Spirit & Purpose Committee
The first Community Festival in 1972 was organized by a group of newly-founded progressive community organizations: The Columbus Free Press, The Columbus Community Food Co-op, The Open Door Clinic, The Columbus Tenants' Union, Switchboard, and Rape Crisis Center, to name a few. We became known as ComFest: Party with a Purpose. Many of the organizations from that first ComFest have become important community mainstays.
Over the years, the festival has become enormously popular in and beyond Columbus. Today, the Community Festival is a non-profit organization in and of itself, entertaining and enlightening people from all 50 states and visitors from other nations. With such popularity, it is easy for party to eclipse purpose. The Spirit and Purpose Committee co-ordinates speakers, workshops, panel discussions, and political music and art that keep those original progressive ideas a major part of the festival.
Spirit and Purpose helps to promote the Principles of ComFest, which can be found on this website, in our Program Guide, and at the festival itself. In 2008, Spirit and Purpose brought the rousing political music of Black 47 to the Bozo Stage, and a music workshop with the band's lead singer/songwriter, Larry Kirwan, to the Solar Stage. The committee sponsored special guests Chip Berlet (political writer and theorist), Daniel Pinchbeck (new-age philosopher), Iraqi Veterans Against the War, environmental workshops, solar demonstrations and education, and much more. Community organizations with booths in Street Fair were invited to give five-minute info-plugs for their groups from various stages.
Spirit and Purpose works year-round to develop programs for the festival in June. As we plan for the 2009 festival, we will reach out to many community groups with opportunities to share their work and volunteer opportunities with ComFest attendees. We are always open to input and encourage individuals to become involved in their communities 365 days a year.
If you are interested in working with the Spirit and Purpose Committee, contact Connie Everett at email@example.com, or Tim Chavez at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best way to get involved in ComFest is to come to a general planning meeting. The dates are posted on this website and in the Program Guide a full year in advance (just in case you've got last year's laying around!). Most months, we meet once. After April 1st, we begin to work full steam on the production of the festival, and we meet two or more times a month. Meetings are in Goodale Park in either the Shelter House or the Residence House unless otherwise posted. Days and times vary.
During the festival, volunteers are always needed for many jobs, large and small, that make the Community Festival amazing year after year. Pitch in and sign up early for the job and time of your choice at the Volunteer section of our website.
There are many ComFest organizers working with the Spirit and Purpose Committee, and every committee and aspect of the festival work to represent and promote our Statement of Principles. Contact email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org, or any ComFest organizer for more information on how you can become a part of the ComFest family.
Larry Kirwan of Black 47 led a workshop on the Purpose and Impact of political Music at the 2008 ComFest
Chip Berlet, a senior analyst at Political Research Associates in Boston helped bring a positive political message to ComFest as he spoke from the Bozo Stage and led a workshop.
Photos By: Michael Gruber