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February 29, 2024

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Some people travel long distances to listen to live music at Black Swamp Arts Festival


Sidi Touré playing music at the Black Swamp Arts Festival.

While the Black Swamp Arts Festival happens yearly, the music almost never stays the same.

There are three music stages at the Black Swamp Arts Festival. The stages include the main stage, an acoustic stage and a family stage.

Some festival-goers go to the main stage, which was located between East Wooster and South Prospect Streets.

“I came to see Elvin Bishop because I am a huge fan,” said Kevin Russell, a resident of Marysville, Ohio.

Russell and his friend Les Mawson had never been to the festival, but they knew this time wouldn’t be their last.

“We will definitely come back again in the future. The atmosphere is so interesting and the music is really good,” said Mawson, a resident of Delaware, Ohio.

Tom Henry, of Maumee, Ohio, came to the festival because his son attends the University, but the musicians surprised Henry.

“I really enjoyed the Ben Miller Band. He was unique and highly creative with his music and the music was folky rock, which I like,” Henry said.

Nikki Brown, part-time musician with The Slide Brothers, loves performing live because of the audience.

“I came here a couple of years ago. The hospitality is so great; everybody is so warm and inviting. The unity in the community is so great,” Brown said.

Even though some students had to come for classes, senior Ilana Milberg, who came for a guitar class, made the best of the assignment she was given.

“I’m really glad I came. I found a lot of artists that I liked,” she said.

One of those artists was singer/songwriter Diana Chittester.

“She was very comfortable on stage and she connected with the audience really well,” Milberg said.

Andrew “Jr. Boy” Jones, and his band, played at the festival on Saturday for the fourth time in his career.

“It’s a great festival and we love being invited. Kelly [Wicks, of Grounds for Thought] treats us very well when we come,” Jones said.

The Black Swamps Arts Festival was the official release of Jones’ newest album, “Ready to Play.” The album was entirely recorded and produced in Bowling Green.

“Kelly talked to my agent and me about doing the project and I said “sure, why not?” so we [recorded] at Grounds for Thought,” he said.

Sophomore Alexis Adams listened to Jones and his band and liked what she heard.

“I think it’s really cool that everything for the album was done in Bowling Green,” she said.

Freshman Samantha Crist enjoyed Jones’ music.

“The music is mellow and very diverse. It makes me want to dance,” she said.

The thing that keeps Jones and his band coming back to the city is the way the festival is set up and the audience.

“It’s a good festival, it’s different from the others … we can recognize the difference [in festivals] when we come here, it’s always good. There’s always a good vibe,” Jones said.


(Info pulled from

Friday, Sept. 6:

Ben Miller Band

Ruthie Foster

Ruby Velle and the Soulphonics

The Bright Light Social Hour

Saturday, Sept. 7:

Diana Chittester

The Womack Family Band

The Brothers Comatose

Kobo Town

Andrew “Jr. Boy” Jones

The Slide Brothers

Elvin Bishop

The Aggrolites

Sunday, Sept. 8:

Sidi Toure


Big Sandy and his Fly-Rite Boys

Eddie Shaw & the Wolfgang

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