Found roughly 40 miles Northeast of Cincinnati, Wilmington’s small-town charm, community events, and activities for all ages make it the perfect spot when planning an Ohio getaway. Those in search of family-friendly activities should check out the Clinton County History Center, which includes historical exhibits, unique displays, and a research library. The area is a hotbed for family-friendly winter events including the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival, World Equestrian Center Winter Classic, and Great Ohio Toy Show.
The Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival has been one of the top events in Wilmington since its inception in 2003, and it will take place March 23-24 at the Roberts Centre. Patrons will encounter a family-friendly showcase of some of the nation’s top acoustic music artists including Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Rhonda Vincent & The Rage, and more. Performances will range from bluegrass to gospel, offering something for every lover of live acoustic music. Attendees looking to join in the fun can bring their instruments and participate in various jam sessions throughout the venue. Patrons can also purchase a variety of unique and handmade items from regional sellers in the Vendor Showroom, and a spectrum of food and drink options will be available in the Food Court. Proceeds from the event go to a variety of local causes such as veterans groups, programming for children, museums, and more. We interviewed Event Producer, Joe Mullins, to learn more about this celebration of music.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.
JM: 2003 was the first year of the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival.
RAL: How many annual participants do you draw?
JM: We expect 1500-2000 per festival. The event takes place twice annually (March and November).
RAL: What demographic does your event attract? Children? Families? Couples?
JM: Our event offers something for all ages. We see adults over 50, families, and grandparents with their grandchildren. Remember, kids 16 and under are admitted free.
RAL: What makes this event unique?
JM: It's a superb presentation of a wide variety of bluegrass and acoustic talent. We feature established artists including Ricky Skaggs, Rhonda Vincent or Doyle Lawson as well as young talent touring Ohio for the first time. Quality sound, lights, big screens, and a family-friendly atmosphere (smoke and alcohol-free) make it a safe gathering place for bluegrass enthusiasts.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event. What can I expect as an attendee?
JM: Tickets are available in advance or at the door, reserved seats or general admission. The Roberts Centre opens at 10:00 am on each festival day, and a spacious Vendor Showroom and Food Court also opens at that time. Many of our attendees enjoy jamming, meaning amateur musicians always bring their instruments and are picking and singing throughout the convention center. It makes the atmosphere genuinely festive! The Main Stage entertainment begins at noon, and a variety of bands usually perform 45-50 minute sets, with prize giveaways between each act. Music is on stage from Noon until 5:00 pm, with a break for enjoying food options such as quality concessions, a full buffet meal in the banquet space, or a visit to area restaurants. Music resumes at 6:00 pm and bands perform until after 10:00 pm – usually at least five or six different bands each day, all for one affordable ticket.
RAL: Our travelers seek out unique and boutique accommodations, where can they find these in your area?
JM: We are thankful to have the assistance of the Clinton County CVB and many regional hotels. The Mills Park Hotel in Yellow Springs, OH, is a participating sponsor and offer elegant rooms and a wonderful restaurant. The General Denver Inn in Wilmington, OH, is also a historic property with a classic look and feel.
RAL: What does this event mean to the community?
JM: Many area artisans and businesses fill the Vendor Showroom, and we offer a variety of free giveaways and raffle prizes from businesses. We have partnered with MRDD service providers and other agencies to offer the festival experience to many people within the community.
RAL: Does this drive business to your local economy?
JM: Yes, many regional businesses are participating sponsors and enjoy serving our attendees.
RAL: Does the event support a particular cause in the community?
JM: We have facilitated several fundraising efforts during the event to support projects for children’s programming, veterans groups, museums, and more. The festival facilitated a Teacher Workshop for area educators a few years ago, presented by the International Bluegrass Music Association.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
JM: Bluegrass music is a beautiful combination of art and entertainment. Young or old, the atmosphere and entertainment value presented at the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festivals has satisfied thousands of attendees for many years. Vocal and instrumental music from quality entertainers from throughout North America leave it all on the stage at the Roberts Centre. Don’t miss the excitement!
For more information about the Southern Ohio Indoor Music Festival, please visit the event website.