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!

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