Listeners at the Majestic Galleries, Nelsonville, Ohio. Photo: Josh Ottum

fire trucks, a few muscle cars, and a host of festival queens from around the state. The announcer’s sing-song baritone voice provides a running commentary as he introduces each queen: “And here’s ourvery own Moonshine Queen... That is one serious dress you’ve got on right now...” The festival highlights one of the ways the region remembers and defines itself, deriving names from different industries, histories, and attractions, such as the “Railroad Festival,” “Old Settlers Reunion,” “Ohio Hills Folk Festival,” “Coal Festival,” and “Indian Mound Festival.”

I continue to listen and walk toward a parking lot where there are a number of temporary carnival rides set up. As I move away from the parade its sounds do not disappear all together, but rather merge and overlap into the noise of machinery, chains moving, and mostly empty cages whirling overhead. There are more fragments of conversation: “Hey hey hey, you ready to play? I’ll let you win today!” A child yells above the din of machinery, “I wanna go on the rocket! I wanna go on the rocket!” as another says, “Hey, can you buy me a wristband?”

These are the sounds of the “Moonshine Festival,” and this installation evokes and celebrates the movement, variety, and interaction of the people that are in attendance.

Listeners at the ILLIO Gallery, Columbus, Ohio.

Listeners at the ILLIO Gallery, Columbus, Ohio.

Moonshine Parade (2014) is a 6-channel sound installation (30 minute loop). It was originally part of the “Spatial Topologies” group show at Majestic Galleries in Nelsonville, Ohio (February 28 - March 23, 2014). It was also installed as a solo show at the It Looks Like It's Open Gallery in Columbus, Ohio (May 17-31, 2014), was part of the "Sound" group show at Austin Peay State University, Tennessee (January 20-February 16, 2015), the "Still Life" group show at Middle Tennessee State University (August 27-September 10, 2015), and the "Sound" group show at the Crisp-Ellert Museum at Flagler College (October-November 2016).

I walk along Main Street in New Straitsville, Ohio, during the “Moonshine Festival,” and fragments of many conversations come in and out of focus: “...So he sent a guy out there, see what’s goin’ on,” “Ah, you know what we didn’t bring?” “You know buddy, I’ve never been pulled over...” I walk past booths selling t-shirts and food trucks selling funnel cakes and onion petals. A parade begins, mostly of local 

Photo: Jon Johnson

Photo: Jon Johnson