An attendee of INKCARCERTATION 2019 surfs over the crowd of nearly 1,500 during the festival.

MANSFIELD -- I spend a lot of time in downtown Mansfield. It's where my favorite coffee shop in the world is located. It's where I work. I can get there by walking from my apartment. Many of my friends own businesses downtown, and the others are patrons of those venues.

As the music reporter for Richland Source and an avid downtowner, I couldn't help but notice the amount of festival goers to Inkcarceration over the past two years, and how little of them trickle from the music and tattoo festival's venue at the Ohio State Reformatory to make their way downtown.

INKcarceration announces July 2020 lineup

I've traveled a lot for a young adult. I have packing down to a system, but even I occasionally forget my travel toothbrush or — God help my traveling party — deodorant.

That scenario makes me wonder, do the campers and patrons of one of the best Rock Festivals in Ohio not need these items, too? Surely one of the approximately 15,000 could've used something from Hursh Drug to have a better weekend.

Maybe a hearty meal at Uncle John's or Coney Island, City Grille or Reindeer Grill would fit the bill, too. Maybe an evening out could be part of the plan at Rocky's Pub, Hudson & Essex, Dan Lew, or Martini's, The Phoenix, etc.

Couldn't Mansfield find the resources to get those folks downtown for these and a myriad of other needs?

As a two-year Inkcarceration attendee, I know a barrier for getting in and out of OSR bound for anywhere is parking. Once the vehicle leaves the spot, there is no guarantee there will be a parking spot at all, much less as close as the vehicle is now.

A shuttle could help attract festival goers go downtown because they are not giving up their spot.

Could a Richland County Transit bus could be designated a special route for the weekend?

Or, because the show is in the summer time (July 10-12), with school out, could a Mansfield City School bus be rented as a free shuttle to and from The Ohio State Reformatory?

Perhaps the business owners could collectively rent a vehicle. Mansfield needs to be as accessible as possible to get outsiders to come and see the improvements our city has and is making.

Mansfield downtown shops have multiple ways to fulfill the needs of those visiting for either the first or third time.

Maybe they need a break from the consistent loud music, maybe they need more contact-lens solution, maybe they want Greek food, perhaps they wanted a new vinyl record -- maybe a cigar from Suzy's Smoke Room.

Last summer, the festival didn't begin until after noon each day, giving plenty of time for people to go downtown and come back.

Shouldn't our city have a way to help them and the local businesses connect?

Support Our Journalism

If you've ever experienced the joy of creativity and culture, then you know the value of the arts. Your support of our reporting enhances that. Become a Source member today.

Staff Reporter

Noah Jones is host to The Open Mic Podcast -- available on Apple Podcasts! He is the crime, education and music reporter for Richland Source. He is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and a giant Cardinals fan.