WonderBus Fest 2023 Day One at the CAS Grounds in Columbus, OH

The music and arts festival WonderBus, on its fourth year, is still evolving. Day one on the CAS grounds focused on hi-energy performances.

To put it in perspective, Riot Fest in Chicago this year has 30 bands playing each day. Wonderbus has a total of 30 bands in three days at a similar price point. Of course, there are many specials run throughout the year to commit to the festival experience without paying full price. It is not a large festival, so on the first day, they allow people the opportunity to come out after work hours to start their weekend without missing any performances.

Rows of vendors selling crafts and food lined both sides of the CAS grounds just outside of the Ohio State University. Parking is $40 cash each day which you can get out of if you have a bike you can ride and lock up during the festival. The three stages are separated by Porta-Kleen shanty towns with lines forming between acts. Opposite the three stages this year, the GA+ and VIP lounges along with air-conditioned bathrooms offer respite from the soupy weather. There is an additional charge for either, but the VIP section also provides cold bottled water, cans of soda, and freshly catered food virtually all day long. It cannot be stressed enough how good it feels to sit in the shade and eat from their catered buffet of foods. They also have a completely vegan meal each day. You may even catch one of your favorite performers sharing a drink with some friends, available for a photo, or ready to be challenged at one of the two vintage upright video game arcade machines in the VIP section.

As long as the performances were not overlapping, you could sit in the VIP section and clearly hear everything happening on the first and second stages. The first performance of the festival belonged to .wavrunner from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. This three-piece band was the perfect choice to jump-start the audience with lively moves, beats, and upbeat lyrics. If your kids ask what the lyrics are, tell them you don’t know.

The next hi-energy performance not for the kids came from Geordie Kieffer. His hype man and fellow stage performer tried to warn us of the crazy we were about to experience. Geordie spent most of his time in the air. He sang tongue-in-cheek lyrics with a not-be-taken-too-seriously-vibe unless you are into it. “Swinger” and “Sex Party” were two of the most recognizable songs he performed.

For a short day with a late start, the crowd packed in early for Pitbull. Mostly an older group, but every age group was represented. A family of six from Spain camped out all day to see this performance. He brought in the biggest crowd of the festival. Pitbull was charismatic, and energizing, and everyone knew music. He has so many hits, there are top ten lists of Pitbull’s hits. He danced around the stage with his backing dancers who had several outfit changes throughout the performance. 

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About Harry Acosta 24 Articles
Harry Acosta is a professional photographer who started out shooting concerts. He is an avid concertgoer and loves to capture his favorite musicians and unseen moments we take for granted in everyday life.