better since its beginnings in 2012, it seems that the two-day party will be taking place plenty more times in the oncoming years.

Altogether and past the ultimate morals behind WKSF, Pat Chase wants people to understand: “If they do something and stick with it, it works.”

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