What to Know Before You Go: Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival



Gahanna, Ohio’s largest annual event is happening this weekend (June 14-16)!  With 90 hours of music, 5 stages, the Giant Eagle Family Fun Zone, Cocktail Tastings, amusement rides, comedians, magicians and MUCH more–it promises fun for all ages. Here’s the skinny on what to know before you go …

  1. Times/Dates/Venue
    The 3-day event will be presented this weekend, June 14-16 at Creekside Gahanna (117 Mill St. Gahanna, OH 43230). Hours: Friday 5-11 pm / 11 am-11 pm Saturday / 12-6 Sunday
  2. The Musical Line-Up.
    50 bands/acts will perform at the event, on 5 different stages. This year’s headliners include John Scofield, Joe Louis Walker, Vanessa Collier, John Nemeth and Sarah Morrow (performing with Urban Jazz Coalition). See the full schedule.  Festival maps/schedules will be available at the gates.


  3. Admission. 
    Weekend passes (available online only 6.14):  $24
    Daily adult tickets: $10 Friday or Saturday  /  $7 Sunday
    Kids (ages 4-11) = $5
    Kids under age 4/  Military (+1) = Free
    Free admission 11:30 am-12:30 pm Sunday (6.16) with the donation of one new, individually wrapped, travel size personal care item to benefit Gahanna Neighborhood Bridges. (i.e. Mini-shampoo, soap, deodorant, hand lotion, etc.)
  4. Party Like a VIP.
    VIP reserved seats and tables are available in Club Blues (at the Union Bank Blues Stage) and All That Jazz (at the Heartland Bank Jazz Stage). Packages include admission, reserved seat with direct views of the stage (come and go as you please), a beverage token, access to private restrooms, a Festival Swag Bag and more.  These are a great way to get a bird’s eye view of your favorite artists (instead of being left standing). Seats are limited – and are available per day or all weekend. Reserve your VIP spot now.


  5. Parking/ Shuttle.
    Shuttles to the Festival will run from AEP Ohio located at 700 Morrison Rd. (Parking available there.) Overflow parking is also available at Gahanna Lincoln High School, with shuttle pick-up/drop-off there, as well. (140 S. Hamilton Rd.) These are handicap-accessible shuttles. Shuttles run:  Friday    4:30pm–12am /  Saturday  11am–12am  /  Sunday  11am–7pm

    Shuttle to Family Fun Zone (ONLY) will run from the Columbus Public Library Distribution Center (101 S. Stygler Rd.) This shuttle does NOT drop off or pick up at the main Festival grounds.

    The Creekside Parking Garage will be open throughout the festival weekend. Entrance is located near the intersection of Mill and North Streets; accessible only by traveling south on Mill Street.  Event parking will be collected at entrance to garage.  Festival Admission also will be collected for all cars parking in garage. Cash or Credit Cards are accepted at garage entrance. (Note: Tickets pre-purchased online in advance will be accepted at garage entrance.)

    FREE park-and-walk public parking is available at Friendship Park (150 Oklahoma), Shull Park (236 Granville Street), Gahanna Lincoln High School (140 S. Hamilton Rd.) and Clark Hall (380 Granville St.).


  6. Giant Eagle Family Fun Zone/ Amusement Rides
    2-7 pm / Sun. 12-4 pm (Veterans Memorial Park – 73 W. Johnstown Rd.) — FREE. Doesn’t require Festival admission.  (Note: Amusement rides are also located in this area—and DO require the purchase of tickets or wristbands to ride. Ride-all-day wristbands: $15 Friday or Sunday/ $18 Saturday.)

    The Giant Eagle Family Fun Zone offers free crafts, games and activities that the entire family can enjoy.  Cuddle with cute turtles, visit a petting zoo, play a game or make a craft to take home as a souvenir of your fun festival day.

    NOTE:  The ONLY shuttle that runs specifically to the Family Fun Zone–picks-up/drops-off at the Columbus Metro Library Operations Center (101 S. Stygler Rd.), where parking is available.   The shuttles running from AEP Columbus do NOT stop at the Family Fun Zone, but it is walkable from the Main Festival Footprint.

  7. Cocktail Tastings. (Creekside Plaza – 117 Mill St.)
    6-10 pm Friday (6/14) Cocktail Tastings with Noble Cut Distillery + Simple Times Mixers. 

    Join Gahanna’s Noble Cut Distillery and Simple Times Mixers as they show you how to craft the perfect combination of whiskeys, Limoncellos and mixers to create unique and delicious cocktails. The craft cocktail tastings will be offered on Friday evening of the Festival (June 14) at Creekside Plaza. 4 cocktail samples/$15.  Seatings will be offered every 45 minutes, 6-10 pm. Seats are limited. Online reservations are strongly encouraged. Must be 21+.

    5-8 pm Saturday (6/15) Bourbon and Whiskey Tastings with Whiskey Pete
    Pete Wagner, Whiskey Ambassador to Brown-Forman, will entertain and educate you as he discusses the evolution of whiskey and the fine distinctions between varieties of bourbon and whiskey. Sample a flight of whiskeys or bourbon including some of Brown-Forman’s newest offerings. 3 samples/$10.  5 samples/$15.  Seatings offered every 30 minutes; 5-8 pm Saturday, June 15. Online reservations are strongly encouraged. Seats are limited. Must be 21+.

  8. Food & Drink.
    There are dozens of food and drink vendors throughout the Festival. Additionally, there are many restaurants in the Creekside District.
  9. FAQ’s.
    Check out our list of Frequently Asked Questions. Note: No coolers or pets (other than service animals) are permitted. While seats are provided at all of the stages, guests may bring their own folding chairs.

Have additional questions?  Check CreeksideBluesandJazz.com or call Visit Gahanna 6141/418-9114. While visiting the Festival, be sure to share your #2019CBJF photos (and the hashtag) to share the Festival love! 




InnerVision Shines at the 2019 Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival


Making their Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival® debut this year is InnerVision, playing at 12:30 pm Sunday on the Electric Blues Stage, presented by Union Bank. This talented duo has a remarkable story.


Genene Blackwell and Sam Shepherd make up InnerVision. The two artists lost their vision as infants, but began to hone their skills as musicians starting early in their childhood. Genene and Sam are lifelong friends and make for a truly special duo. Genene Blackwell is a vocalist and keyboardist. Sam Shepherd is also a vocalist, and plays the harmonica, trombone and guitar.

These two Ohio natives grew up in Westerville and have been close friends since preschool. Music has always been an intrinsic part of the duo’s friendship–whether they were imitating popular artists on the bus, or performing in the world’s only blind marching band, The Ohio State School for the Blind Marching Panthers. As early as high school, the two knew they wanted to play music for the rest of their lives. With this dream in mind, InnerVision was born in 2009.

Since then, InnerVision has experienced tremendous success since their humble beginnings of playing in hospitals and nursing homes. Their accomplishments include:

  • 2016 International Blues Challenge
  • Solo/Duo Runners-Up (Memphis)
  • 2016 International Blues Challenge
  • Lee Oskar Best Harmonica Winner (Memphis)
  • 2015 Debut CD “InnerVision” (Nashville)
  • 2015 Columbus Blues Challenge
  • Solo/Duo Winner 2015 Worthington’s Got Talent Winner

These illustrious accomplishments are a testament to the duo’s skills and their passion for music. While the two have their roots in blues, they do not limit themselves to the one genre. In addition to blues, Genene and Sam are adept in Pop, Dance, and R&B. InnerVision plays more than 150 songs that include both covers and originals.

Don’t miss their #2019CBJF performance at 12:30 pm Sunday on the Blues Stage.


For tickets, parking, a schedule and additional information about Visit Gahanna’s 2019 Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, go to www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com or call 614/419-9114.

The Mighty Troubadours Make Their Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival Debut


Visit Gahanna’s Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival® is proud to welcome The Mighty Troubadours to the Acoustic Alley Stage (presented by Toyota Direct) this weekend (June 14-16)! The band’s 4:15 pm Sat, June 15 performance will mark their first-ever #CBJF appearance. We caught up with member Joe Gardina to get the low down on the band …


How was The Mighty Troubadours started and when?
The Band actually started off performing as a duo in 2008. Joe Gardina and Chris Swanson found that they had unique qualities in their rich vocal harmonies. The power of Chris’s guitar solos and the percussive sounds of Joe’s Mandolin created inspired duo compositions. Meanwhile a very hip weekly Bluegrass Jam was developing at Columbus’s best live music bar, Dick’s Den! The (now) co-owner of the Bar, Aaron Snyder, was leading the jam, and had been blazing a trail for aspiring bluegrass musicians in Columbus (and beyond) to come and play at the Jam every week! Joe and Aaron sang together as house-band guns for a year or so before finally realizing that The Mighty Troubadours needed Aaron’s incomparable rhythm guitar playing and third part harmony. It was at the Jam where they also added a few more heavyweights in the C-bus music scene: Kevin Hagans on Violin, Andicus on Upright Bass and Josh Heber on drums!

How would you describe your musical style?
The Mighty Troubadours are a vocally-oriented string-band that offers an eclectic blend of traditional and contemporary bluegrass music.

Which artists inspire your sound?
Darrell Scott, John Hartford, New Grass Revival, Devil Makes Three, David Grisman, etc.

Do you have a favorite song to play?
That’s too difficult to choose.

What can your CBJF audience expect from your performance?
Heartfelt powerful harmonious singing and playing, plus lots of foot-tapping and knee-slapping!

Outside of music, what are some talents your members have?
Aaron Snyder is the Co-owner of Dick’s Den Music bar. Joe Gardina is the Entertainment Director for The Refectory’s popular Dinner Music Series (Columbus’s most intimate dinner-and-a-show)!

You can catch the Mighty Troubadours on the Acoustic Alley Stage, presented by Toyota Direct, this Saturday, June 15 at 4:15pm. For tickets, a full schedule, parking and other Festival information, go to CreeksideBluesandJazz.com or call 614/418-9114.




Creekside Festival Donations Benefit Gahanna Neighborhood Bridges


The 21st annual Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival® (CBJF) is just around the corner (June 14-16)! You know that there will be 90 hours of amazing music and performances, but did you know that you can get in FREE from 11:30 am-12:30 pm Sunday, June 16 while also supporting a great cause?


Just bring at least one NEW travel-size, individually wrapped personal care item (per person) to donate to Gahanna Neighborhood Bridges. The charitable organization works to aid local children and families in need. The Neighborhood Bridges program helps more than 14,000 people in over 13 communities (including Gahanna of course!), addressing more than 900 different needs.   These particular CBJF donations will be slated for a specific mission.

Ron Pic 18

“We are using the donations to equip ‘personal care closets’ at Gahanna Lincoln High School and the three middle schools in Gahanna,” said Ron Smith, Director of Gahanna Neighborhood Bridges. “Additional items donated will be used to help us to do the same for the high schools and middle schools in other areas served by Neighborhood Bridges around Central Ohio (another 7 communities). We hope to help 2,500 students through the donations collected at the festival.”

Suggested donations:

  • Shampoo
  • Conditioner
  • Razors
  • Soap
  • Hand Lotion
  • Deodorant
  • Feminine Care Products
  • Combs
  • Brushes

 (Remember, these items must be NEW, travel-sized, and individually wrapped personal care items.)


Bring your friends (or your Dad … to celebrate Father’s Day), and your donations between 11:30 am-12:30 pm Sunday to take advantage of the free admission offer.  You’ll have a great time enjoying music, food, and more while supporting a great cause that helps the Gahanna community.


For tickets, a schedule or to learn more about the 21st annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, go to CreeksideBluesandJazz.com. Share your photos of the event with the hashtag #2019CBJF! 

Molly Pauken: Multi-instrumentalist and Member of the Sirens


Molly Pauken, along with Kay Harris and Pete Cary, come together as the band Sirens. Sirens music is all about the unique melody, the expression through lyric, voice and the texture of acoustic guitar and bass coming together to create unique but timeless pop songs. Sirens music integrates pop, rock, Americana, funk and  folk to produce a sound all their own. Molly and the Sirens are performing at the 2019 Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival® (CBJF) June 14-16 in Gahanna, Ohio. The group will perform from 1:45 – 3 pm Sunday, June 16 on the Toyota Direct Acoustic Alley Stage. We had the chance to talk to Molly to learn more about the band and their upcoming performance.


How long have you been a musician?
I’ve been playing music ever since my dad taught me ukulele when I was six years old. I’ve been a full time professional musician since 1991.


Who inspired you initially?
My dad, uncles and cousins inspired me initially. They are professional musicians. They were always playing instruments and I always tagged along, picking up whatever I could by listening and watching. The Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, Jim Croce and Stevie Wonder were among my first and favorite artists. There are so many more. I love Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder because they are multi-instrumentalists and have written some of the best songs of all time.

What’s your favorite song to perform?
Wow, I don’t have a favorite song to play but I never get tired of playing anything funky or high- energy!

What’s your favorite kind of music to listen to?
I love listening to any traditional Jazz; specifically Oscar Peterson, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Duke Ellington and John Coltrane. I never tire of the Beatles, Aretha Franklin, John Scofield, Gladys Knight and Stevie Wonder. My favorite current musicians are Vulfpeck, John Scofield and Julian Lage.

If you could meet up and play with any legendary musician (dead or alive), who would it be?
I would love to meet Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder because they are still playing after all these years because they still love to perform. They are also my major music influencers.


What will you be performing/bringing to the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival?
I will be performing on bass guitar and acoustic guitar with my trio Sirens – Kay Harris (vocals) Pete Cary ( electric guitar). We play Americana and Funky / bluesy originals as well as our favorite cover artists.

Where can fans learn more about you and your music?    

Fans can find us on Facebook, ReverbNation, and some of our songs are on YouTube, iTunes, Amazon Music and Spotify (listed below).

Everything” written and performed by Kay Harris and Molly Pauken
Gets You” written and performed by Kay Harris and Molly Pauken
Confessions of an Optimist, (also available on Amazon Music and Spotify).



For a complete schedule of entertainment, plus shuttle, parking  and additional information, go to CreeksideBluesandJazz.com. Interested in scoring a complimentary weekend pass and Tshirt?  Use the #2019CBJF hashtag on social media to share or create posts about the Festival. We’ll pick 40 Jambassadors at random (before 6.14.19) to score some swag! Questions? Call 614/418-9114.

CBJF Story: Paul Gregory Whitt


Paul Whitt has been passionate about music for more than 30 years. He will be playing on the Toyota Direct Acoustic Alley Stage at the 2019 Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival® (CBJF) on Saturday, June 15 from 2:30-4:00 pm. Paul recently shared his story with us–including what inspires him.


How do you describe the kind of music you play?
I play instrumental/ solo acoustic guitar.

How long have you been a musician?
I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 13, so about 32 years now.

What instrument(s) do you play?
For the last 15-20 years, I have played the nylon string guitar and classical guitar.

Who inspired you initially?
I remember listening to my friend Fred and his dad play their Stratocaster electric guitars and liking that sound. I listened to early Aerosmith and George Thorogood for quite some time. My brothers would show me how to fret a simple barre chord so I could start playing songs. I would watch in awe as my Uncle Frank played AC/DC leads and rhythms as if he wrote them. Then I started listening to Randy Rhoads and Yngwie Malmsteen. Everyday since I was 13, I would practice different genres of music at least 1-2 hours a day, all leading up to what I do and perform now.

What’s your (current) favorite song to perform? Why?
Tico Tico or Tango en Skai are both still challenging for me, but fun to perform. Some of my own songs are fun too, because they have a beat and I get to open up on my soloing.

What’s your favorite kind of music to listen to? Who are your favorite bands/ artists now?
I still enjoy 70s and 80s hits. I like a little from all different kinds of music. I get tired of saturating myself with guitar music as well, so it changes up from time to time. I still like Hall and Oates and any music that has catchy melodies – those are fun to turn into guitar instrumentals. Most of the music I listen to are song selections for gigs that I get hired to do. I spend a lot of time customizing songs for people that hire me to play for their private events or wedding ceremonies.

If you could meet up and play with any legendary musician (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
Charo. I think she’d be a lot of fun, and she’s an incredibly talented guitarist. Her songs are variations of Flamenco and Spanish classics that she does with a dance mix to kind of update the music. Other than her, I would want to play with someone that I’m going to compliment their instrument or voice and not compete with them.

What will you be performing/bringing to the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival?
I will be doing a mix of styles of rhythm such as Samba, Tangos, Bossa Nova, as well as Flamenco, Jazz and Classical guitar. Some will be Spanish Classical like Spanish Dance No.5 and Missionera, some Jazz Standards like Fly Me to the Moon, Brazil, and my own material as well. Some songs will just be completely solo guitar and some songs I use a loop effect to play a few measures and then harmonize notes and or solo over that.  All played on nylon string acoustic electric guitars. I will use my Alvarez Cadiz Flamenco and my Godin Multiac nylon string guitar, both dependable and powerful guitars for live guitar performances.  

What do you hope fans take away from your performance?
I want them to see that the guitar can be a lifetime journey that never stops, and there is always room to learn more and enjoy playing or listening to the guitar. At times it seems like the possibilities are endless with the guitar, and I want to show some of that at Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival.

Where can fans learn more about you and your music (online)?
They can google ‘PaulGregoryWhitt solo guitar’. There are several sites that have info on me or go to http://www.gigmasters.com/sologuitar  or https://www.reverbnation.com/paulgregorywhittsologuitar  for more info.


For a complete schedule of entertainment, plus shuttle, parking  and additional information, go to CreeksideBluesandJazz.com. Interested in scoring a complimentary weekend pass and Tshirt?  Use the #2019CBJF hashtag on social media to share or create posts about the Festival. We’ll pick 40 Jambassadors at random (before 6.14.19) to score some swag! Questions? Call 614/418-9114.

Thom Reed: Change it Up Charlie Founder and CBJF Performer & Committee Member


As a sixth-time Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival® (CBJF) performer and CBJF committee member, Thom Reed plays an important role in this music festival. Thom and his band, Change it Up Charlie, will be performing from 5:30 – 7 pm on Friday, June 14 on the Mount Carmel Creekside Community Stage. Want to know more about Thom? Check out his story below…

change it up charlie

How long have you been a musician?
Quite a long time! Probably about 30 years. I was about 15 years old when I picked up a bass guitar, and I have been continuing ever since. I also play some piano.

Who inspired you initially?
I’m more inspired musically. Of course bass players like Geezer Butler from Black Sabbath inspire me, but I also love horn players like Louis Armstrong and Miles Davis. I love a lot of music, and I jump genres like crazy – from blues and jazz to heavy metal. My playlist is quite interesting. Lately, I’ve been really liking Florence and the Machine. Their music writing is insane.

What’s your favorite song to perform? Why?
Change It Up Charlie is known for originals, but we also play classics and make it our own. We call it Outlaw Lounge, which means we do what we want (ha!). We’ll take modern songs and make them sound old. Two new songs we’ve arranged and are playing are Billie Jean (Michael Jackson) and Nobody’s Fool (Cinderella).  But we’ll be playing mostly upbeat, original songs, but also some slow songs. We play towards the audience because what works in a bar, doesn’t always translate well to a stage.

What’s your favorite kind of music to listen to? Who are your favorite bands/ artists now?
I listen to a wide range of music, but I generally listen to jazz, blues and alternative music. On certain days, I listen to country and metal. I also listen to Davina and the Vagabonds (another CBJF artist). I was a fan before we became friends which is a little backwards! I always say as a musician, keep an open mind and your music will be better.

When was your group formed? How did the members get together?
It’s been almost 10 years since we formed the group. My guitar player and I were in another band before when the lead singer moved and we needed a replacement. Our current lead singer, Holly, stepped in and we clicked instantly. Bob, Holly and I have been playing together for the last 10 years. We have two albums together with the third in the works. You can find our music almost everywhere – iTunes, Amazon Music, Spotify, YouTube and Pandora under Change it Up Charlie.

If you could meet up and play with any legendary musician (dead or alive), who would it be and why?
I’ve always wanted to meet Kurt Cobain. I saw him perform live a long time ago (around 1991) when tickets were only $3! I didn’t get the chance to meet him though. I’d also love to perform with Prince. I met some of his band members, but never got the opportunity to meet him. I’m a big Prince fan and was devastated when he passed. Other than those two, I would have loved to join Duke Ellington’s band backing up Louis Armstrong.

What do you hope fans take away from your performance?
We love for the fans to get involved and feel nostalgic. We like taking songs from our childhood and make it modern and our own. We often ask the audience to name the song before we get to the chorus! It’s just about getting the audience involved. I like to entertain; bring the audience into the show and make them happy.

Where can fans learn more about you and your music (online)?
Pretty much everywhere! Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, iTunes, Amazon music and Pandora.


For a complete schedule of entertainment, plus shuttle, parking  and additional information, go to CreeksideBluesandJazz.com. Interested in scoring a complimentary weekend pass and Tshirt?  Use the #2019CBJF hashtag on social media to share or create posts about the Festival. We’ll pick 40 Jambassadors at random (before 6.14.19) to score some swag! Questions? Call 614/418-9114.