(Posted July 29, 2022)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
It’s that time of year again–time to head to downtown London for two days of music, food, and plenty of family-friendly fun.
London’s Rhythm & Rib Fest will take place from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Aug. 5-6 on and around Main Street.
“We’re excited to be able to bring this premier event to London. We’re excited for all the great musical acts and great food that we’ll have,” said London Mayor Patrick Closser, one of the event’s organizers.
This year’s rib burners are Wilson’s Family BBQ, Off The Bone BBQ, Fine Smoke BBQ, and Big Pappy’s BBQ. They’ll be serving up ribs, brisket, chicken, pulled pork and more. Other food vendors will offer everything from hamburgers, Italian sausage, steak sandwiches and hot dogs to French fries, corn dogs, ice cream, elephant ears and funnel cakes. A beer tent is planned, as well.
The live music lineup features some returning acts, as well as several that are new to the Rhythm & Rib Fest. The music schedule is as follows:
Friday, Aug. 5
12-1:30 p.m. – London’s own Matt Rees will open the festival. A singer and guitarist, he has played more than 1,200 lives shows and written nearly 100 songs. He plays everything from Matchbox 20, Train, and Radiohead to The Beatles, Elton John, and Roy Orbison.
2-3:30 p.m. – Counterpoint, an acoustic duo, performs songs from the 1960s and ‘70s with a strong emphasis on vocal harmony. Think Jimmy Buffet, The Eagles, The Everly Brothers, and Neil Diamond.
4-5:30 p.m. – The Linda Dachtyl Quartet, featuring the band’s namesake plus Chip Willis, Don Hales, and Cary Dachtyl, are longtime Rhythm & Rib Fest participants. They combine, organ, saxophone and soulful vocals to turn out all sorts of blues and jazz.
6-9:30 p.m. – New to the festival are the Gas Pump Jockeys, a five-piece band out of Columbus that plays tunes from the 60s and 70s with a little comedy thrown in, including fun parody songs.
Saturday, Aug. 6
12-1:30 p.m. – The Funk Buzzards is a quartet that brings an edge to familiar songs and performs new arrangements of more modern material. They play the likes of Stevie Wonder, Hall & Oates, and Prince, and they deliver it all with precision, grace, and, of course, funk.
2-3:30 p.m. – The act for this time slot was yet to be determined at press time.
4-5:30 p.m. – Based in central Ohio, the Victorious KayBirds perform a little bit of everything, including rock, soul, blues, and a little country. They describe themselves as a “joy-inducing band.” They are new to the festival
6-7:30 p.m. – Also new to the festival, the high-energy Blue Cats is a quartet of veteran blues-jazz musicians who have played in the company of many local and national acts. They are comprised of personnel on electric guitar, keys/vocals/blues harp/flute, percussion, and electric bass.
8-9:30 p.m. – Mojo Theory will close out Saturday night with originals, including slow-burn ballads, rock, boogie woogie piano, soul and blues numbers. They have earned finalist and semi-finalist accolades at the International Blues Challenge.
Cornhole tournament, 5K, dunk tank, cruise-in, and coloring contest
The Merri Mac Park Miracle group is hosting a double elimination cornhole tournament starting at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 5. The entry fee is $40 per team. Cash prizes go to the top teams: first place, $400; second place, $200; third place, $100. On-site sign-ups are 5-6 p.m. Advance sign-ups can be made by contacting D.J. Jackson at (740) 506-7865 or sending a message through the Merri Mac Park Miracle Facebook page. Brackets will be drawn at 6:15 p.m. Proceeds go toward improvements at Merri Mac Park in London.
The London Kiwanis Club is hosting a 5K on Aug. 5 at 7 p.m. The race starts at St. Patrick Church, 61 S. Union St., in the heart of the festival grounds. The entry fee is $30 for adults and $20 for individuals who are 18 and younger. The virtual option is $20. Each age group winner receives a medal.
To sign up, visit https://runsignup.com/Race/OH/London/BBQBoogie5K. Proceeds benefit the club, a non-profit organization that serves children of Madison County through monetary donations, service projects, and materials such as backpacks and school supplies.
Making a splash both nights of the festival, 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., is the dunk tank where for a small fee, anyone can take aim at sending local dignitaries into the water. Among those in the wet seat are Assistant County Prosecutor Michael Klamo, London Mayor Patrick Closser, County Commissioner Chris Wallace, and London Police Officer Mike Combs. All proceeds benefit the London Area Baseball Council.
The Rhythm & Rib cruise-in takes place Aug. 6 on East Second Street. Registration runs from 2 to 5 p.m. followed by the show from 5 to 8. The entry fee is $5 per car. Door prizes will be given throughout the cruise-in. All makes and models are welcome. Participants should enter from South Oak Street to West Second Street to park their vehicles.
The London Lions Club will be collecting votes in the “Leo the Lion” coloring contest for children 12 years old and younger. The top 10 finalists, as chosen by the London Visual Arts Guild, will be displayed at the Lions booth both days of the festival. Based on votes received from the public, the Lions will award prizes for the top three entries.
Event organizers welcome anyone who wishes to volunteer with setup, teardown, cleaning, selling beer tickets, or pouring beer. To express interest, send a message through the London Rhythm & Rib Fest Facebook page.