Kickin’ It Crew to host event Ethereal 


Featuring Random Rab & Manitoa

Fred at Burning Man 2010

Greg and Rae with the skeleton of one of their first sculptures at Burning Man


While on the road to festivals, Appalachian Jamwich crew has run into many of Kickin’ It Crew’s whimsical sculptures such as the Jellyfish dome and other painted wooden cutouts.  We recently talked to them about how they got started, their inspiration, and their upcoming event Ethereal, featuring Random Rab & Manitoa THIS FRIDAY April 25th in Columbus, OH.

When did Kickin’ It come into being and what inspired its creation?
Kickin’ It began after our first trip to Burning Man in 2010. During our first burn, we were inspired to create a camp for Burning Man so we could have a home base on the playa. We dubbed our camp ‘Camp Kick It’, because we wanted to create a chill, laid back, lounge space where we could enjoy good company without any ego.
Upon returning home to Columbus, Ohio and beginning construction for Camp Kick It, we realized that we wanted to bring the vibrant spirit of creativity, expression, and community that we had felt at Burning Man back into our everyday lives. In December of 2010 we began holding our first events combining music, costume, and art.

Geo Jelly Suwannee

The Jelly Dome at Suwannee Park in Live Oak, FL. Photo credit Lindsay Tompkins

How did you get the idea for the jellyfish dome, which is probably your best known installation?
The Jelly Dome was dreamed up after seeing the blue parachute that covers the dome on Ebay and randomly having the thought, ‘Hey, that kinda looks like a jellyfish…’ From this simple thought, the idea for the Jelly Dome was born. This was shortly before Rootwire 2012, which we already had planned to participate in, so we pitched the idea to the festival and they told us to bring it out. The installation has changed and evolved so much since then; it has been an incredibly rewarding and challenging project. We had no idea when we saw that blue parachute what would come of it! We love the Jelly Dome and the joy it brings to people, and we’re very much looking forward to the continued growth of this piece.

Since your inception, what new art pieces have you made or expansions on your experience have you built?
Phew, well, we’ve changed, evolved, grown, and built a whole lot of new art since we began! There’s been so much that it’s really difficult to sum it up. We continually are creating new pieces for our installation archive as we come up with new concepts; it’s really a constant progression with our installations as well as our event production. We always have a lot of ideas, so we have to evaluate what our best choices are as far as investment of time, money, and resources. Another consideration we have to evaluate with every installation is size and portability—if we build it are we going to be able to store and transport it? This is obviously a big issue, haha! One definite tangible change in our work has been the types of materials we use. We started using a lot of PVC and very rudimentary lighting and have now shifted to steel welded frames with more advanced lighting.
Besides displaying your work at festivals, you also throw events. What was your first ever event?
Our first ‘Kickin’ It presents’ events were a series of parties at Rumba Café in Columbus. These first events were basically just us and a few of our friends gathering for a night with a couple musical acts and a little bit of art. In December of 2011 we threw our first Inspiration Manifestation, an event series which we have continued up to this day. Our events have grown from a few friends with a couple local musicians and live painters to full on art party extravaganzas! We love creating unique spaces and experiences for the community to enjoy and participate in.
What kind of experience do you hope to create with your events?
Our Inspiration Manifestation events are much more than just parties to us. These gatherings are labors of love in which we strive to create unique, fun, festive environments where people feel free to express themselves and connect with others in an authentic, joyous, and uninhibited way. There is intention behind every Inspiration Manifestation, a lot of planning and work goes into every one. We set a theme for each event then transform the venue with installations and décor, and encourage attendees to dress in costume or attire to match that theme. The environments we create are very unique to the Columbus area, and we’ve had a great response from the community to the events. Our gatherings offer an alternative to just another night out at the bar, and it seems that people are eager and ready for something different.
Tell me about what you have in store for us at your next event, Ethereal, taking place April 25?
We’re very excited about Ethereal for a couple reasons. This is the first year we’re holding Ethereal, and the scene is quite different from our other two annual events, The Cosmic Cavern and The Frequinox. For Ethereal, we are creating a serene, calming, beautiful dreamlike setting; the environment is designed to resemble an ‘ascent into the ether’, a heavenly, celestial environment. This concept is rather different than anything we’ve worked on before, and we’re excited about the challenge! We have some great décor and installations in store for the event that we’re looking forward to sharing with everyone. We are also completely thrilled to have Random Rab joining us for Ethereal! We love Rab’s music; his sound is incredibly unique, melodic, and beautiful. We were first introduced to Rab shortly after our first burn, so having him play an Inspiration Manifestation is a real treat for us. Rab’s performance, and the Ethereal experience, is going to be super unique and special!