Originally published in print in the Westerville ThisWeek News and online here
Wednesday June 10, 2015 2:15 PM
The 42nd Westerville Music & Arts Festival will crank up the summer heat with blues guitarist Rory Block.
Usually, the festival’s musical acts hail from central Ohio, but festival organizers from the Westerville Area Chamber of Commerce wanted to bring a nationally known artist in the hopes of raising even more money for the chamber’s scholarship foundation.
Tickets to see Aurora “Rory” Block at 5 p.m. July 11 in Heritage Park, 60 N. Cleveland Ave., will cost $25 — another first for the festival. Children under the age of 12 who accompany a paying adult are free.
The Music & Arts Festival will also feature more than 21 musical acts, 150 fine arts and crafts people from around the country, 15 food vendors, live entertainment on two stages, youth entertainment and activities.
Admission to the festival will cost $1 and children under the age of 16 are free.
Block is a blues guitar artist known for her haunting vocal style and has released 25 CDs throughout her 48-year career.
Chamber Chairman Bob Gibson said he has been a fan of Block since he was just 16.
When the 2015 festival was being planned, chamber President and CEO Janet Tressler-Davis asked Gibson if they could do something special for this year’s event.
“I finished reading Rory’s autobiography at 6 a.m. and thought, ‘What the heck, I’ll email her. It’s probably just her manager’s email address,'” he said. “But 15 minutes later she personally responded saying she was interested.”
Block has worked with artists such as Stevie Wonder, Paul Shaffer, Bonnie Raitt and Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits.
“She’s been a part of the most amazing things in music over the years,” Gibson said.
He explained how Block grew up in Greenwich Village in New York City and came from a family of musicians who exposed her to blues music at a young age.
“Rory’s a fantastic entertainer and we are so excited to have her,” he said. “Westerville has a tremendous philanthropic spirit and by seeing her, folks are able to still give back to the community.”
The Columbus-based all-female group The Salty Caramels will open for Block.
A crowd of 18,000 people is estimated to attend the two-day Westerville Music & Arts Festival, according to a chamber press release.
The Heartland Bank Stage has 304 seats available and so far, about 50 have been sold.
There will be a meet-and-greet with Block after the show for ticket holders inside the first floor of the Everal Barn, from 7 to 7:30 p.m.
Tickets to see Block may be purchased at westervillechamber.com. For more information, call Gibson at 614-354-9628.