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Looking for some Twenty One Pilots merch? Check out Ned's Bayou

The Columbus Dispatch logo The Columbus Dispatch 6/29/2019 By Abbey Marshall, The Columbus Dispatch
a stack of flyers on a table: The interior of Ned's Bayou, a Twenty One Pilots pop-up shop in the Short North. [Photo by Abbey Marshall] © Photo by Abbey Marshall/Dispatch/The Columbus Dispatch/TNS The interior of Ned's Bayou, a Twenty One Pilots pop-up shop in the Short North. [Photo by Abbey Marshall]

"Why are there so many people waiting for a pool store?" a passerby laughed to his friend as they walked past a line of about 500 people camped outside Ned's Bayou.

The Short North storefront was adorned with a brightly colored teal awning. Out front was a poster of a smiling horned character floating in a pool that made for a good photo op for the waiting teenagers.

To the untrained eye, the words "Fine Pool Equipment" might make you wonder why so many people would eagerly wait for floating Styrofoam noodles and swim goggles.

But the acronym "FPE" is a coy reference to "the few, the proud, the emotional," a nickname for Twenty One Pilots fans.

The band, comprised of lead singer Tyler Joseph and drummer Josh Dun, are Columbus natives who have always shown love for their hometown. So when a storefront window in the Short North one day featured a poster of Ned, a small, bug-eyed alien featured in the duo's "Chlorine" music video, fans began speculating about it.

The duo is know for being cryptic, but they did offer a small clue. If fans called the number listed on the storefront, they received a text asking to be a part of Ned's contact list. No one knew exactly what would be inside at 612 N High St. — thus the anticipation and long line that stretched down the block Friday afternoon, just a day before the group's two-day run of shows at Nationwide Arena.

a person standing in front of a store: Fans enter Ned's Bayou, a Twenty One Pilots pop-up shop in the Short North. [Photo by Abbey Marshall] © Photo by Abbey Marshall/Dispatch/The Columbus Dispatch/TNS Fans enter Ned's Bayou, a Twenty One Pilots pop-up shop in the Short North. [Photo by Abbey Marshall]

Dee Beal, a 22-year-old from Mansfield, was the first in line at 2:45 a.m. Friday. She had been up for hours before that to apply makeup inspired by the colors and symbols of the group's Trench album.

"I didn't have enough money for the tickets, but it was important for me to experience this," she said. "I've been a fan forever. Their music just hits so close to home."

The Roosevelt Coffeehouse gave out free drinks and granola bars to the first 200 people in line. Instead of their signature espresso beverages, the business created a list of iced drinks with Twenty One Pilots references, including a bright blue lemonade called "Straight Chlorine," so fans could literally "sip on straight chlorine," as the song references.

A pool sounded appealing on a day like Friday, when temperatures climbed into the 90s while fans shielded themselves under umbrellas and trees, playing cards and singing Twenty One Pilots songs to pass the time.

As the clock drew nearer to noon, excitement was in the air as staff members redirected the line and let in the first 30 people.

Inside, it was clearly not a pool store, but wasn't quite clear that it was a Twenty One Pilots store. In fact, the band's name isn't on any of the merchandise. Instead, everything from hats to beach towels to sweatshirts features Ned.

"I love it because no one but true fans would know what this is," said Robert Rush, an 18-year-old from Akron. "It's special because it's just for us."

Bright neon lights provided a "bayou" feel, along with nets and life vests. The merchandise inside the store is not offered anywhere else.

Zoë Floyd, 17, came from Los Angeles to visit the shop and see both of the hometown shows.

"This was definitely worth it," she said with two bags of merchandise in her hands. "It left a big fat dent in my bank account, but this was the most exciting day."

View more photos inside the store here.

View from inside #NedsBayou, the @twentyonepilots pop-up shop in the Short North@DispatchAlerts pic.twitter.com/AarwoIgrJV

— Abbey Marshall (@AbbeyMarshall) June 28, 2019amarshall@dispatch.com

@AbbeyMarshall

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©2019 The Columbus Dispatch (Columbus, Ohio)

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