Chalk Goblin Scares up Artistic Fun at Gahanna Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival

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Chalk-dragonsNew this year at Visit Gahanna’s 19th annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (June 16-18) is the Buskers’ Bayou area (presented by Gahanna Rotary) featuring magicians, painters and chalk artist Chris Fry, the “Chalk Goblin.” We wondered …  how does one build a career creating temporary chalk masterpieces on pavement? So we caught up with Chris for a little one-on-one:

When did you start doing chalk art? 
I’ve drawn with chalk and pastels for years, but I first started drawing on the ground around 13 years ago.

What inspires your work? 
Mostly my own imagination — my head has always been full of trolls, dragons, and other weird creatures.  My daughters give me a lot of inspiration as well — I try to create images that they’ll think are fun and cool.

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How long does it take (on average) to create one of your works? 
Depends on the size of the piece… On average, it takes 3 to 4 hours to get it to the point where I can call it finished.  If time (and weather!) allows, I’ll keep adding on until it becomes something more than I first pictured, which is when it gets to be fun.

Where have you created your works? (ie. Festivals/ events/ etc.) 
I’ve done chalk festivals like Via Colori in Columbus, Chalk About It in Dayton, the Columbus Arts Festival, and Chalk the Block at Easton every fall.  I’ve done chalking at other art or community events all across Ohio, from a food truck rally in Kenton to the Fourth of July celebration in Hudson to the Sternwheeler Festival in Pomeroy.  Last year, I did two nights of chalk art for Highball Halloween, which was a lot of fun.  I also do a lot of promotional and advertising chalk art for local concerts and events around Cleveland and Columbus. 

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Which of your designs has garnered the most attention? 
My first year of the Easton Chalk the Block event, I did a large, bright red phoenix being ridden by three colorful explorers (my three daughters); to this day, people still recognize me for that piece, which makes me smile.  However, I once drew a concert promo featuring the logo for the band Journey, which they then shared on their Facebook page, earning me 12,000 likes, which was also pretty cool.  🙂

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What are your favorite subjects? 
I like drawing dragons and other fantastical creatures.  Subjects like that allow you to have fun with color and composition without having to worry about it looking “realistic” enough.  I try to steer away from things that are too serious when drawing on the ground.

What can visitors expect to see from you on Saturday during the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival? 
 Something fanciful and maybe just a little bit off-beat.  Something that will hopefully fit the mood of the music.

Any tips for folks who might want to try their hand at chalk art? 
Just go out and do it.  Don’t be afraid to not have a plan, and don’t be intimidated by the size of the space.  Just start drawing and coloring, and go with what feels right.  If it doesn’t turn out, no big deal; it’ll wash away soon and you can try again.

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Do you have a favorite design that you created? 
Each time I finish a piece, that tends to be my favorite, until the next one.

Does the fact that your art is temporary ever prove discouraging? 
Only if the rain comes and it starts disappearing before I’m done (which has happened more than once).  Once I’ve finished, I just want it to stick around long enough for folks to enjoy it.  After that, I’m ready to move on to the next one.

Where can you be found on social media?
http://www.chalkgoblin.com   /  Facebook.com/chalkgoblin
Twitter @chalkgoblin.  I sometimes post to Instagram using @chalkgoblin, but I hate hashtags, so no one can ever find my stuff there.  🙂

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See Chris work his artistic Chalk Magic in Buskers Bayou (located at South Mill & Granville St.) from 5-8 pm Saturday, June 17 at the Gahanna, Ohio Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival (117 Mill St.)  For tickets and a full 3-day event schedule, go to www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com

 

Gahanna Artist’s “Rustic” Creations Garner International Attention

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Using cast-off license plates in unique ways, Gahanna Ohio resident and artist Floyd Appleman has created a thriving business called Rustic Apple Art that is capturing international attention. As fans of his work (after he participated in our Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau events including the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival and Holiday Lights Celebration) we chatted with Floyd to learn more about his journey … 

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What is Rustic Apple Art and when was it established?
We create and sell license plate signs, art, and other rustic pieces.  I created it in early 2015 and we have grown a lot in a short time.

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What inspired you to start creating this kind of art?
My mom was an avid crafter and decorator when I was growing up (and she still is).  She decorated our house, at first for every holiday, and has moved into a theme for every month. (June features cows for national dairy month.)  My dad LOVES cars and I have been to many car shows with him over the years (’56 Chevy Bel Aire is his favorite).  The combination of my hobbies through the years and my mom and dad’s influences helped inspire me to create Rustic Apple Art.

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What is your background?  
I have degree in Finance from The Ohio State University and a “masters” in enjoying colors, travel, and people, which go along nicely with collecting and creating with license plates.  I enjoy creating pieces for people when they bring me their plates.  To hear the stories of a family’s travels and life experiences when they had those plates along for the ride makes the art piece—made with those plates—mean so much more to my customers. I love being able to help customers create a nostalgic art piece out of something that was previously stored in a box in the garage or basement. For customers who don’t have their old plates tucked away somewhere, I have plenty of plates to create something that will be meaningful for them.

How do you find your materials?
I have been a license plate collector for years and after running out of room to store them, I started creating pieces to sell to support my habit. Flea markets, eBay, Craigslist, and donations have helped me build my collection of plates.  I love the nostalgia that goes with each of my creations.  I think it’s pretty cool knowing that an old Ohio plate, say from 1966, once traveled and was destined to be put in my hands to create a custom Ohio sign for someone.

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What inspires your designs?  
How I live my life inspires my designs.  I’m a very positive person and that leads to many license plate signs that have a positive message such as “Dream Big” and “Be Epic.” My love of World War II aviation history has led to plane designs and my love of animals led me to “FIN,” my 6 foot long license plate shark, plus the cardinal–which is my wife’s favorite piece.

What’s the most unusual piece you’ve ever created? 
I often do customized pieces in which I add a family name or phrase by request. Occasionally I take on more complex commissioned work.  A piece I just completed was the Pathfinder badge for a military family.  It was a little outside my comfort zone design-wise, but I like to take on projects like this every once in a while, to help me grow as an artist.

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How has your business grown over the past few years? 
My brother and I started out in a few flea markets and really received great feedback from customers.  Columbus has a strong Made Local community and we were fortunate enough to get accepted in several local retailers specializing in locally made products.  We are now in 9 locations around Ohio and continue to do festivals and Ohio arts and crafts shows. Country Living magazine even contacted us recently and featured one of our pieces in the July/ August issue. That really increased our online and social media presence.

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What makes Gahanna a good place for your business?  
Gahanna festivals have been getting bigger and bigger every year.  We moved to Gahanna 14 years ago and are so happy to be raising our family here.  The Creekside Blues and Jazz Festival in 2015 was our first big show and the Visit Gahanna team that put on the show could not have been any more supportive. We had the pleasure of participating in the festival again this summer, as well as the Holiday Lights Celebration last November. I love sharing my work with the community that I call home!  I buy a lot of my supplies locally from Gahanna Hardware.  Twyla and the staff there are amazing. They have assisted me with supplies for my business and many home improvement projects. They even started telling customers they can drop off license plate donations for us, which makes for a great example of Gahanna businesses supporting each other.

 What’s the furthest your art has ever “traveled” to find a new home? (As far as you know.) 
I sold a piece to couple from Norway who were visiting Ohio, and I have shipped a sign to a pub owner in England.  The pub owner ended up emailing me and wanted to know what state each letter was from so he could tell his patrons when they asked.

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Where can people find your art?   

Online:  RusticAppleArt.com  or my Etsy shop: RusticAppleArt.Etsy.com

Social Media: Rustic Apple Art on Facebook, @RusticAppleArt on Instagram and Twitter

Retail Stores:

  • Celebrate Local at Easton and Liberty Center (Cincinnati)
  • Simply Vague at Tuttle Crossing and Polaris malls
  • Wholly Craft on High Street
  • Ohio Made in Pickerington
  • Urban Emporium in Bexley
  • Heart & Soul in Lancaster

Anything advice for those who are looking for follow their creative passion? 
I love passionate people and I want to reassure people that they really can achieve anything they want in life with hard work.  One of my favorite quotes is from Denzel Washington: “Dreams without goals remain dreams.” (There’s a great YouTube video also). Write your goals down, then read them every day and go after them with discipline and consistent action.  My current success is due to others giving me this same message that nothing is impossible and you don’t fail unless you give up.  Never give up!

20 Best Free & Cheap Things to Do in Gahanna, Ohio

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Summer is the BEST time to discover all the FREE and Cheap things to do in Gahanna, Ohio! From free concerts and cheap eats, to dozens of reasons to take in the City’s 770 acres of parkland and trails, it’s challenging to make a short list!  But we’re giving it a shot. Here are 20 of our favorite ways to discover all the unique (free and cheap) treasures in Gahanna, Ohio. To learn more, check out VisitGahanna.com … the official website of the Gahanna Ohio Convention & Visitors Bureau!  And tell us YOUR favorites!
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1)      Creekside District.  (117 Mill St.) Gahanna’s crowning jewel is the breathtaking Creekside District. This serene oasis sits just a mile or so away from several interstate highways, making it well worth a trip off the beaten path. Walk the trails and discover the nearby herb gardens. Fish near a waterfall. Ride a paddleboat ($5/half hour rental).  Enjoy one of the Creekside LIVE! Concerts – held the second and fourth Fridays during the summer months.

2)      $2 Taco Tuesday!  (101 Mill St) Local Cantina offers craft eats, craft beers and a selection of mouth watering Margaritas.  It’s hard to beat the Taco Tuesday deal, especially when you throw in free chips & salsa and those patio views!

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3)      Kayaking/Canoeing! Take in the scenery paddling along the Big Walnut Creek. Launch at Woodside Green Park (213 Camrose Court). (See Map.)

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4)      Swisher Creek Farm. (3515 Babbitt Rd, Blacklick) Visit this hidden gem, owned and operated by Pete and Judy Klein, and meet their beautiful herd of Alpaca during your FREE educational tour of the farm (by appointment). Shop the gift shop that features both handmade items and a full line of alpaca products made in Peru. A delightful and enchanting experience for visitors of ALL ages!  Call 614/939-1872 to schedule a tour.

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5)      Ohio Herb Center. (110 Mill St.) Treat your senses to a visit to the Ohio Herb Center! In addition to offering a variety of great classes and workshops, the Center is located in the historic Nafzger-Miller house and is home to a gift shop filled with herb-inspired products, books and a drying shed—with history of its own!
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6)      Arepazo.  (93 N. High St.) Weekday Happy Hour  (5-7pm) features select $5 Tapas and $5 cocktails, including sangria (Red and White) by the glass, Classic Margaritas, Caipirinhas (Classic and Guava), Mojitos (Classic, Pineapple, Blackberry, And Strawberry), Martini (Tropical, Pineapple, and Mango), and $1 off all draft beers.

7)      Visit Geroux Gardens. (206 S. Hamilton Rd.) Named for Jane “Bunnie” Geroux, the driving force behind Gahanna’s Herb Capital of Ohio (1972) status, Geroux Gardens offer a Culinary Garden, Scented Garden, Shade Garden, Rock/Biblical Garden, Pond Garden and Medicinal Garden. 

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8)      The Story Trail. (150 Oklahoma Ave) Incorporate a family walk with reading at Gahanna’s Story Trail (Friendship Park).   Gahanna Parks & Recreation presents the fifth Story Trail Story, “Going on a Nature Walk,” in collaboration with the Columbus Metropolitan Library and Art Garden Studios. Continue on down the trail to the confluence of the two creeks where water levels are shallow and do some old fashioned “wading.”

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9)      Explore Gahanna’s Sweet Tooth Trail! Cookies and milkshakes and cupcakes … OH MY! Check out the list of SWEET options!

10)   Enjoy a family picnic at Hannah Park, (6547 Clark State Rd ) where you’ll find a lovely stone covered picnic shelter, tennis courts, a playground, a catch-and-release fishing pond, and a 1-mile trail to bike or hike.

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11)   Shepherds Corner (987 N. Waggoner Rd.) A 160 -acre ecological refuge offering a haven for wildlife and spiritual refreshment for guests. Operated by the Dominican Sisters of Peace, visitors can meet the resident Llama and sheep, learn about permaculture from the Farmer, walk the meditation trails or labyrinth, and shop for maple syrup, soap and other goods made on site.

12)   Signatures Mill Stone Tavern (94 Mill St.)  is a Gahanna classic. Enjoy $1.25 mini-burgers on Tuesdays and a $3.99 Wing Wednesday deal (for 8 wings) with purchase of a drink. Specials good all day; dine in only.

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13)  Griffin Art Gallery.  (77 Mill St.) This gallery showcases a fantastic collection of work by locally and nationally recognized artists. Many works highlight Ohio’s rich artistic history and the artists it produces. Located in the Creekside District, adjacent to many great restaurants with patio dining.

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14)   Cycle the Big Walnut Bike TrailGahanna has some amazing bike and multi-use trails. Download the Bike Trail Map provided by Gahanna Parks & Recreation Department.

15)   Barrel & Boar. (121 Mill St.) Amazing BBQ awaits you at Barrel & Boar Creekside. Enjoy the beautiful patio views over lunch, dinner or come on Sunday for a great brunch or “Buck-a-Bone” deals ALL DAY LONG!
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16)   Kindred Artisan Ales.  (505 Morrison Rd.) This Gahanna-based brewery uses new and old world brewing techniques to create brews worth the trip.  Small (cheap) samples or full pints are available to enjoy in the tasting room (not to mention creative cocktails).  Ever-changing cheap eats are available from visiting food trucks (see schedule on website). You can even enjoy a game of cornhole!

17)   Old Bag of Nails Gahanna. (63 Mill St.)  Enjoy free kids meals (one with purchase of adult entrée) and “Happy Hour 2 You” $2 deals (2-7 pm Mon-Friday)!

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18)   Mi Tradicion. (111 N. Stygler Rd.) One of our fav local eateries features a menu with lots of variety, great chips and salsa and a weekday Happy Hour (3-7 pm) with discounted house Margaritas and beer. Check their website for live music nights.

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19)   Wyandotte Winery. (4640 Wyandotte Dr.) Wednesdays (5-8 pm) bring Hump Day Happy Hour, with $2 off wine-by-the-glass and ½ price menu items.  Visitors can enjoy FREE winery tours on Saturday (12:30 pm and 3:30 pm. Reservations required.)

20)   Splash Pad fun at Easton. (160 Easton Town Center)  Called the “Rodeo Drive of the Midwest,” it’s hard to beat shopping and dining at Easton Town Center. But little ones (and moms needing some rest) will love the free splash pad!

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For more info about Gahanna, check out Visitgahanna.com or call the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau at 614/418-9114.

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Biking, Beauty Contests and Free Family Fun – Gahanna Style!

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Imagine riding your bike along scenic paths, finding your way back to a time when beauty contests were held at a local Gahanna, Ohio park, an ancestor to two US Presidents made his home nearby and an ancient Indian mound was created.

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During the inaugural Gahanna History Bike Tour, presented at 1 pm Sunday, July 17 by the Gahanna Bicycle and Trail Advisory Committee and the Gahanna Historical Society, bikers (and hikers) of all ages and levels can explore Gahanna’s natural beauty and history while enjoying a free family outing.

The idea originated with Tricia Kovacs, with the Gahanna Bicycle and Trail Advisory Committee. “Our goal is to showcase how bikeable Gahanna is with our Big Walnut Trail, our Safe Routes to School projects and our on-street signed bike routes,” she said.

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The event will kick off at Gahanna Veterans Memorial Park (73 W. Johnstown Rd.) promptly at 1 pm with a safety talk. Free helmets will be available to children while supplies last. Participants will receive a “cue sheet,” describing some local historic sites. Bikers can ride with the group or at their own pace.  For non-bikers, copies of the Gahanna Historical Society’s walking tour will be available.

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Stops along the bike route will include several historical places in Gahanna, such as the John Clark House and Shull Log House, which will be open to visitors during the afternoon.

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Riders can choose route distances of 5 miles (trail ride), 10 miles (trail and street bike routes) or 25 miles (additional miles on scenic byways of Jefferson Township). Walkers are welcome to participate to enjoy the Historic Walking Tour of Gahanna.

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The ride is free of charge; voluntary donations to the Gahanna Historical Society will be accepted. To learn more, visit https://sites.google.com/site/gahannabac or contact Tricia Kovacs at pkovacs@att.net  (614/476-9093).

To learn more about visiting Gahanna, Ohio, go to: www.VisitGahanna.com

8 Things You Should Know Before Attending the Gahanna Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival

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The streets of Gahanna’s beautiful Creekside District are about to be filled with the sounds and smells of the city’s largest signature event AND Ohio’s BEST Blues & Jazz!  June 17-19 marks the 18th annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival, presented by the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau. The event (located at 117 Mill St.) draws thousands of people from across the region with its 5 stages, 48 bands, 90 hours of non-stop jams, Family Fun Zone, food and retail vendors AND memorable experiences. The Festival runs Friday 5-11 pm; Saturday 11 am-11 pm; and Sunday 12-6 pm. There are some NEW additions this year, some changes and a few other general tips to keep in mind when visiting #2016CBJF:

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1) NEW Stage Locations. Growing attendance over the past several years has led to some exciting new changes to the event layout. New seating areas will ease congestion and offer improved  sound quality.

With the new layout, shuttle drop-offs will be conveniently located along Walnut and North Streets.  Guests will still have five different ways to enter the festival. (Download the Festival Map for specifics.)
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2) FREE Park & Ride Shuttles. While there is limited free parking within walking distance of the Festival, the smarter option is to take advantage of one of the 4 Park & Ride shuttles that run continuously during the Festival. Locations:

  • Giant Eagle (1250 North Hamilton Rd.) At Morse Rd and Hamilton Road intersection
  • Stygler Road and Route 62 Shuttle (101 S. Stygler Rd.), courtesy of Ohio AAA.
  • Gahanna Lincoln High School (140 S. Hamilton Road), courtesy of Meijer.
  • Clark Hall, (380 Granville Street) Provided courtesy of Hollywood Casino.

Accessible shuttles are available at the Clark Hall/380 Granville St. location. Additionally, handicap parking  is available in Creekside Parking Garage, 151 Mill St. (rate of $5.00 per car). The Creekside parking garage will be open throughout the festival weekend, with an entrance near the intersection of Mill and North Streets; accessible only by traveling south on Mill Street.  Event parking rate is $5 per car, collected at entrance to garage.  Festival Admission also will be collected for all cars parking in garage. Cash only accepted at garage entrance.

3) General admission is as follows:
$7          Friday, June 17  & Sunday, June 19
$7          Saturday, June 18 (until 5 pm)
$10        Saturday, June 18 (After 5 pm)
FREE      Children under 12 and Military w/ ID (and immediate family)
FREE      Sunday 11:30 am-12:30 pm with the donation of one non-perishable food item per person to benefit Gahanna Residents in Need (GRIN).

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4) Cocktail Tastings
Some of the most popular events within the Festival are the Tastings. These often sell out, so reserve your tickets early by calling 614/418-9114.

Cocktail Tastings w/ Watershed Distillery (Fri. 6-10 pm) Meet the owners of Watershed Distillery and share 4 new cocktails inspired by the Festival. 45-minute seatings start at 6 pm under the pergolas at Creekside Plaza.  4 tastings /$15.  Limited seating.

Craft Beer Tastings. (Sat, 2-5 pm) Explore the world of craft beers enjoying samples with local experts, including Gahanna’s own Pigskin Brewing Company, Kindred Artisan Ales, Columbus Brewing Company, Four Strings, New Belgium and Southern Tier.  In addition, 101 Beer Kitchen will be offering appetizer pairings. Reps from each of the breweries will be on hand to chat about their brews. 6 tastings/$12.

Ohio Wine Tastings. (Sun, 1:30-4 pm)  Sample a variety of Ohio-made wines from Buckeye state wineries including Wyandotte Winery (Gahanna) and Good Vibes Winery (Westerville),  6 tastings/$12.
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5) VIP Experiences
With amazing headliners slated to appear at #2016CBJF like Marion Meadows with Urban Jazz Coalition on the Heartland Band Jazz Stage (Sat) and Sonny Landreth on the Benchmark Bank Blues Stage (Sat), plan on some packed houses.  For the best views of the stages, treat yourself to a VIP experience. Book a reserved seat or table in the Club Blues or All that Jazz VIP sections and come-and-go as you please. Enjoy VIP parking and shuttle, swag bags, refreshments are more. Just a few seats remain in both sections. Book online now or call 614/418-9114.

6) Family Fun Zone & NEW Little Kid Zone
Families can enjoy free hands-on activities, crafts, face painting, sports demos and more on Saturday and Sunday afternoons in the Giant Eagle Family Fun Zone at Veteran’s Memorial Park (73 W Johnstown Rd.) Play with band instruments in the Musical Discovery Zone (presented by the Rotary Club of Gahanna). There is no charge to enter this area of the Festival.  You will need to buy wristbands (or individual tickets) to ride the Amusement Rides or bounce in the “Little Kids Zone.” Check out the hours, ride pricing and a full schedule of events.

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7) Come Hungry! Whatcha hungry for? We got that. With more than 30 food and beverage vendors and another 12 restaurants located in or near the Festival footprint, #2016CBJF offers plenty of chow options for ALL tastes. Check out the list of vendors here.

8) GO Green! BIKE PARKING – YAY VALET! Yay Valet! is a valet parking service that will be offering free, secure bicycle parking to everyone who rides to the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival on Saturday or Sunday. The valet will be located near the High Street Entrance Gate at the Olde Gahanna Sanctuary (82 N. High St.).

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For a full musical lineup, artist bios, a complete schedule of events and much more, check out www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com.  Also, follow @CreeksideBlues on Facebook and Twitter, and @VisitGahanna on Instagram for frequent updates throughout the event.

 

 

Austin ‘Walkin’ Cane Brings “Fine Blues” to Gahanna, Ohio

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Austin Walkin’ Cane is a blues singer, songwriter and slide guitarist who performs acoustic solo, duo & electric band sets. He has toured Australia, Nepal, Colombia, France, Germany, England, Wales, and the US, from New Orleans, Louisiana to Juneau, Alaska with only a guitar & suitcase in hand. Austin walked for 10 years with a cane due to an arterial venous malformation at birth. While performing on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, a homeless man called out “Hey Walkin’ Cane got some spare change for a brother?!” Austin took the jibe as his nickname. In 1996, after years of battling the inevitable, his left leg was amputated below the knee. A year after the surgery, he returned to the music scene stronger and without need of a cane. Austin brings his own brand of ‘Damn Fine Blues’ to the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau’s Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival at 5:45 pm Saturday, June 18 on the Electric Blues Stage (presented by Benchmark Bank).

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When did you discover your passion for music? (And when did you start expressing yourself through music?
I discovered my passion for music around the age of five. I used to hang with the older neighborhood kids and they would turn me onto different rock bands like the Beatles, Stones, The Who, Hendrix, etc. On Christmas Eve ’84, I bought my first guitar, a Gibson SG, at Sam’s Music & Golf on Prospect Ave. in Downtown Cleveland from a cool guy named Maceo. On New Years Eve ’84, the power trio was born when a couple of my best friends bought their instruments. Musical expression began at that moment.

What influenced you in the beginning?
I was influenced by the radio, neighborhood kids and a strange obsession with slide guitar. The intro to Led Zeppelin’s version of In My Time of Dying was the first slide song I learned note for note.

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Who inspires you now?
I listen to all kinds of music but the blues is my deepest inspiration. People like Blind Willie Johnson, The Kings (Albert, B.B., Freddie), Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Professor Longhair, Snooks Eaglin, Robert Jr. Lockwood, Robert Johnson, Son House, Mississippi John Hurt, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy, Leadbelly, Robert Pete Williams, Little Walter, Jimmy Reed, Big Mama Thornton, Sonny Boy Williamson, Willie Dixon, Bo Diddley…

How would you describe your music?
DAMN FINE BLUES!

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What’s your greatest achievement to date?
My album ONE HEART WALKIN’  was nominated “BEST NEW ARTIST ALBUM” by the 2015 BLUES MUSIC AWARDS (formerly the W.C. Handy Awards) in Memphis. I didn’t win but I was honored to perform on the main stage. It was an amazing feeling to perform in front of musicians who I’ve listened to their albums for years. There were some funny bits.

Bobby Rush – “Looking good! Sounding good Young blood! Keep it up.”

Keb Mo – “I dig what you do.”

Elvin Bishop – I was backstage and I shook Elvin’s hand after my performance. He said with a smile, “I watched you. Who the hell are you?!” That made my day. Ha!

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What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened during a performance?
There have been numerous weird stories over 31 yrs. of playing music. A lot of them I can’t or won’t tell you about today. Here are some of the weirdness from the early years…

Age 16 – We played a party in the basement of St. Patrick’s Church and a fight broke out. Some guy’s eye was lying on the floor surrounded by blood.

Age 17. I played a biker pig roast. When the food was done, some guy carved it with a chainsaw. There was pig all over that guy!

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If you had to pick a personal theme song, what would it be?
Taj Mahal’s version of the Fishin’ Blues has been a part of my show since I was sixteen. I still enjoy it!

The Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival draws blues and jazz fans from throughout the region. What are you most looking forward to that weekend?
I’m looking forward to playing with harmonica master, Dave Morrison and reconnecting with some Columbus friends I haven’t seen in some time.

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What do you hope fans “take away” from your performance?
I hope they take away a CD! $10

Where can fans find you online – to learn more about your background and music?  www.walkincane.com

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Check out the entire 2016 Creekside Blues & Jazz Schedule, and learn about other activities for all ages at: www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com or the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau (presenters of the CBJF) at 614/418-9114.  $15 Weekend wristbands for the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival are available online only, prior to the event.

 

2015 IBC Best Guitarist Headlines Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival

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Noah Wotherspoon has been immersed in the blues and mesmerizing audiences with his soulful guitar playing since he was a teenager. Wotherspoon and his band have earned top honors at the International Blues Challenge. This year, the band released its debut studio album entitled “Mystic Mud,” which was selected by the Cincy Blues Society as the Best Self-Produced CD for entry into the 2016 IBCs. The release was was presented a “Jimi Award” for Best Blues/Rock Album of the Year by Blues411. Wotherspoon and his band will take the Electric Blues Stage (presented by Benchmark Bank) at the 18th Annual Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival in Gahanna, Ohio at 9:30 pm on Friday, June 17.  We interviewed Noah to learn more about his blues journey.

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When did you discover your passion for music?
I started playing guitar at the age of 11 and was out playing gigs when I was 13. From early on, I was attracted to music and just naturally became more & more immersed. Music has been a vehicle to meet a lot of beautiful people and led to experiences I couldn’t have imagined. It’s served as a medium to be creative and grow spiritually.. not too mention it’s also been a lot of fun and therapeutic.

What influenced you in the beginning?
Music was always around. My mom would listen to a lot of 50’s rock n’ roll and reggae. Around the time I was 10 years old, my older brother Adam’s best friend started bringing over recordings of Stevie Ray Vaughan and other guitar-oriented music to the house. I remember it was around that time I felt a burning desire to get a guitar. When I was growing up, my mom always had a lot books/classic literature on the shelves, and I think that would end up informing and inspiring a lot of my song-writing and creative endeavors down the road.

Who inspires you now?
Musically, my listening is all over the map. Lately, I’ve been paying closer to attention to the trail-blazing blues guitar players like Gatemouth Brown & Otis Rush, and trying to take a deeper look at the way they would phrase and speak with their instruments. I also listen to song-writers like Dylan, Neil Young and Townes Van Zandt. I like old movies and try to read as much as I can; right now I’m reading Joseph Campbell’s The Power of Myth which is really phenomenal. I try to fill my brain with a hodgepodge of imagery and ideas that I can hopefully channel into song-writing.
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How would you describe your music?
All along, my music has always been rooted in the blues. Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, all the classic blues performers, the folklore & mystique surrounding the music. It’s what really pulled me in when I was first learning to play. Just the other day, “I Ain’t Superstitious” by the Wolf came on the radio.  I still get transported to another dimension. Over the years, I’ve been introduced to a lot of different musical styles. I have a love for everything from the Beatles & Harry Nilsson, to world music and vintage country. In effect, that probably all goes into the hopper and my writing/guitar playing is a cross-pollination of things. It’s always been my hope to stay connected to my roots & the things my teachers generously showed me, and balance that with creativity and giving something new.

What’s your greatest achievement to date?
In 2015, I received the Best Guitarist award at the International Blues Challenge and my band came in 2nd Place in the Band Category. It was a huge honor and still surreal to think about.

What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened during a performance?
This wasn’t at one of my shows, but was one of the wildest things that’s ever happened to me in a musical setting. When I was about 16, I had long blond hair. Bobby “Blue” Bland was in town and performing at Gilly’s (legendary blues/jazz venue in Dayton, OH). I went to the show and found a seat up in front of the stage. They introduced Bobby, and the very first thing he did was start singing “You’re Red Hot Little Mama”.. right to me (assuming I was girl). The table of ladies I was sitting with were breaking up with laughter and shouted up to Bobby, “He’s a boy.” He abruptly stopped the song, and it turned into this whole little scene. They then shouted up to him that I also play guitar and he ended up inviting me on stage. His guitar player handed over his guitar and we went into “Stormy Monday.” He ran me through the paces … asking me to “play like T-Bone Walker,” “play like Wayne Bennett” etc.  I still talk to his son Rodd who was on drums that night; we still laugh about it.

If you had to pick a personal theme song, what would it be?
I’d want to say Also Sprach Zarathustra (Theme From 2001: A Space Odyssey)… but that goes to Elvis! Mine would probably be a bit goofier.. maybe the Looney Tunes theme?

The Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival draws blues and jazz fans from throughout the region. What are you most looking forward to that weekend?
Of course I’m really looking forward to playing; but I’m also really looking forward to seeing our friends Deuce & a Quarter who are on right before us. They’re awesome people and put on a great show.

What do you hope fans “take away” from your performance?
It’s always my hope that people have a fun and that we’re able to offer an escape in that window of time. Thinking back to my favorite performances I’ve gone to see, the ones that stayed with me were ones that I walked away from feeling inspired and rejuvenated somehow. Rob Thaxton (bass), Brian Aylor (drums) and I, always try to give our best and have a good time on stage. I want to show my gratitude and hope to make a connection with the people that take the time & energy to come out to watch and listen.

Where can fans find you online – to learn more about your background and music?
noahwotherspoon.com. All of our band dates are listed there; you can also order our album “Mystic Mud” (digitally &/or physically) in the store page.

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Check out the entire 2016 Creekside Blues & Jazz Schedule, and learn about other activities for all ages at: www.CreeksideBluesandJazz.com or the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau (presenters of the CBJF) at 614/418-9114.  $15 Weekend wristbands for the Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival are available online only, prior to the event.