Inside the Mile

THIS FRIDAY (8/22) | Mavis Staples with special guest fo/mo/deep


With music running through her veins since day one, Mavis Staples was born straight into her family’s musical career in the heart and soul of Chicago’s music scene. Losing her mother at an early age, Staples and her three siblings were raised primarily by their father who spent the majority of his downtime picking the blues away on a guitar in their home. Realizing the goldmine of talent that he had in his family, Staples’s father formed The Staples Singers with his children—while she was just 8 years old. Performing for their family and friends in their local Chicago church, countless standing ovations scored Staples the lead singer role in the group and ultimately a record deal with Vee-Jay Records.

With success ultimately blossoming for Staples and her family in the 1960s and early 1970s, the impact their music would have on the Civil Rights Movement became clear. Showcasing her talents for figures such as Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, various presidents and members of The Beatles, while dating Bob Dylan throughout the 60s, it is no surprise that she has found a spot in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, VH1’s 100 Greatest Women of Rock and Roll and the Rolling Stone’s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time. Proving to be beyond her past, this GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award winner has rekindled her musical flame into a successful late solo career including multiple award nominations and a victory of the GRAMMY® for Best Americana Album in 2011.

The evening will open with fo/mo/deep, an eclectic groove oriented funky jazz collective. Seasoned professionals in defying the musical ordinary of 70s jazz, soul and funk, fo/mo/deep brings an unpredictable energy that is fun for all ages to listen and dance to. One of our most anticipated concerts of our 2014 Rhythm on the River season, we are proud and excited to invite Columbus to spend the night with musical legend, Mavis Staples, in Bicentennial Park. Staples’s three piece band and trio of back-up vocalists is sure to get you on your feet and moving to their sounds!

6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:30 p.m. – Live Music Begins


THIS FRIDAY (8/15) | The Paul Thorn Band with special guest Grassinine


The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is thrilled to host The Paul Thorn Band this Friday evening for Rhythm on the River! The Mississippi native has been a crowd pleaser for years as he speaks universal truths in his own bluesy, rocking and thoroughly Southern way.

Thorn has had an array of experiences from working in a furniture factory, to jumping out of airplanes and boxing. As a musician, he has toured and collaborated with Sting, Paul Carrack, Joe Diffie, Tanya Tucker, Ronnie Milsap and Carole King just to name a few. When Thorn and his band hit the stage, they will perform both his captivating originals as well as some favored covers, which he has an album dedicated to. The idea behind Thorn’s cover album is that he would hear certain tunes on tour or at a festival and would think, “That’s a great song, I wish I had written it!” explains Thorn on his website. He believes the thing all artists have in common is that they are real. They don’t just write songs in an effort to follow a trend or to become popular—they are true artists. In his mind, there are so many great artists whose songs must be heard.

The evening will open with Grassinine, a thigh slapping, toe-tapping band you will not want to miss! When grooving to this local impromptu band formed after a neighborhood jam session, you will hear instruments such as banjo, mandolin, washboard, spoons, a stringed “gut-bucket” and many more. Dance along to Grassinine’s “Mountain Rock,” consisting of equal parts rock, blues, bluegrass and a healthy serving of fun. See you there!

6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:30 p.m. – Live Music Begins


THIS FRIDAY (8/1) ǀ MojoFlo


Prepare yourself for a trip to Detroit’s Motown Soul, but in Columbus’s own backyard with MojoFlo! This locally formed but nationally acclaimed act, proves time and time again that the heart of funk and soul can still live on today—blending horns with multiple layers of vocals and synths. Meeting like so many bands do in college, MojoFlo formed while all attending Columbus’s Capital University; however, they have still been kept alive strong today while traveling the country and headlining so many of Columbus’s biggest events.

What is different about MojoFlo from other bands is that they sell themselves on how different they are from your typical group. Categorizing their sound into genres of soul, hip-hop, jazz and funk, lead singer Amber Knicole explains that a MojoFlo show is like “shuffle on the world’s greatest iPod”. With something special in store for every listener’s preferences, the group has played everything from dinners and cook-outs to headlining for thousands of enthusiastic and high energy listeners.

If you love old-school soul music, this is a show that you will not want to miss! Rhythm on the River is proud to welcome home one of Columbus’s most premiere bands for a night of music, dancing, food and beverages. Food and beverage sales will begin at 6:30pm and MojoFlo will get the audience grooving when they take the stage at 7:30pm in Bicentennial Park!

Be sure to check out their official music video for their original song, “M.M.I.A.”, which showcases some of Columbus’s best sights and sounds—including Bicentennial Park!

6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:30 p.m. – Live Music Begins


THIS FRIDAY (7/25) ǀ An Evening of Bluegrass with Balsam Range and The Boxcars


The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is delighted to present Balsam Range and The Boxcars this Friday night at Rhythm on the River!

Bluegrass. . . Folk. . . Gospel. . . Jazz. . . Treat yourself to an innovative acoustic sound and experience! From deep in the Appalachians, the exceptional acoustic musicians and singers adopted the name of the majestic range of mountains that surround their home in North Carolina. Where the Smokies meet the Blue Ridge, you have Balsam Range! These friends have effortlessly combined their unique experiences and backgrounds, which blend together to form their distinct sound. Since their formation in 2007, Balsam Range has surely made a mark in the bluegrass and acoustic music world. Beginning with a nomination for the International Bluegrass Music Association’s (IBMA) Emerging Artist of the year, they went on to win IBMA Song of the Year. They have additionally been nominated for six IBMA awards, taking home Album of the Year for the highly acclaimed project, Papertown. Don’t miss the opportunity to be a part of the new American acoustic experience!


The entertainment doesn’t stop here! Co-headlining with Balsam Range for an evening of bluegrass is The Boxcars! Known as some of the best musicians in the business and one of the top bands in bluegrass, The Boxcars will illustrate their versatile talent as both seasoned professionals and as a bluegrass powerhouse. Mastering in modern traditional bluegrass, the group has won numerous IBMA and Grammy Awards in addition to being recognized as the 2011 IBMA Emerging Artist of the Year. The Boxcars have also earned the past three consecutive IBMA Instrumental Group of the Year awards. Here’s to a bluegrass match made in heaven you will not want to miss out on! See you all this Friday!

6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:30 p.m. – Live Music Begins


THIS WEEKEND (July 18 – 20) | Jazz & Rib Fest

There’s no better way to celebrate summer than with hot ribs and cool jazz. The 35th annual Jazz & Rib Fest, presented by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department, returns to the Arena District riverfront area for three days. The aroma of hot ribs and sounds of cool jazz will fill the air on July 18 and 19 from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., and July 20 from 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Check out this year’s Festival Guide:


Visit for more information and a complete artist line-up.

THIS FRIDAY (7/11) ǀ Terrance Simien


Evolving in the southwest of Louisiana, French Creole speakers developed a unique musical genre that many are still unfamiliar with today—Zydeco. Slowly accumulating the ability to play multiple styles of instruments, Terrance Simien rooted his talents of Cajun music and rhythm and blues into a career of Zydeco music. Born in Mallet, Louisiana, Simien was able to learn the ropes from some of Zydeco’s best and perform in his home church and school, allowing his music to root and flourish the way it does today.

Although Zydeco music is underpublicized to most of the northern United States, Simien is still a familiar face to so many who tune in to the world of music. Winning the GRAMMY® for Best Zydeco or Cajun Music Album in 2008, he is most recognized for performing on the soundtrack of Disney’s, The Princess and the Frog, and appearing on stage with artists such as Paul Simon, Dave Matthews, Stevie Wonder, Los Lobos, and many others.

Simien and his band have performed at over 7,000 shows in 40 different countries across the world, so listeners should anticipate a seasoned and exceptional performance. Rhythm on the River is excited to be able to welcome an international performer like Terrance Simien. Be sure to catch this world class act, on Friday at 7:30pm in Bicentennial Park!

Before the performance, sign up to join Mayor Michael B. Coleman and fellow cyclists for an evening ride through the heart of Columbus promoting the benefits of active living and the best tour of Columbus on two wheels. Riders will go through the vibrant downtown area that will include views of parks, city landmarks and a wide variety of architecture in scenic neighborhoods. Proceeds from the Mayor’s Twilight Ride will help to fund bikes and helmets for kids in need and support bicycle safety initiatives.  CoGo will also be onsite celebrating their first birthday. Stop by their tent to enter to win great prizes, learn more about their first year success and exciting future plans. All riders will return to Bicentennial Park to enjoy the Rhythm on the River performance by Terrance Simien & The Zydeco Experience. For more information or to register for the Mayor’s Twilight Ride, please visit

6:30 p.m. – Mayor’s Twilight Bike Ride begins
6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:30 p.m. – Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience


Red White & BOOM!

Red White & BOOM!

Festival season is in full swing and BOOM! is one that brings huge crowds to downtown Columbus for a night of music, food, activities and of course – fireworks. As one of the largest displays of Independence Day fireworks in the Midwest, the Scioto Riverfront provides one of the best views.  The event officially begins next Thursday, July 3 at noon. For more information and a full schedule of performances and activities, visit You won’t want to miss it!

WHAT: Red, White & Boom – the largest fireworks display in Ohio!

WHEN: Thursday, July 3 | Noon to 11 p.m.

WHERE: Downtown Columbus


The Scioto Mile Fountain will be turned off beginning Wednesday, July 2 at 6 p.m. and will be back on Friday, July 4 at 10 a.m.


  • Public set-up for Red, White & Boom may begin at 5 PM on July 2.
  • To keep your parks looking nice, we request that personal canopies, tarps and blankets not be set-up until July 3.
  • Due to riverfront construction space is limited. Be considerate of others.
  • Please mark your area with items that don’t present a danger to the public. STAKES AND POSTS ARE PROHIBITED as they pose a danger to playing children and can cause damage to irrigation systems.
  • Anything placed before 5 p.m. on July 2 will be collected and taken to Bicentennial Park, 233 Civic Center Dr.


  • Canoes, kayaks and legal vessels that can be carried will be allowed at the Downtown Lower Olentangy River Boat Launch, located west of Neil Avenue on Nationwide Boulevard. (The ramp has been permanently closed to trailered boats).
  • Power boats, canoes, kayaks may be launched at the Scioto Audubon Metro Park launch area west of Front Street on W. Whittier Street. Parking is on a first-come, first-served basis, with approximately 30 spaces available. (Franklin County Metro Parks will close gate when spaces are full).
  • Due to the ongoing construction of the Scioto Greenway project, boating will not be allowed in the Scioto River 100’ above the first railroad bridge south of the confluence of the Scioto and Olentangy Rivers and the first railroad bridge south of the Main Street bridge. Boats launching from the Downtown Lower Olentangy River launch area will be restricted to the areas north of the railroad bridge 100’above North Bank Park.
  • Boats launching from the Scioto Audubon Metro Park launch area will be permitted to travel north to the railroad bridge south of the Main Street bridge.
  • Boater Safety Inspections and Registration Checks will be occurring at the launch areas. Individuals without proper safety equipment, registrations or proper display of OH numbers will not be permitted to launch. Individuals launching before 2:00 p.m. will be checked by marine officers on the water.

Happy Independence Day everyone!

THIS FRIDAY (6/27) ǀ Kenya Safari Acrobats


In need of some fun and excitement to end your busy week? Look no further! The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is delighted to present Kenya Safari Acrobats to the stage this Friday evening at 7:30 p.m.

From the heart of Africa, this dynamic dance troupe takes acrobatics to exhilarating extremes, providing a truly unique cultural experience you will not want to miss! As children growing up in an impoverished country, the members learned acrobatics on the beaches of Kenya as a means of escape. Their commitment and enthusiasm paid off as they are now artistic ambassadors for Kenya and travel the globe, entertaining and inspiring audiences of all types. The Kenya Safari Acrobats perform breathtaking contortions, hurl through hoops and perform gravity-defying human pyramids, all while clapping along to a Benga beat.

These gymnasts are crowd pleasers, without a doubt. Come watch them combine their artistry, humor, and playfulness as you enjoy a classic African blend of traditional art and circus skills. Join us this Friday night and allow these acrobats to leave you with an incredible sense of awe and amazement!

6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
8:00 p.m. – Performance


THIS FRIDAY (6/20) ǀ Shemekia Copeland


It truly takes a special type of person to be able to sing the blues; one who has endured the personal strife in life and can translate their soul into a melodic outcry for change. Shemekia Copeland uncovered that vocal soul as her father, late blues guitarist Johnny Copeland, suffered health problems in her teenage years. However, still young in her thirties, Copeland has been a familiar face to those who follow the blues genre—already a two-time GRAMMY® nominee.

Growing up within the everyday sounds of city life in Harlem, Copeland has been fortunate enough to take her roots to the stage with artists like Buddy Guy, BB King, Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton. Her deep passion for singing and powerful voice have matched the largest stages across the globe, headlining the Chicago Blues Festival, opening for the Rolling Stones and performing for Illinois native President Barack Obama and the First Lady, where she was officially deemed “Queen of the Blues” by the State.

The evening will open with blues royalty, Teeny Tucker, daughter of Tommy Tucker (1964 classic “High-Heel Sneakers”). Tucker has become renowned for creating ‘crowd frenzy’ with her high-energy world class package on stage and has been invited to do so on bills with artists such as BB King, KoKo Taylor, Etta James, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Keb Mo, and many others. Having played major blues festivals all over the world, we are thrilled to host Shemekia Copeland and special guest Teeny Tucker at the Bicentennial Park Performing Arts Pavilion for a night of music, food, drinks and fun!

6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:30 p.m. – Live music begins


THIS FRIDAY (6/13) ǀ The Navigators

The Navigators

The Columbus Recreation and Parks Department is thrilled to present the first free performance of the Rhythm on the River series!  What better way to do so than by featuring a Columbus-based band that plays a little bit of everything!

The Navigators will be performing at Bicentennial Park this Friday at 7:30p.m.  You can expect to hear vibrant horns, rich, multilayered vocals and covers of classic hits from Chicago, The Beatles and the Commodores.  This 13-piece band, comprised of Columbus executives and professionals, are passionate about serving the community and raising money for charity.  In this effort, they have helped raise over $200,000 to benefit local and national charities since their formation in 2003.  Their focus is on having fun so plan on joining us at Bicentennial Park this Friday!  Come hungry!  Donatos Pizza, Sunny Street Café wraps and beverages will be for sale beginning at 6:30p.m.  See you then for a fun-filled evening with The Navigators!

6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:30 p.m. – The Navigators

Rhythm on the River is produced by the Columbus Recreation and Parks Department and made possible through the generous support of the Scioto Mile Endowment Fund: Columbus Downtown Development Corporation, ABC 6/ FOX 28, Rewind 103.5/104.3, Donatos, The Westin Columbus, WCBE 90.5 FM, Sunny Street Café and The Holiday Inn Downtown.