The Jazz & Rib Fest, now in its 33rd year, has become a summertime tradition in Columbus. Some of the country’s best barbecue masters (from Kansas City, Texas, Memphis, Ohio and beyond) invade the Arena District to showcase their savory goods. Everything from fall-off-the-bone ribs and pulled pork to barbecued chicken and brisket will be smoked, grilled or slathered in sweet or spicy sauces.
Local sausage experts Schmidt’s will join the barbecuers. They might be best known for their Bavarian cream puffs, but the cooks at Schmidt’s also make ribs coated with pineapple habanero barbecue sauce.
And what goes better with barbecued meats than jazz? Well, maybe napkins, I guess. Three stages welcome numerous national and local jazz musicians.
Friday’s headliner, Soulive — the trio of guitarist Eric Krasno, drummer Alan Evans and keyboardist Neal Evans — will chill out the crowd with its brand of soul-infused jazz.
At 9 p.m. Saturday, Chicago jazz scene fixture and three-time Grammy-winner Ramsey Lewis will perform with his Electric Band on the AEP Stage at McFerson Commons. Here’s a fun fact: Lewis, a pianist, earned one of his Grammys for an album featuring Ohio’s beloved “Hang on Sloopy.”
To close out the festival, the Columbus Jazz Orchestra will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday on the AEP Stage.