By Christina Drain
The traditional Mayday celebration dates back to the 1970s according to Wayne Rowe, director of Communications and Marketing at OSU Marion. It’s been conducted sporadically throughout the years and took another hiatus last year.
But organizer Brian Wilds, president of the Campus Activity Board, says the renamed Springfest is bigger and better than ever, with eight musical acts, food, an expanded children’s area, vintage car show and silent auction.
“In the past it was a couple of bands and a headliner, but this year we have music all day from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.,” Wilds said. “This year we’ve aimed for bringing the public in and allowing them to celebrate with us.”
The entire event is student-organized, from musical choices to recruiting community groups, and backed by Student Life.
“The music lineup that we put together, it touches several genres,” Wilds said. “Some people that play current stuff, some people that play blues or an older-type music and then the heavier stuff. It just depends on what genre festival-goers are interested in.”
Headlining the event this year is Bobaflex, a mix of hard rock and harmony. Wilds says many from the Marion and Columbus area will be familiar with the West Virginia-based band as the national act played in area venues for a number of years.
“We asked a number of individuals, ‘Who would you like to see?’ and we kept coming up with the name Bobaflex,” Wilds said. “We decided what genre we wanted to bring in but we didn’t want to limit it to just one genre. We got names and we watched YouTube clips of the bands. We had a list of several bands until we drew it down to these.”
Heavy rock band Overtheory opens for Bobaflex at 8 p.m. The Columbus-based band won the Battle of the Bands at Captain Jack’s in 2012. Eliot Lewis, a member of Hall and Oates and formerly of the Average White Band, will perform music from his solo albums. Local acts include Mayes Temple Choir, acoustic rock-n-roll duo Lucky Penny Sisters, Samantha Howard, Rowe’s band Cherry Blonde, which plays high-energy hits from the 1960s to today, and Marion native Willie Phoenix.
“Willie Phoenix is an older style of music,” Wilds said. “He writes his own stuff. It’s a 1960s-’70s type sound, very Hendrix-like.”
Posters for the event contain the theme “From Wonderland to Underland.” Wilds enlisted the local prison to bring the theme to life.
“Our local prison system does decorations as part of their program,” he said. “We wanted something that would represent the children and something that would represent the other areas. We wanted that delineation. The children’s area is more from ‘Alice in Wonderland.’”
The children’s area includes old-style games like a duck pond and cakewalk, complete with prizes and sponsored by the Marion school PTAs, as well as a high-tech video gaming area. Lowe’s also is sponsoring a craft workshop. Public safety groups will offer information about fire and emergency situations as well as fingerprinting children.
Local restaurants Rosa & Rocco’s Italian Kitchen and Steakhouse and Groovy Spoon Frozen Yogurt as well as popular local food trucks will prepare food. Other vendors include Ohio State merchandise, a massage area and an airbrush company.
“This festival is because of the staff I have working with me in the campus board,” Wilds said. We’ve been able to expand beyond what was probably even considered in the past.”