It's too early to calculate whether the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival broke attendance records, but the director has high praise for the event that marked its 20th anniversary June 15-17.
"We were thrilled with the fantastic crowd that showed up on Friday night to kick off the 20th annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival," said Laurie Jadwin, executive director of Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau.
"Every stage had a large crowd -- from the Heartland Bank Jazz Stage with Grammy winner David Sanborn, to the Union Bank Electric Blues Stage with Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band, to the Mount Carmel Creekside Community Stage with Soul Kitch'n, and the Toyota Direct Acoustic Alley Stage with Bill Foley and John McNamee. We couldn't have asked for a more perfect evening to begin our anniversary celebration," she said.
Visit Gahanna, also known as the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau, serves as the producer of the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival.
Jadwin said the sudden pop-up storm June 16 provided a bit of a surprise, but she's grateful many people found shelter in one of Creekside's restaurants and businesses until the storm passed and stayed around to continue the party.
"We were able to have all four stages up and running with nominal delay, and every act that was scheduled for the evening was able to perform," she said.
Gahanna resident Britany Martindale said she and her family live two blocks away from Creekside.
"We had our engagement photos taken here and went to Gahanna Christian Academy," she said of her and husband, Nick.
Martindale said she and her husband enjoy the food and bands at the festival.
Their daughter Juliette, 3, had a caricature drawn by Jamie Rockwell of Over the Line productions during their visit. Son Jack, 1, also was along for the family outing.
Gahanna's Alicia Morris said she has attended the festival for the past 15 years.
"It signifies the beginning of summer," she said.
Alexander Chrisley said he and his family are new Gahanna residents.
"This is our first time out," he said. "We thought we'd check it out since there was so much traffic. We like jazz. It seems pretty cool."
Columbus residents Otis and Jennese Sowell are regular attendees.
"I'm into my blues and jazz," he said. "It's a very nice setting. I'm just here to enjoy the music. They have good groups every year, and I've never been disappointed."
Reynoldsburg resident Katie Crawford said she and her husband, Justin, wanted to enjoy the music and food.
Their daughter, Aubrey, 3, was intrigued with the Living Statue on Creekside Plaza and mimicked his movements.
Jadwin said she received great feedback from attendees and musicians on the new layout for the Jazz Stage, and the consolidated shuttle operations, departing from AEP Ohio, 700 Morrison Road, resulted in a much faster and more efficient transport of attendees throughout the weekend.
"Our hundreds of volunteers were warriors throughout the weekend, sharing their time and talents in the heat and rain to help us present a first class, family-friendly event," she said. "Overall, it was a phenomenal weekend of 'firsts' for the festival and for Gahanna.
"We welcomed a multi-Grammy winner, featured seven headliners, welcomed thousands of visitors and residents, and were able to utilize the festival to generate extensive promotion for Gahanna and the Creekside district.
"We look forward to getting started in planning for #2019cbjf," Jadwin said.