GROOVE U Music School Students Produce Ohio Creatives Festival July 30-31 in Dublin


Music has been a part of Samm Taylor’s life for almost as long as he can remember.

The 20-year-old, a 2019 graduate of Hilliard Darby High School, remembers singing on a car radio when he was 5. One of his favorites was “Mambo No. 5” by Lou Bega.

At age 11, he began playing the viola at Hilliard’s Tharp Sixth Grade School.

“I remember the Tharp staff coming to my elementary school and showing us the band and orchestra instruments,” Taylor said. “I chose the viola because one of the teachers said, ‘No one chooses this instrument, and it’s usually forgotten. “”

Taylor didn’t forget the viola and added ukulele, electric bass, keyboards and drums to his repertoire of performing instruments.

He and many other musicians, filmmakers, producers, engineers and others will showcase their diverse skills at the first – and likely only – Ohio Creations Festival from July 30 to 31 in Dublin.

The Ohio Creatives Festival is the brainchild and flagship project of the 11 graduating class of 2021 from U-GROOVEa two-year music industry school at 5030 Bradenton Ave. at Dublin.

The two-day festival will showcase local bands, independent films and, just as importantly, connect artists to each other and a range of music industry professionals, said Evan Hoffman, 21, from Milan , CEO of the Ohio Creatives Festival. and 2021 graduate of GROOVE U.

Each GROOVE U graduating class is responsible for creating a required capstone project.

The Class of 2021 hosted the Ohio Creatives Festival through student-run label Elementary Records at GROOVE U.

While prospective GROOVE U students may host a similar festival, the Ohio Creatives Festival’s specific makeup and branding is unique to the class of 2021, said Sarah Hudson, GROOVE U’s director of development.

The Ohio Creatives Festival has evolved, like many things, in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

“We planned it because we missed South by Southwest” in 2020 and 2021, Taylor said.

GROOVE U students typically traveled to Austin, Texas each March to attend a large annual event featuring film screenings, live music, lectures, and other music-related activities.

“It’s a great opportunity to network and meet people in the industry,” Taylor said. “Unfortunately COVID-19 came a week before we left. Then this year they didn’t have an in-person festival. So we got together and decided to start our own festival because we never had the opportunity to experience South by Southwest.”

Live music will be played from 5pm to 10pm on July 30 and from 4pm to 10:30pm on July 31 on the stages of the Darby lot in historic Dublin city centre. The land is adjacent to the Dublin branch of the Columbus Metropolitan Library, 75 N. High St., and behind Tucci’s, 35 N. High St.

Columbus-based bands Laveer and Pray for Sleep headline July 30 and 31, respectively.

Taylor will be among the team members working to present the two days of live music at the festival.

A series of lectures – ranging from how to shoot movies, record music and avoid copyright infringement – are offered from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on July 31 at the Exchange in the Bridge Park area. Film screenings are also scheduled for July 31.

Ticketing is mandatory for all events except live music, said Hoffman, a graduate of Edison High School in Milan, which sits between Cleveland and Toledo and is known as the birthplace of Thomas Edison.

For a schedule of classes, events and ticketing information, go to

The festival’s goal is to “connect creatives, industry professionals and businesses to launch careers and build relationships, while enabling creatives to share content,” Hoffman said.

Hudson said festival planning is just one of the many ways GROOVE U prepares its graduates for a career in the music industry.

GROOVE U was founded by Dwight Heckelman, a former faculty member at Berklee College of Music in Massachusetts who has experience as a journalist and music editor, Hudson said.

The school offers a two-year degree, as opposed to an associate’s degree, because it does not offer general education courses, Hudson said.

It was founded as a company in 2010 and obtained its first degree in 2012.

Each class is limited to 12 students to help place its graduates in employment, which it does at a rate of 94%, Hudson said.

The school has six main areas of study: audio production, music business, live sound engineering, video production, interactive media, and independent music.

There’s a 4-to-1 ratio of lab time to class time, Hudson said.

During that time, Taylor said, GROOVE U helped expand his knowledge and love of music.

“I learned how to record, produce and mix (music),” he said.

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