Hutchfest 2024 planned as bigger and better than before

Mike Wolanin | The Republic The band Brown 25 performs during the inaugural Hutchfest at The Commons in Columbus, Ind., Friday, April 21, 2023.

It almost seems that Hutchfest 2024 could be called Muchfest.

As in much music, food, festivities, fellowship, you name it. All for a $10 ticket — and then an estimated $3 beer and $10 for a meal of a brat (including vegetarian), beans, and coleslaw.

The second concert/festival fundraiser organized by the nonprofit Landmark Columbus Foundation and local musician Ben Wever has expanded to two days, April 19-20, and expanded to two venues — The Commons on the first night and The Crump Theatre the second night.

Opening night is for ages 21 and older. The following night is for all ages and even includes an opening local teen band called Electric Symphony, which recently played for a crowd of about 200 people at The Crump.

The event this time also features a nationally touring Saturday headliner and Apple music blues-rock act, The Weird Sisters, based in Nashville, Tennessee. Plus, organizers have contracted with a Louisville, Ky.-based lighting firm for a purple-hazed vibe. And they also have a top-notch concert sound company on board for both nights.

Ideally, they hope to attract up to perhaps 1,000 people, according to Richard McCoy. He’s founding executive director of the Landmark Columbus Foundation that cares for the community’s architectural and cultural legacy. It also promotes projects such as progressive preservation.

Funds raised for this event will support the Crump Theatre, Landmark Columbus Foundation, and the Miller House and Garden, where Wever serves as site manager.

McCoy said that, ideally, he’d love to raise $30,000 to be divided among those three beneficiaries. Last year’s one-night event in April with three local bands at The Commons attracted more than 600 people amid a broad cross-section of ages and raised $25,000.

“I think that goal certainly is realistic,” Wever said of the $30,000 mark.

He’s more than motivated to do his part to make the weekend successful with everyone from locals to out-of-towners. Besides his behind-the-scenes work, he plays keyboards for the pop-rock cover band The Revelators, an ensemble together for two years and on the event’s Friday night slate.

“Basically, we want to keep Hutchfest’s momentum going, and continue to make it more exciting,” Wever said.

McCoy shares Wever’s optimism for Hutchfest’s growth. The event’s name, by the way, was inspired by the long-term community work of Hutch Schumaker, who has been a key force behind The Crump’s restoration and spearheaded by Jessica Schnepp. Schumaker also is a Landmark Columbus board member.

Organizers had to convince Schumaker to use his name for visibility, since he didn’t want people to think he himself suggested it.

“We’re simply trying to create a great platform to celebrate the music of local and regional bands,” McCoy said. “This is how we feel that we can work to elevate this community.

“This benefits everybody. We get to hear cool music. Musicians get a more visible platform. And community gets to be involved in good stuff.”

More about Hutchfest 2024

For tickets and the schedule: