Chris Smith has truly loved and enjoyed bluegrass music since he was a pre-teen. That love has turned into he and four of his closest friends forming the band Caney Creek, starting a bluegrass festival, and promoting children into hearing and learning the music.
He spent most of his childhood going from festival to festival with his dad, Bob. It was there in Northcentral Ohio that he was able to learn how to play the banjo and guitar. The guys would have jam sessions, and he was right there asking them questions and learning from the best. He has now enjoyed playing music for over 30 years.
He, along with Kurt Hickman, decided to start their own festival in Norwalk, Ohio. That union brought on Chris’s bluegrass kids show. Chris had been involved with the youth at the area schools teaching them, and he really wanted to carry on the torch, and maybe a child would catch the bug that he did at their age. So, on Saturday morning, before the scheduled bands play, the kids get showcased for 30 minutes. Whether they are just learning, or have been playing a year or more didn’t matter. He wanted to get them exposed and in the spotlight.
In 2017, Chris took over the Helping Families With Cancer festival, and renamed it Mansfield Jamfest. He has continued to promote bluegrass music and the kids show. The first year was very successful, and he is looking forward to a great show in 2018. Chris wants to highlight the kids show. He feels that he was so blessed to be a part of such a great community of people and musicians, and wants to keep the love of bluegrass music continuing on for years to come.