Get Ready for The Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival


The Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (CBJF) is Gahanna, Ohio’s largest annual signature event–bringing thousands of music fans together from all over the country to celebrate some of the most talented blues and jazz artists anywhere!  The 2019 CBJF will be held June 14-16 at Creekside Gahanna (117 Mill St.), featuring 90 hours of live music, performed by 50 bands on five stages … PLUS, mouth-watering cuisine, regional artisans and vendors, amusement rides, family activities and more! Now celebrating its 21st year, CBJF is recognized for delivering the “best blues and jazz in Ohio.”


This year, the popular Buskers Bayou stage will host a special “Comedy Hour” on Friday from 7-8 pm followed by a performance by magician Michael Kent at 8 pm. The Giant Eagle Family Fun Zone offers a free, family friendly area featuring hands-on crafts, games and activities. Family friendly activities include jugglers, storytellers and interactive musical workshops for kids. An artisan market, amusement rides, kayaking and other activities are also held throughout the three-day festival.

To jazz things up, new highlights this year include Cocktail Tastings on Friday with Noble Cut Distillery and Simple Times Mixers, and whiskey and bourbon tastings with “Whiskey Pete” on Saturday. CBJF will honor “Women of Blues” on Sunday with a performance by Vanessa Collier, a 2019 Blues Music Award Nominee–and several other local lady blues legends.


Other headliners include Joe Louis Walker, a Blues Hall of Fame inductee and four-time Blues Music Award winner, John Scofield,  a triple Grammy award winning artist, and John Nemeth, a blues and soul artist.

Located in the heart of Gahanna’s Creekside District, the CBJF is set against a breathtaking background of parkland, fountains and waterfalls … and local eateries with patio dining.  CBJF has something fun for the everyone: from listening to talented bands and kayaking along the creek, to enjoying a delicious dinner at one of the several restaurants located within the festival grounds, and enjoying activities with the kids in the Family Fun Zone.


Admission is $10 on Friday and Saturday, and $7 on Sunday. Admission for children ages 4-11 is $5 each day. Children under 4 and members of the military (plus one guest) with military ID are admitted for free. Weekend passes are available online prior to the festival weekend ($10 for children ages 4-11). Free admission on Sunday between 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. is available for each person who donates at least one travel-size toiletry item to benefit Gahanna Neighborhood Bridges. Ride-all-day wristbands are available each day for the amusement area.

The Festival is presented by Visit Gahanna and is made possible with the support of sponsors and the help of a dedicated corps of local volunteers. A complete schedule of entertainment, shuttle, parking  and additional information is available at Questions? Call 614/418-9114

Become a CBJF “Jambassador” by following on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest using the #2019CBJF hashtag for contests, special offers and more.

Deuce n’ a Quarter Reps Columbus at International Blues Challenge


9 Things You Should Know Before Coming to the 2018 Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival



June 15-17 marks the 20th anniversary of Visit Gahanna’s Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival in the city’s beautiful Creekside District (117 Mill St.)  The anniversary-worthy line-up features 5 stages with more than 50 performers—including 6-time Grammy Winner David Sanborn! With the outstanding line-up and MULTIPLE headliners, we expect record crowds. Here are some essential things you need to know in advance to help you have the BEST #CBJF experience possible …


    1. NEW IN 2018: ONE Central Parking and Shuttle Location To reduce traffic congestion, Festival Shuttles will pick-up/drop-off from AEP OHIO, 700 Morrison Rd. Gahanna, OH 43230. Shuttles will run every 20 minutes and will drop off visitors at the Main Admission Gate. The Creekside Parking Garage (123 Mill St.) will be open throughout the festival weekend, and offers limited parking for $5/car, adjacent to the event grounds. The Garage entrance is located near the intersection of Mill and North Streets; accessible only by traveling south on Mill Street.  Festival Admission also will be collected for all cars parking in garage.  (Note: Tickets purchased online in advance also will be accepted at garage entrance. BUY NOW.) 

      There are several parking lots near the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival that offer easy park-and-walk options. These include Friendship Park (150 Oklahoma Ave.), Shull Park (236 Granville St.), Gahanna Lincoln High School (140 S. Hamilton Rd.) and Clark Hall (380 Granville St.)

        FREE Park-and-Ride shuttle transportation to the Family Fun Zone/ Amusement Area (only) is available at: Giant Eagle (1250 North Hamilton Rd.)  Sponsored by Giant Eagle.


    2. Stage Locations.   The biggest change over previous years: the Jazz Stage (presented by Heartland Bank) & the Community Stage (presented by Mount Carmel Health) have switched locations. The Jazz Stage is located behind 77 Mill St. – and the Community Stage is now located near the intersection of North St. and Mill St.

      The Blues Stage (presented by The Union Bank Co.) is located at Town and High Streets; and the Acoustic Alley Stage (presented by Toyota Direct) is located at Creekside Plaza –across the bridge from Barrel & Boar. The NEW Music Discovery Teen Stage (presented by COTA) is located in the Giant Eagle Family Fun Zone (Veterans Park – 73 W. Johnston Rd.)

    3. VIP Packages.   With the number of outstanding world-class headliners and great bands in the #2018CBJF lineup, we anticipate BIG crowds for each day of the event. That could mean standing-room-only for some of the top performers. Don’t be left listening to your favorite blues or jazz musician from two blocks away. Reserve your VIP seat(s) in the Blues or Jazz stage area—and enjoy great stage views, access to a premium bar and VIP shuttle/parking.

      Davina and the Vagabonds 2

    4. Cocktail Tastings. 3 days, 3 partners= many delicious cocktails created just for #2018CBJF! All tastings are located at Creekside Plaza (117 Mill St.) Tickets are required and are available online or on the spot. Seats limited per session.   Join Watershed Distillery (6-10 pm Friday); Brown-Forman’s “Whiskey Pete” (2-5 pm Saturday); and Noble Cut Distillery (1-4 pm Sunday).
    5. Buskers Bayou. One of our most popular 2017 festival additions is BACK and better than before. The Buskers Bayou area (sponsored by Gahanna Rotary) will be located at the front of Creekside Plaza and include a variety of fun activities and acts like “The Living Statue” (Fri) and a performance by nationally-renown Magician Michael Kent (Sat).
    6. Tickets. Daily passes are available online or at the gate. Friday and Sunday general admission = $7/per person per day. Saturday = $10/per person. Weekend passes are available in advance  but ONLY online. Kids under 12 and Military (with ID) are free. On Sunday (June 17), get in FREE between 11:30 am-12:30 pm with a non-perishable food item (one per person) donation for Gahanna residents in need (GRIN).


    7. Free Giant Eagle Family Fun Zone!   (Saturday 2-7 pm / Sunday 1-4 pm) ~
      73 W. Johnstown Rd. Kids of all ages can enjoy free crafts, games and activities Saturday and Sunday.  Whether learning about rhythms and melodies from musicians from the Jazz Arts Group or Columbus Blues Alliance, cuddling with cute turtles, snapping a photo of yourself in the Buckeye “locker room,” playing a game, or making a craft to take home as a souvenir of your fun festival day, the Family Fun Zone has it all!   AMUSEMENT RIDES are also located in this area—and these DO require the purchase of tickets or a wristband.

      NOTE:  Free parking and shuttle service directly to and from the Giant Eagle Family Fun Zone and amusement ride area ONLY is available at Giant Eagle, 1250 N. Hamilton Road, Gahanna, OH.

    8. Plan Ahead. If you want to plan your visit in advance, download a copy of our CBJF footprint map.  Print copies—with a full schedule of events—will be provided to visitors at the gate.) Check our FAQs for details on commonly asked questions.
    9. ENJOY! With 50+ bands– there will be something for all musical tastes.
      Be sure to share your Festival photos on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter using the #2018CBJF hashtag! 

MyCBJFStory: Joe Callison


To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (CBJF) in Gahanna, Ohio (June 15-17), we’re sharing some of our favorite stories through a #MyCBJFStory series.


The Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival has become a tradition for many, even our volunteers! We’re lucky enough to have some of the most dedicated volunteers in this community. Our vendor coordinator, Joe Callison, has dedicated many hours of his time to help make this festival one of the best in Ohio, and we took a walk down memory lane to learn about how he became involved with CBJF.

How did you become involved with the CBJF (and what was your first year)?
2004 was the first year that I volunteered at the festival, with the Gahanna Jaycees. I actually lived in Beavercreek (near Dayton) at the time and was a member of the Jaycees there. I was also a state officer with the Ohio Jaycees and I came up to help out the local chapter. Back then, the Gahanna Jaycees provided manpower for the VIP/Sponsor event in the parking lot of the old post office on Mill St.

What made you want to become involved with CBJF?
In 2005, I had moved to Gahanna and joined the Jaycees here. Once again, we provide manpower for the VIP/Sponsors event.  I became the President of the Gahanna Jaycees in January of 2006 and had a meeting with Mayor Stinchcomb. She put me in contact with her representative on the committee and he told me when the next meeting was being held.  The committee meetings are during the day and I work nights, so I was available, and here we are 12+ years later.

How did you become the Vendor Coordinator?
The first couple of years, I was just sort of a general committee member and helped out wherever it was needed.  When we started having the service organizations manning the beverage booths, I became the coordinator for that. But I still helped with other areas of the festival, as well.  I helped the Admissions Coordinator, and during set-up, I helped the Vendor Coordinator. So, I got to know many of the vendors and how that all worked. I was reluctant at first about taking on that much responsibility.  But, I came to realize just how integral the vendors are to the overall festival experience and how important that is to the Gahanna community.

On average, how many hours per year would you say you volunteer as part of the festival?  
I tried to figure that out at one time.  I should probably try to track it more closely.  Nonetheless, if I had to guess, I’d say it’s easily 120 hours or more per year with all the meetings, planning sessions, and prep work.  Of course, during the weekend of the festival, I probably put in at least 40 hours. As do many of the committee members and volunteers.

Rumor is that you met your wife, through volunteering at the Festival?  
That is actually not true.  In fact, it’s the other way around.  Kristi and I met through the Jaycees, long before I became involved with the festival and she is the reason I moved to Gahanna.  I ended up getting her more involved with the festival committee, by convincing her to be the Volunteer Coordinator. She did that for the CBJF and Holiday Lights until about 5 years ago, after our daughter was born.

What’s your favorite thing about the Festival?  
It’s family.  Not just my actual family, who come out and volunteer every year, but my fellow committee members and the volunteers who come back year after year.  And, of course, the vendors who I’ve gotten to know so well. We all genuinely care about each other and we all care about the success of the event. Honestly, that’s what keeps me coming back each year.  Plus, I love the music, food and the people.

What makes CBJF different than other Central Ohio music festivals?  
The biggest difference is the diversity of our programming.  We have 6 stages with all different types of entertainment. Obviously we have blues and jazz music, but there is also some swing music; some bluegrass; some country; a little ska; maybe some rock; and some R & B.  All of the other music festivals seem to focus on a single genre and do a lot less with bigger budgets. Another thing that I think sets us apart is our location in Olde Gahanna. I think there’s a hometown feel that you just don’t find at too many other festivals.  

One of my favorite CBJF memories:  
One of the first years that the Gahanna Jaycees worked a beer booth.  There was a serious shortage of $1 bills and we had to make change out of the tip jars.  So, the Jaycees decided to have some fun with it. Every time a customer would pay with exact change or gave us a tip, we would give them a cheer.  We were making a lot of noise and having a ton of fun. We actually had people who would walk from the other end of the festival, past other beer booths, just to buy beer from the Jaycees.


Got a #CBJF story? Email it to  and you just might snag some complimentary event wristbands. Take advantage of early bird ticket discounts and buy your tickets online here!


MyCBJFStory: Swing’s the Thing Big Band as Told by Mark Watson


To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (CBJF) in Gahanna, Ohio (June 15-17), we’re sharing some of our favorite stories through a #MyCBJFStory series.


Swing’s the Thing is a local 16-piece band that covers a wide range of dancing music that includes swing, rock, ballad, blues, cha cha, rumba, mambo, samba, waltz, disco, foxtrot and polka. We talked to Mark Watson, one of the 16 members of the band to get to know the band a little better in preparation for their performance at the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival where they’ll perform on the Mount Carmel Stage on Saturday, June 16 from 3:30-5 pm.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in music?
Everyone in our group got started at a young age, probably at the grade school level, and at that time were most likely inspired by our individual teachers and band/orchestra directors.

Does the band have a favorite song to perform?
Musicians all have their favorite songs that they perform. We carry around 400 tunes in our active book, so it is very difficult to single out a particular favorite since there are many.

Describe one of your best experiences/memories relating to your fans?
Applause, smiles on the faces looking back at you are always something that means so much to us and when people come up after a performance saying how much they enjoyed themselves – that’s the payoff. That’s letting you know that all of the practice and planning that goes into the “gig” was worth our time and effort. As well as concerts and festivals, we also play for private functions such as wedding receptions. On occasion, we will see a couple whose reception we played for and they will bring their children to listen. It’s always fun to see them and their new families.

What can fans expect from the band’s performance?
“Swing’s the Thing” Big Band has always prided itself in the energy we bring to the stage whether it’s playing the ‘old standards’ or the newer music that we like to play. When we perform, we like to keep things moving with more music and less talk.

How many times has the band performed at CBJF in the past?
I haven’t kept close track, but I believe this will proudly be our 13th or 14th performance at the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival.

What do you like most about the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival?
There are many music festivals all around this part of the midwest but the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival has clearly distinguished itself. Certainly, what we as musicians like best is the opportunity this festival provides for local musicians to show their stuff to an appreciative audience.


Got a #CBJF story? Email it to  and you just might snag some complimentary event wristbands. Take advantage of early bird ticket discounts and buy your tickets online here!

MyCBJFStory: Angela Perley


To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival in Gahanna, Ohio (June 15-17), we’re sharing some of our favorite stories through a #MyCBJFStory series.

unnamed (1).jpg

If you like a high-energy performance, you’ll love Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons. We had the opportunity to hear about her background, inspirations and a few of her favorite things in preparation for her performance at CBJF.  You can listen to Angela Perley & The Howlin’ Moons perform on the Mount Carmel Creekside Community Stage from 9:30-11 pm on Saturday, June 16.

How did you get your start as a musician?
I took piano and violin lessons growing up, and in high school I taught myself how to play basic chords on guitar. The guitar sparked my interest in songwriting and performing. My first shows were mainly at school talent shows and local coffee shops.

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I guess it hit me at the end of college. I realized most of my time and happiness revolved around music, and although it terrified me to think of that as a career option, music just took over and I embraced it.

Who inspires you?
Artists like Lucinda Williams, John Prine, PJ Harvey and Nick Cave who are still making incredible music and still evolving. There’s a lot of hype out there and a lot of superficial music made for consumerism, so what inspires me are the artists that have always been true to themselves and their craft and have made their own path.

Do you have a favorite song that you perform?
No favorites, although I am very much enjoying playing the new songs we have been working on for our next record out live. They are in their baby-forms right now, so they are scary and exciting to play live which keeps us on our toes.

Describe one of your best experiences/memories relating to your fans?
That’s a tough one! In general, hugs, smiles and tears always get me. Whenever someone tells us how much our music means to them or how it has gotten them through a tough time in their life that is very meaningful to me. Also the dedication and support of people not just coming to one show of ours, but coming to 50+ shows a year and traveling to see the band is pretty sweet.

We’re looking forward to your performance at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival!  What can fans expect from your performance?We are too! We are going to have a high energy set with some new songs we’ve been working on sprinkled in there, so they can expect a little bit of everything.  

How many times have you performed at CBJF in the past?
I’m horrible with exact numbers but we have played several times now and it has become somewhat of a hometown tradition for us to play, so we are always pumped when it comes around. Feels like the true kick-off of the summer festival season to us!

What do you like most about the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival?
I love how community focused it is and how diverse the local and regional band lineup is at Creekside Blues & Jazz Fest. I also love the setting, it’s a big fest but feels intimate. It’s lovely to hear music playing and at the same time see people enjoying the park and the creek.

Got a #CBJF story? Email it to  and you just might snag some complimentary event wristbands. Take advantage of early bird ticket discounts and buy your tickets online here!


MyCBJFStory: Josh Hoyer


To celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (CBJF) in Gahanna, Ohio (June 15-17), we’re sharing some of our favorite stories through a #MyCBJFStory series.


If you’re a fan of the hit T.V. show, The Voice, this musician’s name may sound familiar to you. You may recognize Josh Hoyer from his soul/funk/R&B band or you might recognize him from being a contestant on The Voice, as a part of Blake Shelton’s team. We had the pleasure of getting to know a little more about this rising star, recently. You can look for Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal to perform on the Mount Carmel Community Stage from 7-8:30 pm on Friday, June 15.

How did you get your start as a musician?
I first performed at 6 years old. I used to sing and dance in the house all the time. When I was 6, my parents entered me into a talent show at the high school where my father was a teacher. I sang “Hurts So Good” by John Cougar Mellencamp. I’ve been performing ever since!

When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I have always loved music and it has always been a huge part of my life. All through my public education, I took as many band and choir classes as possible. Often, that was 4 classes a day. After high school, I continued to play music, and played in many bands and jam sessions. When I returned home from New Orleans in 2003, I got my first touring gig as a saxophone player for EC Scott out of Oakland, CA. And,  even though I finished my college degree and have worked a couple other jobs since then (namely a stint as a homeless outreach worker), I believe that is when I first knew that I wanted to pursue a career as a musician. Fifteen years later, after much hard work, I now lead an internationally touring band that has released 3 studio albums and 2 live albums to critical acclaim!

Who inspires you?
I am inspired by many people, but first and foremost are my parents, my wife and my children. They are my rock and my reason for trying my best in life. I have been very blessed to have such wonderful people in my immediate family that are caring, thoughtful, hard-working and genuine people.

Do you have a favorite song that you perform?
I love all of the music that our band plays. If there was a song I really wasn’t “feeling”, it would no longer be in the set. For Soul music, in particular, I feel it is essential that the singer and band connects with each song. That it breathes within them. If you aren’t being genuine in this style of music, it has very little value. People need to FEEL you. I would say, right now, my favorite is likely a song about my daughter, called “Clara Jayne.” However, I pride myself on the fact that songs I wrote 5 years ago, feel as immediate and as honest as they did then. In my book, that is what makes a great song!

Describe one of your best experiences/memories relating to your fans?
Reaching the  listener is what playing music is all about! We’ve been very blessed to meet great people all over the world through our music. Those connections and that spiritual bond that happens in a live performance are what keep us going in this very difficult and turbulent business. In Germany last year, a gentlemen came to three separate performances; for two of them– he drove more than 100 miles to attend. After the last of those shows he came up and introduced himself. He said he had been having a very hard time in life: an illness, a death in the family and a broken home. He said that even though he worked full-time as a roofer (in his late 50s), that our music was a huge inspiration to him. He loved how we played with full hearts, giving everything we had night after night. It reminded him that he wasn’t alone and that he, too, wanted to keep giving it all he had. That, to me, is what this is all about!

We’re looking forward to your performance at the 20th anniversary celebration of the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival!  What can fans expect from your performance?
You can expect to hear some of the finest players in the world. The fellas in the band are incredibly talented and full of heart! We will play you songs about love, family and loss; about positivity, fighting for justice and trying to do the right thing; about spirit, Soul and what we all have in common. Musically, we borrow from the greats in Blues, Soul, Funk and Jazz to create songs that stand on their own in modern times. We will sweat, smile, pulse, groove and soar with the power of music and try to connect each and every listener in the moment. In the end – we will have a HUGE amount of fun! Really looking forward to playing for you all!!!


Got a #CBJF story? Email it to  and you just might snag some complimentary event wristbands. Take advantage of early bird ticket discounts and buy your tickets online here!