WORTH THE DRIVE: ‘Hookahville is the coolest place on the planet’

Credit: Rob O'Brien (PhatRob)

Credit: Rob O'Brien (PhatRob)

Hookahville is the granddaddy of Ohio jam band festivals. The 52nd installment of the twice-yearly festival is presented by Ekoostik Hookah and Gemini Productions at Clear Fork Adventure Resort in Butler, north of Columbus, Friday through Sunday, Aug. 30 through Sept. 1.

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“Like the guy in ‘High Times’ said, ‘Hookahville is the coolest place on the planet’ and that’s the mindset we’re trying to perpetuate,” said Tom Blessing of Xenia-based Gemini Productions. “It’s a no-hassle event where people can do what they want. That’s what has kept this longevity for 26 years.”

The members of Ekoostik Hookah are as surprised as anyone the fest is still going strong.

“There was no grand plan when we did the first one,” founding member Dave Katz said. “We had no idea we’d even do a second one so it’s pretty amazing to still be doing the festival. Through a lot of luck and perseverance, we’re still at it and we’re still having a great time.”

The festival has been held at a number of sites over the years, including Zane Shawnee Caverns. This is Hookahville’s first year at a Clear Fork Adventure Resort, a former ski resort that now hosts festivals and other events.


“Because the festival is the same time every year, people expect it,” Blessing said. “We’ve been able to move around to different spots and they follow us. It’s almost like a family vacation for people. A lot of this generation that grew up in the ’90s has gone out and bought RVs so it’s become a family-friendly RV event to a certain degree. It’s a really good crowd and we’ve been doing this so long now we’re getting grandkids coming with grandparents.”

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Hookahville 52 features acts such as Russ Liquid, EarthCry, Ed McGee, Consider the Source and Mike Perkins & John Zuck. There will also be performances from the current version of Ekoostik Hookah as well as the 2.0 version, which features the jam band’s popular lineup from the early 2000s.

“I always look forward to the festival because the vibe is amazing for us,” Katz said. “I’m looking forward to doing the 2.0 thing again too, not just because of playing those tunes again but also to see some of the people that used to come out and see us on a regular basis.

“I just love to play,” Katz added. “When people come to see us, I love to be able to give them a little relief from their everyday life.”


What: Hookahville 52 featuring Ekoostik Hookah, Ekoostik Hookah 2.0, Russ Liquid, EarthCry, Ed McGee, Consider the Source, Mike Perkins & John Zuck and others

Where: Clear Fork Adventure Resort, 341 Resort Drive, Butler

When: Friday through Sunday, Aug. 30 through Sept. 1. Music begins at 5 p.m. Friday

Cost: Tickets start at $35


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