WonderBus Music Festival Plans To Stick Around Through 2026

Dec 6, 2019

WonderBus Music And Arts Festival is keeping the wheels rolling for another seven years.

The festival took place for the first time last August on the lawn at CAS, a chemical information company on Ackerman, just east of Olentangy River Road.

It focused not just on local and national music, but on mental health, cutting a $50,000 check to Ohio State University's Wexner Medical Center for depression treatment and suicide prevention.

Now, WonderBus has signed a deal with CAS to use the non-profit's 55 acres yearly until 2026.

"When they heard about our mission, they donated the land, and then the first year was such a home run, they said, 'We want to make sure we're apart of this in the future,'" says Rick Milenthal, co-founder of the festival and CEO of The Shipyard, a marketing company that helps run it.

Milenthal says the first year exceeded expectations, which gave all partners the confidence to ink a multi-year deal.

"About 11,000 attendees," he says. "Quite a few corporations involved. Let's just say we feel very positive, based on those indications. They would not extend that even another year, let alone seven years, if they didn't think this was going to be a success."

And while Ohio seems to gain new festivals all the time—from Bunbury and Homecoming in Cincinnati, to Sonic Temple in Columbus, to Camp Anarchy in Thornville—Milenthal says there is room for WonderBus to grow.

"We have a young population, good financial environment here, real yearning for music," he says. "So all the economic indicators are good for Central Ohio. Columbus is very ready for this."

The next WonderBus is scheduled for Aug. 29-30, 2020.