A new song for Columbus: Inaugural Cerafest to highlight a mix of country and folk artists

Folk and bluegrass music already has whisked Columbus native Jackson Grimm nearly around the world — and he has performed for only a few short years.

That’s because he began playing guitar, banjo and mandolin with the Grimm Family Band featuring veteran musician-dad Tim Grimm and vocalist-mom Jan Lucas, longtime staples of the folk scene nationally and internationally.

Twenty-four-year-old Jackson Grimm, now based in Asheville, North Carolina, gradually is moving out of the shadow of his parents and into his own identity amid the folk family. Music fans can see for themselves when he and his band The Bull Moose Party appear at the inaugural rain-or-shine Cerafest event Aug. 11-12 at Ceraland Park, 3989 S. County Road 525E southeast of Columbus.

Fans may be surprised to see him flexing musical muscle rather than athletic strength. That’s because he spent his formative years in Columbus and in college with pastimes such as soccer rather than music.

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“I expect that a lot of the folks who knew me before now and they may have no idea that I am now a musician,” Grimm said, speaking by phone from North Carolina. “This will be the first local show that I’ve done with my own music — music that I myself have written.”

That may include a bit of material from his 2016 extended-play disc “The Airtime Sessions,” but also newer tunes he recently has completed. He expects to be recording some of those works this week or next. He looks to also include old-time folk standards as well.

“We definitely want to keep the set list pretty flexible,” he said.

Others with Columbus roots seem to be singing the same tune about their prospective songs. Columbus native Peter Oren, 26, also only a few years into a serious music career, has played dates so far this year in such far-flung locales as Italy, Sweden and Germany.

“I’m just grateful that I can do something somewhat abnormal like this, and do it on my own terms,” Oren said.

He laughed about describing his music and baritone voice to others. Instead, he offered a bar listener’s recent description of his singing voice as “the sound you would get if you took sandpaper to Tom Waits’ voice.”

For now, he’s retaining a home base in Columbus, but has spent plenty of time on the road. His figures his set list will include ample time for stories in between songs. His aim is simple: to touch people with his lyrics and vocals.

So when a guy in Berlin recently came up after a set and emotionally confessed that Oren’s music just ushered him through a major challenge, Oren took particular notice.

“That’s about as good as it gets for me,” he said.

Longtime Columbus singer Craig Thayer, who began performing in college at Ohio’s Miami University in the 1970s, looks to include covers such as Arlo Guthrie’s “City of New Orleans,” Johnny Cash’s “I Still Miss Someone,” and the Charlotte Diamond novelty tune, “I Wanna Be a Dog,” complete with panting noises and a longing to run after sticks.

“I feel honored just to be asked to be a part of this,” Thayer said.

Columbus native Chase Ballard, one of the Cerafest organizers, mentioned that ticket sales have been slower than planners ideally would like. But they noted a slight boost in sales a few days ago.

“We’re still confident (of support),” Ballard said.

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What: Inaugural Cerafest music festival, featuring a variety of local, regional and national country and folk acts

When: Beginning at noon Aug. 11 and 12:30 p.m. Aug. 12.

Lineup: Aug. 11 — Mo Pitney; Clayton Anderson; Alex Williams; Cody Ikerd and the Sidewinders; Reece Phillips; Craig Thayer. Aug. 12 — Caamp; Smooth Hound Smith; Peter Oren; Timmy the Teeth; Angela Perley and the Howlin’ Moons; Jackson Grimm; Fox Valley Harvest.

Where: Ceraland Park, 3989 S. County Road 525 East southeast of Columbus.

Tickets: $30 to $70, available at cerafest.com.

Information: cerafest.com