Hutchfest to offer a varied musical menu April 19-20

Guitarist Henry Barr leads the local group the Electric Symphony.

Photo provided

Original music for a rather original music festival.

Singer/guitarist/lyricist Andy Larson of the local trio The Greenback Dollars is figuring that that seems a nice fit for the Hutchfest 2024 festival which his band will open at 5:30 p.m. April 19 at The Commons, 300 Washington St., in downtown Columbus.

“I am obviously a little biased,” said the songwriter penning tunes inspired by everything from his real-life wife to fictitious vagabonds. “But I don’t think that there’s quite enough people around here writing original music. Actually, I know there’s not enough.

The Greenback Dollars members are, from left, Andy Larson, Jon Myers and Jeff Sutherland.

Photo provided

“And I take great pride in trying to do that. Of course, we still perform covers out of necessity, because we need the audience to be able to easily latch on to things.”

The group of Larson, bassist John Myers and drummer Jeff Sutherland expects to open its one-hour set with the Kingston Trio folk classic that is the local ensemble’s namesake.

“It’s a song I learned a long time ago at summer camp,” Larson said of the tune from the perspective of loving music over money. “It’s always been one of my favorite, rabble-rousing songs. For me, it’s very personal, about all the memories from camp.”

Therein lies some of the beauty of Hutchfest, launched a year ago at The Commons. Its performers range from folk-pop to electronic dance music to funk, offering a musical menu that explains how last year’s concert attracted an estimated 600 people — and partly why organizers hope for maybe 1,000 attendees this year over two nights.

The second night of music for all ages will be 5:30 to 11 p.m. at The Crump Theatre downtown. Opening night is for a 21-and-older crowd.

The $10 admissi0n event organized by the nonprofit Landmark Columbus Foundation and local musician Ben Wever will benefit the foundation, The Crump and the Miller House and Garden, where Wever serves as site manager.

Ideally, organizers hope to raise $30,000 to be shared equally among those three entities.

“We want this to be a top-notch festival,” said Richard McCoy, founding executive director of the Landmark Columbus Foundation that cares for he city’s artistic, architectural and cultural legacy.

Toward that end, Wever, who is the originator of the event, has booked Apple Music’s nationally touring act known as The Weird Sisters from Nashville, Tennessee. The group currently is promoting its latest release “Who Are the Weird Sisters?” Wever began listening to the band several years ago and has seen them live in Tennessee.

Promotional material calls the band’s recent recording “a mixture of EDM, funk rock and grunge punk – all with a psychedelic flare.”

The event also includes veteran area groups that have built a substantial following, such as pop-rock cover band Stone Carnival, which has performed at a number of sizable local gatherings such as the county bicentennial party along the river. Plus, Wever himself plays keyboards with the classic pop-rock cover band The Revelators, playing everything from Eric Clapton to the Beatles.

To help Hutchfest reach even a wider cross-section of the population, Wever also has booked local teen ensemble Electric Symphony, a group large enough to even include its own horn section. Founder and guitarist Henry Barr expects six members to be available to open Hutchfest’s second night, all scheduled for the recently reopened Crump. Plus, he expects his female backup singers known as the Vizens to be on hand to help highlight tunes from the 1970s to 1990s.

Barr expects the group’s setlist to include acts ranging from Fleetwood Mac to Paul McCartney to Led Zeppelin.

“Our crowds are starting to pick up,” Barr said, referring to a recent performance before about 200 people. “And we already know that Hutchfest is certainly able to bring in a lot of people.”

About the festival

For tickets and the full two-day concert lineup, visit