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Steadfast Festival kicks off summer in the Short North

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Shiny Penny, a rock band from Kokomo, Indiana, on stage at last year’s Steadfast Festival. Credit: Courtesy of Samuel Taylor III

The multi-genre Steadfast Festival is coming back to Columbus for its second year on Saturday.

The all-day music event will feature 17 bands on three stages throughout the day at the Veritas Community Church in the Short North.

The festival is being organized and promoted by Tuned Up, a music blog and promotional company that focuses on both local and national music.

Ryan Getz, the creator of both Tuned Up and Steadfast, said he attempted to scale back the festival from last year’s lineup of 20 artists. While they originally aimed for about a dozen, the final lineup grew to 17 acts.

“The interest from both local and regional bands exceeded our expectations by a lot,” he said. “We just had so much good talent interested in playing this year.”

When putting together the lineup, Getz said he reached out and gathered suggestions of up-and-coming artists from friends and family. Headliner Ben Sollee was a recommendation from his brother-in-law, while The Classic Crime was a band he’d been following since high school.

“With it being the second year, we decided to shoot for the stars with who we reached out to for headliners,” he said.

Among the headlining acts is Zoo Trippin’, a local group whose sound is as diverse as the festival’s wide-ranging lineup.

“We have a root in blues rock, but we stray away from that all the time,” said Tony Casa, the band’s lead vocalist, on the band’s sound. “We do funk, we’ve done folk, metal, pop … we’ve even featured some hip-hop artists.” 

Veritas Community Church at 345 E. 2nd Ave. will host the Steadfast Festival, now in its second year, this Saturday. Credit: Courtesy of Samuel Taylor lll

Casa said Zoo Trippin’ asked about playing last year’s Steadfast Festival after following Tuned Up for a while, but was too late to be a part of the lineup.

“This is the first year where we’re really trying to get on the festival circuit,” Casa said. “Festivals are kind of unique. When you’re at a festival, the fans are very adamant about supporting the music and that’s what they’re there for.”

Lead guitarist Lynn Roose said the band prides itself on its dynamic live performances and its energy.

“Our configuration is consistently changing,” said Steve Hatmaker, the band’s drummer. “We’ve played as a 13 piece, we’ve played as a three piece, we’ve played all over the board and we can write our setlist accordingly to cover a lot of styles accordingly. Each show is a little different.”

Despite this year’s slightly smaller bill, Getz said he feels confident they’ve reached their goal of providing a diverse lineup with a wide range of genres once again

“We want this to feel very organic and home-grown,” said Getz.

Tickets to Steadfast Festival are available online for $15 or at the door for $20. Doors open at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Veritas Community Church at 345 E. 2nd Ave.

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