Cyclops Fest succeeds by targeting artisans

Updated Sept 12, 2013
  • By Don Thrasher
  • Contributing Writer

When DJ Galvin and Brian Johnson launched the Cyclops Fest in 2011, they knew there was an audience for an event dedicated to handmade items and DIY (do-it-yourself) culture. After all, there wasn’t another festival like it in a region filled with specialty artisans. However, the organizers weren’t expecting such a massive response.

Attendance was 3,000 the first year and it ballooned to more than 6,000 in 2012. Galvin says they expect about 8,000 attendees for the third annual Cyclops, returning to John Bryan Center in Yellow Springs at 10 a.m. Saturday.

“We always hoped people would enjoy it as much as we do but we had no idea how people would respond,” Galvin said. “The first year we were just praying nothing went wrong, nobody got hurt and people actually came. To our surprise it was an amazing first year to have that many people.

“The handmade culture is very viral so it just kind of took off,” she continued. “One person hears about and they tell 10 people and it spreads. It’s kind of like a game of telephone.”

The music, which is very DJ-centric this year, begins with an 11 a.m. set from Nicky Illiopolis. Philly Phill, Turntable Philanthropy, Skratchmatik and Mercutio are also on the bill.

“It’s still family-friendly but we’ve found the DJs really work,” Galvin said. “The thought was during the day to make it fun, happy, shopping music but make it interesting stuff people don’t hear on a daily basis. Live bands are wonderful and we might do that again. We try to switch up every year but at the end of the day it’s a handmade festival so we’ll go with whatever is conducive to shopping and will give it that fun atmosphere.”

Cyclops Fest also features a beer garden, children’s area and street performers. However, as always, shopping is the main focus and this year is no exception. According to Galvin, attendees will once again be able to choose from a wide array of unique items.

“With handmade, there are so many different trends going on right now so we try to cover everything,” she said. “You have your traditional fine artists that do something with a unique twist or people that do apparel that has their own artwork and is really interesting. You have the very indie vein and then shabby chic. You have all these different little twists and we try not to confine it to one specific vein because there are so many tastes out there.”