Rocky Fork Enterprise

Blues and jazz

Festival sets Sunday attendance record, drawing more than 8,000


Gahanna's Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival hit a high note June 22 with its largest Sunday attendance on record.

Laurie Jadwin, director of the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau, said at least 8,000 people attended on a Sunday that traditionally averages 5,000.

"We had a beautiful day," Jadwin said. "We think we had 16,000 to 18,000 on Saturday alone."

For the entire three-day event June 20-22, she said, early attendance estimates are 35,000 to 40,000.

"We had wonderful feedback from attendees and vendors there," Jadwin said. "We had a musician who just booked for next year. The only negative was a little bit of rain on Friday. Overall, the event went really smoothly."

Jadwin credited the festival's success to the more than 500 volunteers comprising individuals, organizations and businesses. In addition, she said, the event's success is also dependent on the city's behind-the-scenes support, with services like trash and portable restrooms.

Ashley resident Susan Bussard attended the festival for the first time June 21.

"I like the blues," she said. "I couldn't go to Chicago, so this was a good option."

Bussard attended with her friend, Shirron Young, also of Ashley.

"We came for the day to enjoy the music and people," she said. "It's nice. They have everything you could want food-wise. This gets people out. You can enjoy a common thing and support some bands."

Rose Carpenter of Reynoldsburg said she and her husband, William, are outdoor-concert fans. They were enjoying the 16-piece big-band group, Swing's the Thing, at the Creekside Community Stage.

"This is a yearly thing for us," Carpenter said. "It's outdoors, different stages, food, drinks and music. You can't go wrong."

In case of rain, she said, Creekside has many places to take shelter and still be able to enjoy the music.

Columbus resident Chrissy Rummel said the festival is relaxing for her because she's a musician herself.

"I grew up with jazz," she said. "My aunt was a jazz musician. Glenn Miller was a big influence on my childhood."

Nasiir Edwards of Atlanta attended the festival with Gahanna resident Kyle Beverly.

"Kyle said this was a big attraction here," Edwards said. "The food is great. I like the music."

Beverly said he has attended the festival for as long as he can remember.

"It's nice to walk around and enjoy the music," he said. "Gahanna itself is diverse. That's one of the things I like about living here."

The 2014 lineup built on the history of blues and jazz that had been played over the previous 15 festivals and included dozens of blues and jazz acts on its five stages: Electric Blues Stage, Jazz Stage, Creekside Community Stage, Acoustic Alley and Musical Discovery Zone.

The festival featured Grammy-winning and internationally known acoustic blues artist John Hammond as the Blues Stage headliner this year.

On the jazz side, Creekside featured smooth-jazz artists Elizabeth Mis with the Urban Jazz Coalition.

The festival was presented by the GCVB and was made possible with the support of sponsors and help from many local volunteers.