Festival season is upon us and in full swing, drawing massive crowds across the nation to shows coast to coast. Bunbury Music Festival, held just up the road in Cincinnati, was no exception. The weekend of May 31st – June 2nd tens of thousands of music lovers came to Sawyer Point Park & Yeatman’s Cove, located on Cincinnati’s riverfront to experience a variety of music genres and enjoy countless vendors. This year’s headliners included pop-punk avengers Fall Out Boy, youthful rockers reminiscent of Led Zeppelin Greta Van Fleet, and edgy British boy band The 1975.
Festival goers varied greatly. It was an incredibly eclectic group of people, perhaps due to the wide variety of artists and bands that performed at the festival. Flower crowns and tie dye were some popular hits but there were also those decked in black from head to toe. There were toddlers and well seasoned concert goers. Entire families attended and parents hoisted their children on their shoulders during some pretty insane sets. As varied as the people were, the music is what ultimately drove people to bond.
There were two main stages, as well as a smaller stage and an acoustic stage. Most crowds moved from one end of the venue to the next, but some camped out at a stage all day just to be front row for their favorite band. Those in the front were extremely enthusiastic and were very obviously dedicated to the cause.
Each day brought variety. Friday’s lineup The Orphan The Poet, You vs Yesterday, Chandler Carter, RADATTACK, Taylor Janzen, HalfNoise, Poppy, Julian Kerins, Joywave, Witt Lowry, James Gilmore, Bayside, Machine Gun Kelly, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, NF and Stone Temple Pilots, with Fall Out Boy to close out the day.
During FOB’s set, bassist Pete Wentz pointed out a very young fan and offered them an experience “that their classmates at school won’t believe on Monday” and brought them up on stage. It’s not very often thousands of adults are jealous of a child, but this was definitely one of those moments. As fireworks went off in the distance (courtesy of the Cincinnati Reds winning their game) FOB played hits new and old, from Sugar, We’re Going Down, to Immortals. If you weren’t in love with this festival yet, this show sealed the deal.
90’s Kids, SHAED, iamchelseaiam, Great Good Fine Ok, The Blue Stones, Common Kings, Flora Cash, Young Heirlooms, Tropidelic, Jukebox the Ghost, Jack Burton Overdrive, Dashboard Confessional, Jeremy Zucker, Blue October, AWOLNATION, Sublime with Rome and Greta Van Fleet came prepared to impress on Saturday.
If you haven’t heard of Greta Van Fleet, you need to go listen to “Black Smoke Rising” and tell me you don’t feel like you’re living your best life in the late 70’s. Their stage energy was absolutely contagious and the whole crowd was captivated by their unique sound.
Closing out the weekend on Sunday was bülow, Friday Pilots Club, The Candescents, Samuel Day, Laura Sanderson, Triiibe, The Aces, Trauma Illinois, Reignwolf, The Clarks, Parker Louis, Streetlight Manifesto, Clutch, lovelytheband, Girl Talk, Run the Jewels and The 1975.
The 1975 closed out the weekend the only way they knew how… with Lead Singer Matty Healy dancing and shaking across the stage with energy so infective that every head I could see was bobbing up and down. Lyrics pulsated across the stage side displays during songs like “TOOTIMETOOTIMETOOTIME,” allowing even those unfamiliar with their sound to sing along.
Bunbury is an experience. If you’re okay with a little mid-summer heat and jumping up and down with thousands, celebrating the beats that bring us all together, make the trip. It is so worth it.
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