Concerts, Events and Free Things to Do Around Columbus in June

Editors’ picks for events happening around town next month

Columbus Monthly
The start of the 48th ComFest at Goodale Park in 2019.

Comeback Spotlight: ComFest, June 24–26 

Goodale Park 

For the past two years, Columbus’ most community-minded festival has been a virtual affair. The all-volunteer crew behind ComFest staged performances, workshops and other activities online in 2020 and 2021, when the pandemic necessitated a switch from an in-person gathering. “It took a great deal of effort on behalf of volunteers, entertainers and other supporters of ComFest,” says spokesperson Marty Stutz. 

Even so, nothing can replace the in-person experience of attending ComFest or helping make it possible. So this year, organizers are overjoyed to return to their traditional home, Goodale Park, though the reunion will still require the roll-up-your-sleeves spirit that has allowed the festival to survive and thrive for 50 years without corporate sponsorship. “Every year, the organization would love to welcome new volunteers into the fold,” Stutz says. “It does literally take hundreds of volunteers to plan for and put on ComFest, and then take [it] down.” The goal, he adds, is to leave the park as beautiful as it was the day before the festival opens. 

As always, ComFest will offer attendees a mixture of activism and entertainment. The street fair—boasting artists, community organizations and food vendors—will return, while workshops on social and political issues will be held. The new Goodale Stage will be the site of performances by area music acts. “The best bands in Columbus, displaying and showcasing the diversity of musical talent in the community, will be on hand,” Stutz says. 

As Stutz sees it, the community is ready to come back to its favorite community festival. “Two years is a long time when so many people are used to getting together every summer in the park,” he says. “I think that there’s a lot of enthusiasm for 50 years of this great event.” Free, comfest.com—Peter Tonguette 

Wine Down Wednesdays, May–September 

Lincoln Theatre 

The Near East Side venue plans to put its recently renovated rooftop patio to good use this summer, offering intimate jazz performances on one Wednesday each month. The lineup includes the Mark Hampton Quartet (June 15), the Robert Mason Trio (July 13), the Midwest Modern Jazz Quartet (Aug. 10) and the Aaron White Quartet (Sept. 14). $27, series subscriptions also available, capa.com 

Actors’ Theatre of Columbus, May 26–Sept. 4 

Schiller Park 

Fans of live theater can congregate in German Village’s Schiller Park all summer long as the troupe presents Shakespeare’s “Hamlet, 1603” (May 26–June 19), an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities” (June 23–July 17), the Shakespeare-derived “Queen Margaret” (July 21–Aug. 14) and August Wilson’s “King Hedley II” (Aug. 18–Sept. 4). Free, theactorstheatre.org 

The Memorial Tournament, May 30–June 5 

Muirfield Village Golf Club 

The world’s top golfers will again descend on Dublin to traverse the Muirfield Village Golf Club. Reigning champ Patrick Cantlay will be back, though at press time it remains unknown whether the legendary Tiger Woods (who suffered serious injuries in a car accident in February 2021) or this year’s Masters champion, Scottie Scheffler, will make appearances. Passes start at $45, thememorialtournament.com 

Hinson Amphitheater Events, June–August 

Hinson Amphitheater 

The outdoor performance and gathering space—located in the heart of New Albany—has a packed calendar for the coming months, including a free series of family movies, which will be shown on a new LED video wall. Live performances are also on deck, such as The Kat & Dave Show (Katharine McPhee and David Foster) on June 14, Columbus Jazz Orchestra’s tribute to Aretha Franklin on July 21 and the Amp Up the Arts benefit, featuring “Hamilton” star Renée Elise Goldsberry, on Aug. 11. Tickets vary, newalbanyfoundation.org 

"Amanda After a Birthday Party, Jackson, Wyoming"

I Hear America Singing: Contemporary Photography from America, June 3, 2022–Jan. 22, 2023 

Pizzuti Collection 

This Columbus Museum of Art exhibition showcases 16 photographers whose artwork challenges “the monolithic concept of American identity.” Works range from Griselda San Martin’s documentary-style photography at the U.S.-Mexico border to Lucas Foglia’s candid portraiture (“Amanda After a Birthday Party, Jackson, Wyoming,” right). I Hear America Singing is part of the FotoFocus Biennial, featuring more than 100 photographic projects at venues across Greater Cincinnati, Northern Kentucky, Dayton and Columbus. The event “considers photography’s extensive record of life on earth” and “humankind’s impact on the natural world.” columbusmuseum.org 

La Traviata,” June 3–5 

Downtown Marriott 

Opera Columbus continues a string of immersive performances in unexpected settings, this time in collaboration with Out of the Box Opera, with a production of Verdi’s “La Traviata” in a no-intermission, 90-minute performance at the Residence Inn by Marriott Columbus Downtown. Moderate walking will be required as you follow leading lady Violetta through three stages of her life. Traviata means fallen woman, and Violetta is a scandal-prone courtesan who must forsake her one chance at love to save her lover’s reputation. The opera will be sung in English. operacolumbus.org 

Conservation at Big Walnut Park, June 4 

Big Walnut Park 

Help the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department keep this East Side park clean and free of invasive plants. And if you’re looking to help out at a different park, check the website, where many other volunteer opportunities are listed. crpd.volunteerhub.com 

Chris Rock

Chris Rock, June 7 

Ohio Theatre 

First things first: Don’t expect Chris Rock to address the slap heard around the world. Just a few days after Will Smith assaulted him at the Academy Awards, Rock launched his Ego Death World Tour, his first in five years. Since then, he’s been telling audiences he needs more time to process what happened before he’s ready to talk about it on stage. Instead, expect Rock’s trademark mix of provocation, introspection and fearlessness. Oh, and some tighter security than usual. chrisrock.com 

Columbus Arts Festival, June 10–12 

Downtown riverfront 

Get your summer off to an artistic start: Among the most notable annual events put on ice amid the pandemic, this festival spotlighting music, theater, dance and, above all, the visual arts is set to return this summer to the Downtown riverfront area. Free, columbusartsfestival.org 

Fight for Air Climb, June 11 

Lower.com Field 

The annual fundraiser for the American Lung Association moves outside, with participants invited to weave up and down 1,910 steps of Lower.com Field—the equivalent of 48 floors—or commit to one “power hour” of climbing. lung.org 

Margaret Atwood

Margaret Atwood, June 15 

Palace Theatre 

Margaret Atwood doesn’t rest on her laurels. The dystopian, misogynistic world she created in her 1985 novel, “The Handmaid’s Tale,” appeared freshly relevant when the Hulu series of the same name debuted in 2017, and Atwood followed it with a 2019 sequel, “The Testaments,” which won the Booker Prize. The Canadian literary titan will appear in conversation with WOSU’s Ann Fisher. cbusarts.com 

CAPA Summer Movie Series, June 16–Aug. 14 

Ohio Theatre 

After two consecutive years of abbreviated editions, the annual classic film series returns for two full months in the Ohio Theatre. Classics from Hollywood’s Golden Era are on tap, as well as more recent fare, such as “The Birdcage” and “Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope,” both new to the series. $6, capa.com 

Stonewall Columbus Pride Community Festival and Resource Fair, June 17–18 

Goodale Park 

Also making a comeback after a two-year absence due to the pandemic is this annual event in support of the LGBTQ community. The Pride March will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Broad and High streets. Free, stonewallcolumbus.org 

Juneteenth Ohio Festival, June 18–19 

Genoa Park 

Juneteenth—the federal holiday making note of the day in 1865 on which the country’s last remaining enslaved Black people were freed—will be honored at the festival, which includes a talent show, classic car show, soul food pavilion, live entertainment and a college, career and employment recruitment fair. $5 to $10, juneteenthohio.com 

Picnic With the Pops, June 18–July 30 

Columbus Commons 

The Columbus Symphony will serve as the world’s best backup band in concerts in the Columbus Commons featuring The O’Jays (June 18), vocalist Christopher Cross (July 16) and, of course, The Best Damn Band in the Land (July 29–30). Popcorn Pops concerts for families will take place on June 24 and July 22. $10.50 to $36.50 for lawn seating, $231 to $893 for tables, columbussymphony.com 

The Haunting of Night Vale World Tour 2022, June 22 

Lincoln Theatre 

Way back in 2012 before podcasts were ubiquitous, Welcome to Night Vale captivated listeners with its radio broadcasts from a fictional Southwestern town where anything is possible: conspiracies and lies; angels and aliens. This live stage show features Cecil Baldwin (the voice of Night Vale announcer Cecil Palmer), Symphony Sanders, Kate Jones and original music by Disparition. capa.com 

The kitchen at the home of David Thomas and Vince Thompson in German Village June 13, 2019. Their home was one of the featured homes on the annual German Village Haus Und Garten Tour in 2019

61st Annual German Village Haus und Garten Tour, June 25–26 

German Village 

Tour some of the stunning historic homes in the neighborhood that is a national model for historic preservation and a reminder of the mid-1800s, when one-third of Columbus’ population was of German descent. Funds raised benefit the German Village Society. germanvillage.com 

This story is from the June 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.