Blues, BBQ and beer on tap at Rib & Jazz Fest

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(Posted July 26, 2017)

Downtown London will be transformed into a bluesy and barbecued paradise once again as the London Rib and Jazz Fest returns for its 10th year.

The festival is scheduled for Aug. 4-5 from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. in historic downtown London. The event draws about 10,000 people to enjoy about 5,000 pounds of ribs and hours of live music.

Five central Ohio rib vendors are signed up to dish out finger-licking goodness: Wilson’s Family BBQ, Rudy’s Smokehouse, Fine Smoke BBQ, Off the Bone BBQ, and Buckeye BBQ. The beer tent is back, too.

Inner City Blues will headline the London Rib and Jazz Fest on Saturday night.

Will Freed and AC Collins will kick of the music at noon on Friday. Freed is a 28-year-old singer/songwriter who grew up in West Virginia, making his way to the Kansas City music circuit. With the release of his debut album with the band, Freed has developed his own style, pleasing voice and skillful harmonica and guitar playing.

Playing blues, light jazz, R&B and more, John Henry and the Rainmakers will take the stage at 2 p.m. Friday. The Columbus-based band has been honing its original creations and performing for the last four years.

Be prepared for one jazzy affair with NiNi Love and the Jazzyside, beginning at 5:30 p.m. This powerful singer and her fine band are fresh off their performance at the Columbus Jazz and Rib Festival. Sultry, funky jazz is their bread and butter.

Harper and Midwest Kind will close out Friday night’s entertainment.

Finishing out the first night is headliner Harper and Midwest Kind. With the final performance of the night at 8:15 p.m., award-winning Australian singer/songwriter Peter D. Harper creates a heady mix of roots music with his creative use of the harmonica and the haunting drone of the didgeridoo. Harper calls his style “world blues.” The veteran band has played 15 countries, along with performances at the New Orleans Jazzfest, Chicago Blues Festival, and Clearwater, Florida Blues Fest.

On Saturday, the music will return at noon with a crowd favorite, School of Rock. Mixing young blood with old hits, this band of students will get the crowd ready for a full day of festival fun.

At 2:45 p.m., get ready for some 1970s-era smooth soul with Columbus natives, The Four Mints. The band recorded for Bill Moss’s Capsoul Records. The group’s first single, “You’re My Desire,” received play in minor markets.

The dinner hour will be extra smooth with the sounds of J London and Band of Friends, who will perform at 5:30 p.m. A Columbus native, band leader J London was nominated in the 1995 Grammys for Best R&B Album, Best R&B Vocal Performance and Best R&B Song for “Thank You Lady.”

The final band of the festival has few equals. Boasting a pool of talent, the Inner City Blues Band is a high-energy blues and R&B group that has opened for legends. The tight knit unit treats R&B as tenderly as one would a newborn baby, yet pounds out hard blues with clarity and jackhammer strength. This band will keep the crowd on its feet from 8:15 to 10:30 p.m.

Other Rib and Jazz Fest activities include a car show organized by Wilson’s Printing & Graphics from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Friday, a cornhole tournament at 2 p.m. Saturday, the Rib Tickler family-friendly bicycle tour on Saturday morning, a superhero-themed 5K, craft and art vendors, children’s activities, a local celebrity dunk tank, and more.

For more information, visit www.londonribandjazz.com or find the fest on Facebook.

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