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I went to Nelsonville Music Fest for the first time and fell in love

Regina Fox



“You’re down in Appalachia, everyone here is a weirdo.”

Those were the first words I heard as I came to a stop at the Boxcar Stage at Nelsonville Music Festival and knew I was home.

I’ve been a resident of Columbus and a supporter of the music scene for more than six years, so it’s truly a wonder I never made the 54-minute voyage to Hocking College, the home of NMF. I guess it’s only right that my time came on its crystal (15th) anniversary.

Bonnie Bloomgarden of Death Valley Girls
All photos by Brian Kaiser

I had a lot of incredible experiences at Nelsonville—free and easy parking, little to no lines, reasonably priced food and beer—but the atmosphere and camaraderie championed my experience. Every person I came into contact with was so full of gratitude towards the music and art, uninhibited by their outfit choice of the day (mostly t-shirts, cargo pants, overalls, and bare feet), and full of genuine joy. I think even the infant attendees were under the magnificently happy spell of Nelsonville. Though I knew people there, I spent most of my time there by myself and never felt lonely.

It as like being back in my home village of Arcadia, Ohio where everyone knows your name and asks how you’re doing because they genuinely want to know the state of your well-being. No one gave a damn if their armpits turned ripe in the June sun, or if their kid was knee-deep in mud by the water bottle-filling area. Some folks sat in lawn chairs all day in front of the Main Stage, others kept in close proximity to the beer tent, and others yet supported lesser-known musicians on the Porch Stage with all the gusto their not-ready-for-the-Arnold-Classic bodies could muster. Everyone marched to the beat of their own drum, yet fully embraced the fact that we were all sharing in this beautiful experience with the same soundtrack and respected it. No hate, no judgement, no problem.

And the music—oh the music! If I was a musician, Nelsonville is the only place I’d want to play. Twice my eyes welled up with tears: first during Julia Jacklin’s song about befriending your mother, and second during Mandolin Orange’s set because my grandma would’ve loved it. I didn’t feel bashful getting emotional either, because I knew my company would get it. And Death Cab for Cutie was a dream. With 7,000 of my new best friends, I sang and danced to a band that had been on my bucket list since junior high when I first heard “I Will Follow You Into The Dark.”

Julia Jacklin

I’m not sure if it’s because of the beautifully untouched landscape, sense of community fostered over many years of festing together, the mindless escape from reality that only music can provide, or a combination of the three, but Nelsonville Music Fest is a sanctuary away from all the selfie-taking, drama, and manufactured “good times” that other music festivals often include. NMF is organic, playful, and officially added to my list of yearly traditions.

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Things To Do

Brick by Brick: Lego popup bar is the ultimate nostalgia trip

614now Staff



With playsets encompassing everything from Harry Potter to Star Wars and the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Legos remain a go-to for kids of all ages. Now, the colorful little blocks are preparing for their greatest team-up of all—with booze, of course!

A new popup event called "The Brick Bar" is bringing the fun of Legos to a bar near you for an exclusive 2-day engagement this March.

Bringing over 1 million blocks to the party, the event organizers will transform The Kitchen at 231 E Livingston Ave. with unique lego sculptures, as well as an abundance of blocks for people to shape into their own creations. Prizes for the best builders, DJs, and a ping-pong table (built entirely from Lego bricks, of course) are also in the mix for your nostalgia-driven enjoyment.

For ticket information, dates, and more, visit The Brick Bar Eventbrite page or follow them on Facebook.

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Things To Do

Hit Your Peak: 3 worth-the-drive ski slopes near Columbus

Asa Herron



The cursed Ohio Winter Monster has made its presence known to all with its 5pm sunsets, snow storms, and seasonal depression for all. How are you going to fight back against the gloom this year? It may seem like it’s impossible to do fun things with your friends or to stay active in the winter, but I’m here to tell you that not all hope is lost. Finding a new hobby is a great way to kick your winter woes to the curb and start the new decade on a good foot.

Skiing can be a great way to casually exercise with friends and resuscitate your serotonin levels. Here are three high quality places to ski within driving distance of Columbus for you to check out.


Located in Zanesfield, Mad River Mountain is about an hour's drive northwest of Columbus. They have the most reasonable prices of all the nearby ski resorts. Plus, their on-property bar, The Loft, has 12 taps of craft beers on rotation to add a little more fun to the night. Mad River is open until 1 a.m. on Fridays, too, so you’re getting a full Friday night of flurries.

Mad River is home to over 20 trails (spanning 3.9 miles) and four terrain parks making it the largest ski resort in Ohio. They also bolster ten ski lifts (the most in Ohio) and are tied with Snowtrails for the largest vertical drop in the state with their 300 foot slope. An added perk of Mad River is that they just built a new $6.2 million facility in 2016 to replace the space they lost to a fire in 2015. Plus, most of their trails are designated “easy” difficulty. Mad River has everything you need to have a relaxing, affordable day of skiing.

Details on hours and pricing can be found at


Founded in 1961, Snowtrails is Ohio’s oldest ski resort. It is located in Mansfield, so also about an hour drive north. This resort is only slightly more expensive, with lift rates starting at $31 for midweek evenings and $52 for all-day on the weekends, with skis, boots, and pole rentals are $37. If there’s one day this month that you visit Snowtrails, let it be January 25 for their mid-season party. Get ready for an outdoor DJ, a custom built snowbar, and a fireworks show 30 minutes after the slopes close for the night. Not into skiing? No problem! The party is free and open to the public, so let your expert friends hit the slopes while you hit the spirits at the snow bar.

Snowtrails is the second largest resort in the state with six ski lifts and 3.3 miles of trails. The majority of their trails are designated “intermediate” difficulty, so more experienced skiers will enjoy their time here.

More information can be found at www.


Boston Mills & Brandywine is the farthest ski resort from Columbus on this list, but great for a full weekend away. This quaint resort is in Peninsula, OH is a two hour drive from Central Ohio. Their pricing is $40 after 3:30 p.m. and $45 for an all-day pass. Staying another night? Come back on Saturday for $5 Late Nights admission from 8:00 PM to 1:00 AM.

Boston Mill & Brandywine ski resort is known for being especially conducive to beginning skiers. They offer high quality lessons and will walk you through the process. This is the place to go if you have “stupid” questions about skiing, or just want to tube. However, they also appeal to veteran skiers as the majority of their 18 trails are designated “advanced”. Despite the high quantity of trails, this resort is much smaller than the other two, with only 1.2 miles of skiable trails, and their largest vertical drop being 264 feet. But for these prices? Could definitely be worth the trip.

Learn more about Boston Mills & Brandywine at

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Arts & Culture

Watch: “World’s largest mural” in Short North is more than meets the eye

Regina Fox



At a glance, "The Journey AR Mural" adorning the Graduate Columbus hotel in Short North is stunning. Look a little harder, and it actually comes to life.

Standing at over 107 feet tall and over 11,000 square feet of augmented reality, "The Journey AR Mural," is the world's largest AR mural, offering technology that superimposes a computer-generated image on a user's view of the real world, thus providing a composite view.

The gaily-painted snapdragons, hibiscus, Easter lilies, and hummingbirds bloom and fly when viewed through the Journey AR Mural app (free for iPhone and Android). Watch the murals come to life in the video below.

Los Angeles-based artists Ryan Sarfati and Eric Skotnes (going by “Yanoe” and “Zoueh," respectively) are the creatives behind the project.

In an interview with Short North Arts District, Skotnes revealed he was inspired to take on the project after learning that Columbus is home to the second largest population of Somali immigrants in the country—he hopes the murals symbolize strength and prosperity for its viewers.

To learn more about The Journey AR Mural, visit

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