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When Is The Jazz & Rib Fest In Columbus Ohio When Is The Jazz & Rib Fest In Columbus Ohio


When Is The Jazz & Rib Fest In Columbus Ohio

Written by: Karlotta Upchurch

Discover the dates for the Jazz & Rib Fest in Columbus Ohio and immerse yourself in the soulful tunes and mouthwatering flavors of this extraordinary event.

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Table of Contents


Welcome to the exciting world of jazz and savory barbeque at the renowned Jazz & Rib Fest in Columbus, Ohio! This electrifying festival merges the soulful sounds of jazz music with the mouthwatering aroma of slow-cooked ribs, creating a sensory experience like no other. Whether you’re a jazz aficionado, a food lover, or simply looking for a memorable cultural event, the Jazz & Rib Fest has something for everyone.

Step into a world where the smooth melodies of jazz fill the air, where talented musicians take the stage and transport you to a realm of rhythm and improvisation. Picture yourself indulging in tender, succulent ribs, carefully prepared by some of the best barbeque vendors in the region. From the moment you arrive at the festival, you’ll be captivated by the vibrant atmosphere, the friendly faces, and the enticing blend of music and flavors.

The Jazz & Rib Fest is not just your average music festival. It’s a celebration of two art forms that captivate the senses and bring people together. It’s a gathering of talented musicians, both local and international, who share their passion and talent with a diverse and appreciative audience.

But it’s not just about the music. The festival also showcases the art of BBQ, with an array of vendors showcasing their skills and techniques in creating mouthwatering ribs. Each vendor has their own unique flavors and cooking methods, making it a truly unforgettable culinary journey. Whether you prefer tangy, spicy, or sweet, there’s a rib vendor that caters to your taste buds.

Throughout this article, we will delve into the history of the Jazz & Rib Fest, explore the performances and activities on offer, and provide you with essential information to ensure you have the best possible experience. So, grab your dancing shoes and bring your appetite as we embark on a journey through the harmonious world of jazz and the tantalizing flavors of ribs at the Jazz & Rib Fest in Columbus, Ohio.


History of the Jazz & Rib Fest

The Jazz & Rib Fest has a rich history that dates back to its humble beginnings in 1980. Originally called the “Hot Jazz and Cool Ribs Fest,” it started as a small one-day event showcasing jazz performances and a handful of local rib vendors. Over the years, it has grown into one of the largest and most anticipated festivals in Columbus, drawing thousands of visitors from near and far.

The festival was created with the vision of combining two beloved American traditions: jazz music and barbeque. Organizers wanted to create an event that celebrated the cultural heritage and artistic excellence of both genres. Thus, the Jazz & Rib Fest was born, creating a unique blend of music and culinary delights.

Since its inception, the festival has evolved tremendously, expanding its offerings to cater to a diverse audience. It now spans three days, filling the streets of downtown Columbus with the soulful sounds of jazz and the mouthwatering aroma of ribs. The event has become a staple of the city’s summer calendar, attracting music enthusiasts, food lovers, and families looking for a memorable weekend experience.

Over the years, the Jazz & Rib Fest has hosted some of the biggest names in the jazz world, including renowned musicians such as Tony Bennett, B.B. King, and Harry Connick Jr. These performances have created unforgettable moments, leaving a lasting impact on festival-goers year after year.

The festival’s commitment to showcasing local talent is also commendable. It provides a platform for up-and-coming jazz musicians to share their music with a wider audience, fostering a sense of community and artistic growth within the local jazz scene.

Of course, the star of the show at the Jazz & Rib Fest is the mouthwatering array of ribs. The festival takes pride in bringing together some of the best rib vendors from the region, each with their own unique flavors and techniques. From sweet and smoky to tangy and spicy, there’s a rib for every palate.

As the Jazz & Rib Fest continues to grow and evolve, it remains committed to its founding principles of celebrating the artistry of jazz music and the culinary excellence of barbeque. It’s a celebration of both tradition and innovation, where old classics are honored, and new talents are discovered.

Join us as we pay homage to the rich history and vibrant spirit of the Jazz & Rib Fest, a testament to the power of music and the joy of indulging in delicious barbeque.


Location and Venue

The Jazz & Rib Fest takes place in the heart of downtown Columbus, Ohio, creating a vibrant and lively atmosphere that is perfect for a summer festival. The festival sprawls across the scenic Scioto Mile, a beautiful riverfront park that provides the perfect backdrop for the festivities.

The Scioto Mile offers a picturesque setting for visitors to enjoy while immersing themselves in the music and savoring the delectable ribs. With its lush green spaces, sweeping views of the Scioto River, and convenient proximity to downtown attractions, the festival location makes it easy for attendees to explore and enjoy everything that Columbus has to offer.

Throughout the festival grounds, you’ll find various stages set up for the jazz performances, providing ample space for music lovers to enjoy live acts. From intimate stages tucked away in small corners to larger stages that can accommodate larger crowds, there’s always a performance happening somewhere within the venue.

The layout of the festival ensures that there are plenty of spots to grab a seat and relax while taking in the music. Whether you prefer to sit back and enjoy a jazz trio or get up and dance to the energetic sounds of a big band, the venue offers something for everyone.

It’s important to note that the Jazz & Rib Fest is a family-friendly event, with a dedicated area for children called the “Kidz Zone.” This section of the festival offers activities and entertainment specifically designed for young visitors, ensuring that the festival is enjoyable for the whole family.

For those who want to take a break from the jazz and ribs, the festival’s location also provides easy access to the vibrant culinary scene in downtown Columbus. Just steps away from the festival grounds, you’ll find an array of restaurants, cafes, and bars, offering a variety of dining options to suit every taste and craving.

Overall, the location and venue of the Jazz & Rib Fest in downtown Columbus offer the perfect setting to indulge in the soul-stirring sounds of jazz music while savoring mouthwatering ribs. The combination of scenic beauty, convenient access to downtown amenities, and ample space for performances make it a truly unforgettable experience.


Dates and Schedule of Events

The Jazz & Rib Fest takes place over a three-day period, allowing ample time for festival-goers to immerse themselves in the music, sample various ribs, and enjoy the festive atmosphere. The event typically takes place in the summer, when the weather is warm and conducive to outdoor activities.

The specific dates for the Jazz & Rib Fest may vary from year to year, so it’s important to check the official festival website or local event listings to get the most accurate and up-to-date information. Typically, the festival is held during a weekend, starting on a Friday and running through Sunday.

The festival schedule is meticulously planned to ensure that attendees have a wide range of performances and activities to enjoy throughout the day. The music lineup features both local and national jazz artists, covering various styles and subgenres to cater to different musical preferences.

From smooth jazz to upbeat swing, the performances span a spectrum of sounds and moods, providing a rich and diverse musical experience. Whether you’re a die-hard jazz fan or simply looking to be serenaded by soulful melodies, there’s always a performance that will capture your attention.

Alongside the stellar jazz performances, the festival also hosts a series of entertaining and engaging activities for attendees of all ages. From interactive workshops and demonstrations to dance lessons and art exhibits, there’s something to captivate every festival-goer.

One of the highlights of the festival is, of course, the rib vendors. These culinary maestros set up shop throughout the venue, offering a tantalizing array of ribs that are slow-cooked to perfection. Festival-goers can wander from booth to booth, sampling different flavors and styles of ribs, indulging in the smoky, savory goodness that makes the Jazz & Rib Fest so unique.

It’s important to note that while the festival officially starts and ends on specific dates, some activities, such as the rib tasting and certain performances, may have specific time slots or limited availability. Planning your schedule in advance and checking the festival program will ensure that you don’t miss any must-see performances or culinary experiences.

Whether you choose to spend the entire weekend at the festival or just drop by for a few hours, the Jazz & Rib Fest guarantees a lively and unforgettable experience filled with delectable ribs, soulful jazz, and a vibrant atmosphere that will have you coming back year after year.


Jazz Performances

The Jazz & Rib Fest is renowned for its exceptional lineup of jazz performances, showcasing the talent of local, national, and even international artists. The festival curates a diverse range of jazz styles, ensuring there’s something for everyone, from classic jazz enthusiasts to those looking for a more contemporary sound.

Throughout the festival, multiple stages are set up, each hosting a variety of performances throughout the day. From intimate settings where you can feel the intimacy of a small jazz ensemble to larger stages that accommodate big bands and vocalists, the festival offers a dynamic mix of musical experiences.

The performers at the Jazz & Rib Fest are carefully chosen to represent the rich traditions of jazz while also embracing innovative and fusion approaches to the genre. You can expect to hear mesmerizing renditions of jazz standards, original compositions, and exciting improvisations that showcase the talent and virtuosity of the musicians on stage.

Whether you’re a fan of smooth jazz, swing, bebop, Latin jazz, or something in between, the festival has you covered. From sultry saxophone solos to scintillating trumpet performances and captivating piano improvisations, each musician brings their unique style to the stage, ensuring a captivating and memorable experience for all.

Many of the performers at the Jazz & Rib Fest are local artists from the vibrant Columbus jazz scene. This provides a wonderful opportunity to discover talented musicians who may not be as well-known on a national or international scale. These local acts add a sense of community and showcase the incredible talent that resides in the city.

In addition to the local talent, the festival also invites acclaimed national and international jazz artists to grace the stages. These renowned musicians bring a wealth of experience and a unique perspective to their performances, further enriching the festival experience.

Throughout the festival, attendees have the opportunity to immerse themselves in the world of jazz, attending multiple performances and discovering new artists. It’s a chance to broaden your musical horizons, explore different jazz styles, and witness exceptional live performances.

Whether you’re a seasoned jazz enthusiast or a curious newcomer, the Jazz & Rib Fest offers an unmatched opportunity to embrace the beauty and artistry of this iconic genre. So, be sure to pack your enthusiasm and love for jazz as you embark on a musical journey at the Jazz & Rib Fest in Columbus, Ohio.


Rib Vendors and Tastings

One of the main highlights of the Jazz & Rib Fest is undoubtedly the mouthwatering array of ribs available from various vendors throughout the festival grounds. These rib vendors bring their A-game, showcasing their unique flavors, cooking techniques, and secret recipes that have earned them a reputation for culinary excellence.

From the moment you arrive, the enticing aroma of slow-cooked ribs fills the air, teasing your senses and making it nearly impossible to resist indulging in this savory delight. The festival offers a diversity of rib styles, from traditional barbecue to innovative fusion flavors, ensuring that there is something to satisfy every palate.

Each rib vendor takes pride in their craft and offers their own distinct twist on barbeque flavors. You’ll find vendors specializing in tangy and spicy sauces, as well as those who focus on sweet and smoky flavors. Some vendors may feature regional or international styles of barbeque, adding an exciting touch of variety to the festival experience.

During the festival, many vendors offer the opportunity to sample their ribs before committing to a full portion. This allows you to explore different flavors and find your personal favorite. It’s like a rib tasting adventure, where you can savor the unique characteristics of each vendor’s ribs and make an informed decision on which ones to indulge in.

Once you’ve found your preferred rib vendor, it’s time to settle down and enjoy a full plate of their delectable ribs. Every mouthful is a succulent, tender, and flavorsome experience that will have you savoring every bite. Pair your ribs with classic sides such as coleslaw, baked beans, or cornbread for the ultimate barbeque feast.

While ribs are the star of the show, many vendors also offer additional barbeque delicacies, such as pulled pork, brisket, and chicken. This allows you to customize your meal and explore different barbeque offerings throughout the festival.

With the variety of rib vendors available, it’s worth taking the time to explore the entire festival grounds and sample ribs from different vendors. The flavors and styles may vary, providing a diverse range of tastes and textures to enjoy.

For those looking to take home a memento of the festival, some rib vendors offer sauces and seasonings for purchase. These products allow you to recreate the mouthwatering flavors of the Jazz & Rib Fest in the comfort of your own home, ensuring the festival experience lingers long after the event concludes.

Prepare your taste buds for a tantalizing adventure as you explore the exceptional rib vendors and their flavorsome creations at the Jazz & Rib Fest. It’s an opportunity to savor the best barbeque flavors that Columbus and beyond have to offer, making your festival experience truly unforgettable.


Other Food and Drink Options

While the star of the show at the Jazz & Rib Fest is undoubtedly the mouthwatering ribs, the festival also offers a variety of other food and drink options to cater to different tastes and dietary preferences. Whether you’re in the mood for a quick snack or craving something different from barbeque, you’ll find an array of delicious options to satisfy your cravings.

Throughout the festival, you’ll discover food vendors offering a diverse range of cuisines. From classic festival favorites like pizza, burgers, and hot dogs to international flavors such as Mexican, Japanese, and Mediterranean, there’s something to please every palate.

If you’re seeking lighter fare, vegetarian, and vegan options are also available. You’ll find vendors offering fresh salads, vegetable stir-fries, falafel wraps, and other plant-based delights, ensuring that everyone can find something delicious to enjoy.

For those with a sweet tooth, the festival is a haven of delectable desserts. Indulge in homemade ice cream, funnel cakes, churros, or enjoy a slice of creamy cheesecake. The dessert options are varied and plentiful, providing the perfect ending to your Jazz & Rib Fest experience.

In addition to the food options, there are plenty of drink choices available to keep you hydrated and refreshed during the festival. Quench your thirst with cold beverages like soda, iced tea, lemonade, or opt for a craft beer from one of the local breweries featured at the festival. There’s also a selection of wines and cocktails available for those looking to relax and unwind while enjoying the music and atmosphere.

With a multitude of food and drink options, the Jazz & Rib Fest ensures that every attendee can find something satisfying to indulge in. Whether you’re a carnivore or a vegetarian, a fan of spicy or mild flavors, or have a sweet tooth that craves desserts, the festival offers a diverse culinary experience to suit all tastes.

It’s worth noting that vendors and their offerings may vary from year to year, so be sure to explore the festival grounds to discover new flavors and delights each time you attend. With a commitment to providing a wide range of food and drink options, the Jazz & Rib Fest ensures that all festival-goers can enjoy a full and satisfying culinary experience.


Activities and Entertainment

The Jazz & Rib Fest offers much more than just outstanding music and mouthwatering ribs. It’s a comprehensive festival experience that provides a wide range of activities and entertainment to keep attendees engaged and entertained throughout the event.

One of the highlights of the festival is the “Kidz Zone,” a dedicated area for children that offers a variety of age-appropriate activities and entertainment. Kids can participate in arts and crafts workshops, engage in interactive games, enjoy face painting, and even take part in kid-friendly jazz performances. The Kidz Zone ensures that families can enjoy the festival together, creating lasting memories for all.

In addition to the Kidz Zone, the festival often features other interactive workshops and demonstrations that allow attendees to engage with the music and culinary arts. From jazz clinics and instrument workshops to cooking demonstrations by renowned chefs, there are ample opportunities to learn and discover new talents.

Throughout the festival venue, you’ll also find various vendors offering unique and handcrafted items ranging from jewelry and artwork to clothing and accessories. Take some time to browse through the vendor booths and indulge in a bit of retail therapy while supporting local artists and artisans.

As you explore the festival grounds, you may stumble upon impromptu street performances by talented magicians, dancers, or street artists, creating a lively and dynamic atmosphere. These unexpected moments of entertainment add an element of surprise and delight to the overall festival experience.

For those looking to take a break from the music and indulge in a different kind of entertainment, there are often designated areas for relaxation and leisure. You can lounge on comfortable seating areas, enjoy the views of the festival grounds, or simply chat with friends and fellow festival-goers.

With its diverse range of activities and entertainment, the Jazz & Rib Fest ensures that there’s never a dull moment. Whether you’re attending with family, friends, or even by yourself, there’s always something to enjoy, explore, and participate in.

It’s important to note that the specific activities and entertainment may vary from year to year, so checking the festival program or website will provide the most up-to-date information on what to expect during the event.

Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of the Jazz & Rib Fest and partake in the exciting activities and entertainment. From engaging with interactive workshops to enjoying spontaneous performances, every moment at the festival is filled with energy, creativity, and the joy of celebration.


Parking and Transportation

Attending the Jazz & Rib Fest is made convenient with various parking and transportation options available to cater to the needs of festival-goers. Whether you plan to drive to the festival or prefer using public transportation, there are options to ensure a smooth and hassle-free experience.

If you choose to drive, there are several parking options near the festival grounds. You’ll find both street parking and parking garages within walking distance of the venue. It’s advisable to arrive early to secure a parking spot, as availability may be limited, especially during peak festival hours. Be sure to check for any parking restrictions or fees in the area to avoid any surprises.

To ensure a stress-free experience, carpooling with friends or family members is also a great option. By sharing a vehicle, you not only reduce traffic congestion but also split the cost of parking, making it convenient and cost-effective.

If you prefer to use public transportation, there are various options available in Columbus. The city has a well-connected public transit system, including buses and light rail, that can transport you to the festival venue and other areas of interest. Check local transit schedules and routes to plan your journey accordingly.

Another popular transportation option in Columbus is rideshare services like Uber and Lyft. These services provide a convenient and reliable way to get to and from the festival without the hassle of parking. Simply book a ride through the app and enjoy a comfortable journey to the festival grounds.

For those who enjoy cycling, Columbus has a growing network of bike lanes and trails. Consider biking to the festival and taking advantage of designated bike parking areas near the entrance. It’s a healthy and eco-friendly way to travel while avoiding any parking-related concerns.

If you’re staying in a hotel near the festival venue, it’s worth checking if they offer shuttle services to and from the festival. This can be a convenient option, especially if you prefer not to worry about parking or navigating public transportation.

Regardless of the transportation method you choose, it’s important to plan your journey in advance. Check for any road closures, festival updates, and transportation schedules to ensure a seamless experience. Stay informed about any changes or updates through the official Jazz & Rib Fest website, local news outlets, or social media channels.

By considering the parking and transportation options available, you can focus on enjoying the music, savoring the ribs, and immersing yourself in the festive atmosphere of the Jazz & Rib Fest without any transportation-related worries.


Accommodations and Lodging Options

If you’re visiting from out of town or simply prefer to stay near the festival grounds, Columbus offers a range of accommodations to suit every preference and budget. From luxury hotels to budget-friendly options, there are plenty of choices available to ensure a comfortable and convenient stay during the Jazz & Rib Fest.

Many hotels are located within walking distance or a short drive from the festival venue, making it easy to access the event and enjoy the festivities without having to worry about long commutes. Staying close to the festival grounds allows you to fully immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere and ensures that you won’t miss a moment of the action.

When booking accommodations, it’s advisable to plan in advance, especially during the festival dates, as availability may be limited. Consider booking your accommodations as soon as you decide to attend the Jazz & Rib Fest to secure your preferred choice.

In addition to hotels, Columbus also offers bed and breakfast establishments, furnished apartments, and vacation rentals for a more personalized and home-like experience. These options provide the comfort and convenience of a home away from home, making your stay in Columbus even more enjoyable.

When selecting your accommodations, consider factors such as proximity to the festival venue, amenities offered, and your personal preferences. Some hotels may offer special packages or discounts for festival-goers, so be sure to inquire about any promotions that may be available.

It’s also worth exploring the surrounding neighborhoods and suburbs for alternative lodging options. Columbus has a diverse range of neighborhoods, each with its own unique charm and character. Staying in a neighborhood near the festival venue allows you to experience the local culture and explore other attractions and dining options in the area.

As with any travel planning, reading reviews and checking ratings can help you make an informed decision and find accommodations that align with your preferences. Popular travel websites and booking platforms provide helpful insights from previous guests, giving you a better understanding of what to expect.

Remember to consider factors such as transportation options and parking availability when choosing your accommodations. If you plan to drive or rent a car, ensure that your accommodations provide convenient parking facilities.

By selecting the right accommodations and lodging options, you can maximize your enjoyment of the Jazz & Rib Fest and have a comfortable and restful stay in Columbus, Ohio.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. When is the Jazz & Rib Fest held?

The Jazz & Rib Fest typically takes place during the summer, over a three-day weekend. The specific dates may vary from year to year, so it’s best to check the official festival website or local event listings for the most up-to-date information.

2. Where is the Jazz & Rib Fest held?

The festival is held in downtown Columbus, Ohio, specifically on the scenic Scioto Mile. The festival grounds stretch along the riverfront, offering a picturesque setting for music, food, and entertainment.

3. Is the Jazz & Rib Fest a family-friendly event?

Yes, the Jazz & Rib Fest is a family-friendly event. In addition to the live jazz performances, there is a dedicated “Kidz Zone” with activities and entertainment suitable for children of all ages.

4. Can I sample different ribs at the festival?

Absolutely! Many rib vendors at the festival offer tasting opportunities, allowing you to sample different flavors and styles before choosing your favorite. It’s a great way to explore the wide variety of ribs available and find the perfect match for your taste buds.

5. Are there vegetarian or vegan food options available?

Yes, the festival strives to cater to different dietary preferences. You’ll find food vendors offering vegetarian and vegan options, ensuring that everyone can enjoy delicious food at the event.

6. Can I bring my own food and drinks to the festival?

The festival offers a wide range of food and beverage options, so outside food and drinks are typically not permitted. However, there may be exceptions for specific dietary restrictions or medical needs. It’s best to check the festival guidelines or contact the organizers for further information.

7. Is there a cost to attend the Jazz & Rib Fest?

Admission to the Jazz & Rib Fest is typically free. However, there may be charges for certain activities, tastings, or special events within the festival. It’s advisable to check the festival website or program for any additional costs associated with specific experiences.

8. Are pets allowed at the festival?

Pets, other than service animals, are generally not permitted at the Jazz & Rib Fest, as large crowds and loud music may not be suitable for all animals. It’s recommended to leave your furry friends at home, ensuring their safety and the comfort of other attendees.

9. Are there ATMs available at the festival?

Yes, there are typically ATMs available within the festival grounds for your convenience. However, it’s always a good idea to have some cash on hand, as not all vendors may accept card payments.

10. Is there seating available during the jazz performances?

While there may be some seating areas available, it’s recommended to bring your own folding chairs or blankets to ensure a comfortable spot to enjoy the performances. The festival grounds tend to get crowded, and seating can sometimes be limited.

If you have any further questions or need more information about the Jazz & Rib Fest, be sure to visit the official festival website or reach out to the organizers directly. They will be happy to assist you and ensure that you have an enjoyable experience at this exciting event.



The Jazz & Rib Fest in Columbus, Ohio, is a vibrant and dynamic event that celebrates the harmonious union of jazz music and delectable barbeque ribs. This three-day festival is a sensory delight, captivating attendees with soulful melodies, tantalizing aromas, and an electric atmosphere.

From its humble beginnings, the Jazz & Rib Fest has grown into a beloved tradition, attracting music lovers, food enthusiasts, and families from near and far. It’s a celebration of the rich history and artistry of jazz music, showcasing both local talent and renowned national and international artists.

The festival’s commitment to excellence extends beyond the music. The rib vendors deliver mouthwatering flavors and a diverse range of barbeque styles, ensuring that every bite is a delectable experience. Whether you’re a rib connoisseur or a casual barbeque lover, there’s a flavor and style to suit your palate.

In addition to jazz performances and savory ribs, the Jazz & Rib Fest offers a variety of activities and entertainment for attendees of all ages. From interactive workshops and demonstrations to street performances and a dedicated Kidz Zone, the festival ensures everyone can partake in the joy and excitement of the event.

Planning ahead for parking and transportation, considering various lodging options, and exploring the surrounding areas further enhance your experience at the Jazz & Rib Fest. Whether you choose to stay near the festival grounds or venture into the neighborhoods of Columbus, there are accommodations and amenities to suit every preference.

The Jazz & Rib Fest is more than just a music festival – it’s an immersive experience that ignites the senses and brings people together. It’s an opportunity to appreciate the artistry of jazz music, explore the diverse flavors of barbeque, and create lasting memories in the vibrant city of Columbus.

So mark your calendar, pack your appetite for ribs and your love for jazz, and dive into the lively world of the Jazz & Rib Fest. Discover new rhythms, savor mouthwatering ribs, and join in the celebration of music, food, and community at this unforgettable event.

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