Inside the Mile

Festival Latino | August 8 – 9

Festival Latino
Festival Latino is a free, family-friendly event and the largest Latin event in Ohio, celebrating family and community with two days of children’s activities, music, food, fashion, art, and dance from the heart of Latin America. The Festival has moved to Saturday and Sunday with hours from 11am-8pm each day. Both days are packed with music and dance performances from Ohio-based bands and dance companies with international headliner acts performing both evenings.  Visit for more information.

THIS FRIDAY (7/31) ǀ The Spikedrivers


For over a decade, audiences around the country have been engulfed by the infectious country twang, rock, and harmonic blues of The Spikedrivers. Pulling listeners to the dance floor with their intoxicating and gritty sound, The Spikedrivers balance a combination of down-home songwriting with an electrified and precise backing band. Along with their multiple studio albums, it is their high energy live performances that grab ahold of listeners and turn them into avid fans.

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

Artist Website:

THIS FRIDAY (7/24) ǀ James Cotton

It is often said that the smallest voice can make the biggest difference. Tiny in stature, but boasting and howling with sound, when played correctly the harmonica can overpower an entire band. James Cotton, a Mississippi native, learned this at a very young age—taking the ‘past-time’ instrument and giving it the proper tender, love and care that he thought it deserved.

Growing up, Cotton spent his days working in the cotton fields beside his mother—who would make chicken and train sounds on the harmonica she carried. Cotton, who thought these were the only two sounds that the instrument made, received a harmonica of his own for Christmas and quickly mastered all that it was capable of doing. However, at age nine, Cotton lost both parents; taken in by his uncle, he was introduced to his harmonica idol, Sonny Boy Williamson. Williamson listened to Cotton play his repertoire, still only a child, and soon the two became inseparable like father and son. Eventually when Williamson was ready to move on from his musical endeavors, he handed his band down to James—who struggled to hold the group together at such a young age. Without a family or home, Cotton was left with just his harmonica, playing for tips and shining shoes on the streets of Memphis.

At the age of fifteen, Cotton cut his first four songs at Sun Records (where artists like Elvis Presley, Roy Orbison, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Johnny Cash got their start). This feat not only landed James a radio show of his own, but an introduction to what would be a lasting friendship on the stage with legend, Muddy Waters. Leading Waters’ band, and playing harmonica, Cotton would later go on to work with artists like Janis Joplin, Santana, B.B. King, Keith Richards, Grateful Dead, Charlie Musselwhite, Gregg Allman, and many others. Aside from his contributions to so many artists’ work, Cotton is a GRAMMY winner, and member of the Blues Hall of Fame.

The evening will open with the Mark May Band, a recognized and well received guitarist in the blues community. Perfecting his craft playing rough and tumble biker bars and blues clubs in Houston, Texas for over 20 years, Mark May’s confident vocals and technical guitar work once were the driving force for Dickey Betts and Great Southern. Mark’s current album is receiving heavy national radio play, and his music has been featured in major publications including Blues Review, Guitar Player and Guitar World.

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

Artist Website:

Jazz & Rib Fest | July 17-19

There’s no better way to celebrate summer than with hot ribs and cool jazz. 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 17 and 18 from 11 a.m. – 11 p.m., and July 19 from 11 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Admission is free.

Check out this year’s Festival Guide:

For more information, visit

THIS FRIDAY (7/10) ǀ Sammy DeLeón Y Su Orquesta

2011 Tri-C JazzFest

One of the most recognized Latin bandleaders in Ohio, Sammy DeLeòn is a timbale player—performing professionally since he was just 13 years old. At this young age, Sammy was not only introduced to the greats of his instrument, but he was also performing with them too. The eighth child of a large Puerto Rican family (thirteen children all together), DeLeòn grew up in a family with no professional musicians—just parents that enjoyed the musical styling of Puerto Rico. His older brother, Robert, became responsible for introducing Sammy to his timbales, a twin set of metal-encased drums that includes a cowbell and cymbal on the side. His other brother also began taking up percussion and is currently a successful percussionist and band leader in Kansas City, Missouri.

Featuring his 12-piece ensemble, Sammy has gained popularity for his danceable groove-oriented music in the styles of Latin jazz, salsa, and merengue for nearly 30 years. Once called the “hottest and most innovative timbalero” by legendary Latin jazz percussionist Tito Puente, Sammy’s credits include collaborations with salsa greats El Gran Combo de Puerto Rico, Tito Rojas, Tony Vega, Hector Tricoche and Rey de la Paz, among others.

Fronting his Sammy DeLeòn Y Su Orquesta for the past decade, the group has grown to become one of the best multi-cultural musical groups in the area. With an extensive discography, Sammy is sure to provide Columbus with endless toe-tapping, hip-shaking, groove oriented music.

Before the performance, sign up to join Mayor Michael B. Coleman and fellow cyclists for an evening bike ride through the heart of Columbus promoting the benefits of active living. This unique tour takes riders through the vibrant downtown area, with views of parks, city landmarks and a wide variety of architecture in scenic neighborhoods. Proceeds from the Mayor’s Twilight Bike Ride Finale will help to fund bikes and helmets for kids in need and support bicycle safety initiatives. The Mayor’s Twilight Bike Ride Finale will be begin on the Rich Street Bridge and return to Bicentennial Park where participants can enjoy the Rhythm on the River performance by Sammy DeLeón Y Su Orquesta.

For more information or to register for the Mayor’s Twilight Bike Ride Finale, please visit

6:30 p.m. – Mayor’s Twilight Bike Ride Finale begins
6:30 p.m. – Food and beverage sales begin
7:30 p.m. – Performance

Red, White & Boom | July 3, 2015


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 Friday, 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: Friday, July 3
Noon to 11pm

WHERE: Downtown Columbus


The Scioto Mile Fountain will be closed beginning 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 2 and resumes at 10 a.m. on Saturday, July 4.  Bicentennial Park restrooms will also be closed during the event on Friday, July 3.

Public set-up for Red, White & Boom may begin after 5 p.m. on Thursday, July 2 – anything placed before 5 p.m. will be collected and may be picked up at the Bicentennial Park office.  Please do not place personal tents/canopies, tarps or blankets until Friday, July 3.

Genoa Park will be closed to the public from Monday, June 29 through Saturday, July 4 for fireworks preparation.


Launch Areas

  • 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).

General Information

  • 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 2:00pm will be checked by marine officers on the water.

THIS FRIDAY (6/26) ǀ Columbus Jazz Orchestra

With very few performance opportunities available for jazz musicians playing in the big band scene, Columbus Jazz Arts Group formed the Columbus Jazz Orchestra over 40 years ago with no idea how successful it would come to be. To stop from becoming a thing of the past, audiences are led to return each and every season due to their new and modern arrangements of jazz classics, but with the same high energy and style that big bands have obtained since the 1920s. Byron Stripling, world-renown band leader and trumpet virtuoso, leads the Columbus Jazz Orchestra with the experience of playing with bands of Dizzy Gillespie, Woody Herman and Lionel Hampton, traveling the world to play jazz festivals and being a featured soloist with groups such as the Boston Pops, Cincinnati Pops, the National Symphony and the Pittsburgh Symphony.

Their performance for this Rhythm on the River series is a bit different from the past. Showcasing their performance from earlier this year, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra will perform their “100 Years of Frank Sinatra” with special guests Dwight Lenox and Phil Clark. Rather than performing with a Sinatra impersonator, local talents Lenox and Clark give their own take on the Sinatra standard that we have come to love. Their February performance drew a full house at the Southern Theatre—ultimately resulting in not one, but two standing ovations.

Byron Stripling had this to say on their performance: “There are passing trends in life and culture. We call them flavor of the month…and then there are classics (referring to Sinatra).” The Columbus Jazz Orchestra will make Sinatra’s music fun for the whole family—leaving listeners tapping their toes to the crooner’s hits. We are pleased to present an unforgettable night of some of your favorite charts, performed by the Columbus Jazz Orchestra.

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

Artist Website:

THIS FRIDAY (6/19) | Golden Dragon Acrobats


The Golden Dragon Acrobats represent the best of a time honored tradition that began more than twenty-five centuries ago. Recognized throughout the United States and abroad as the premiere Chinese acrobatic touring company of today, the Golden Dragon Acrobats combine award-winning acrobatics, traditional dance, spectacular costumes, ancient and contemporary music and theatrical techniques to present a show of breathtaking skill and spellbinding beauty.

The company hails from the Hebei and Henan provinces of the People’s Republic of China and has toured the United States continuously since 1978. Its 29 members are comprised of athletes, actors and artists who have studied and trained for their craft since early childhood.

The company’s founder, producer and director, Danny Chang, is one of the world’s leading promoters of Chinese acrobatics. He began his training at the age of eight with his family’s acrobatic school in Taipei, and began touring with its touring wing, the Golden Dragon Acrobats, at age ten. He is the recipient of many awards, including the esteemed Medal for International Faith and Goodwill by the Republic of China’s Coordination Council for North American Affairs.

Within the last four years, the Golden Dragon Acrobats have performed in all lower 48 states of the country—to sold-out audiences in nearly every major market in the U.S. In 2005, the acrobats had the opportunity to perform a six week run on Broadway in New York City, in which the group received adoration, standing ovations, and praise from the New York press. The response of viewers seeing the acrobats for the first time is nothing short of overwhelming. After previously hosting them here in Columbus, Ohio, we are excited to present this jaw dropping performance for your enjoyment once again!

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

Columbus Arts Festival | June 12–14


As the festival season kicks off, make sure the 2015 Columbus Arts Festival is on the top of your list. The Scioto Mile will be filled with art enthusiasts from all over the country as artists display their work along the Riverfront. In addition to artwork, the festival is filled with all types of art—music, dance, food, and even a new “selfie station” where you are encouraged to share your pictures with #artfan. Stop by one of the six stages at the festival, grab a bite to eat, or roam from vendor to vendor; either way you are sure to enjoy a weekend filled with art and culture. Check out the article below to see why Lacey Luce describes the Columbus Arts Festival as “more than a festival, it’s an experience…”

2015 Columbus Arts Festival

Friday, June 12, 11:00 a.m.–10:30 p.m.
Saturday, June 13, 11:00 a.m.–10:30 p.m.
Sunday, June 14, 11:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

The Scioto Mile


The Scioto Mile Fountain will be turned off during set-up for the Columbus Arts Festival on Thursday, June 11 until 7:30 p.m. The fountain will resume regular operation for viewing only from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Thursday evening. Beginning Friday morning, the fountain will resume regular operating hours. Enjoy the Arts Festival!

THIS FRIDAY (6/5) | An Evening of Bluegrass


When thinking of the country’s top musical talent, very seldom do they create more than five albums, and their existence in the music scene may last, at most, ten years. Unlike that common musical mold, Blue Highway has strived for over 20 years to continue making contemporary bluegrass music for listeners of all ages. With eleven albums released, Blue Highway has had multiple GRAMMY nominations, and a long list of awards to their name.

Since their first performance on December 31, 1994, the group still features the exact same members today—a remarkable feat in the industry. Each member is considered to be a virtuoso of their instrument and songwriting, creating the necessary pieces that make it the bluegrass powerhouse that it is. These five artists act selflessly, allowing each other to emerge their musical talents into any piece they perform; as a result, the band improves their sound and musicality with each album they record. Collectively, the group has been awarded 23 International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) awards, a Dove Award, and 6 Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America (SPBGMA) awards. A highly awarded and talented bluegrass band, like Blue Highway, is tough to come by in today’s society—be sure to take this opportunity to witness their work!

The evening will open with Strung Up, a Columbus bluegrass band that takes traditional bluegrass tunes and puts a fresh and modern spin on them. Made up of six men, all with individual musical talents and perspectives, Strung Up fuels their audiences with an energy that is driven by their collective love for music. Their on stage presence has resulted in shows with many of Central Ohio and the Midwest’s best bluegrass groups.  We are both proud and excited to be able to kick off the 2015 Rhythm on the River series with these two groups, who are sure to have the audience reminiscing about their lives—to the beat of their strumming!

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