Cody Cousino / Multimedia editor
The summer music festival season is closing in fast, and as a result many official lineups have finally been announced. These festivals are scheduled to take place in the coming months in all areas of the country, and your particular tastes in music will likely determine your music festivals of choice. Each week, I’ll weigh in on an upcoming festival.
Bunbury Music Festival is one of the few festivals scheduled to take place in the great state of Ohio this summer. Slated to occur July 12-14 in Cincinnati at Sawyer Point Park and Yeatman’s Cove, Bunbury is still just a pretty young thing on the festival scene – 2012 was its first year. Yet being in its infancy isn’t stopping this event from attracting some big names, as bands such as fun., Tegan and Sara, MGMT and The National are already scheduled to perform throughout the weekend. Here are some performers, both big and small, I think you should try to catch if Bunbury is on your list of things to do this summer.
Walk the Moon
This band has members that hail from Cincinnati, so it makes perfect sense that it would return home with this festival. Everyone I know would vouch that I’ve been annoyingly obsessed with Walk the Moon since I began listening to the band, and its signature quirky, happy music is a big reason. Hearing absolutely any of its songs produces an urge to add rainbow war paint to my face and twirl in circles, hands thrown out to the sides and face toward the sky. This band’s music is perfect for the general atmosphere of music festivals, and Bunbury should be no different. Listen for “I Can Lift A Car,” a tune that’ll have you swaying in that warm summer breeze.
I can honestly say I had never heard a single note from this band before researching the performers for Bunbury this year, but I have found a new favorite in Ambassadors. It’s surprising that this band is not more well-known because of the level of talent it showcases. Though its songs vary in tempo, there is always a grooving beat beneath the rest of the music that could make even the biggest stick in the mud want to jam out. I guarantee that even if this dark, brooding music isn’t your cup of tea, you’ll want to drink up as much as you can based on pure talent alone. The title track from Ambassadors’ 2012 album “Litost” is a personal favorite.
The first time I heard Civil Twilight, I thought I was listening to U2 because they sound incredibly similar, both showcasing a brand of alternative rock that’s perfect for the radio. While I know this specific genre is not for everyone, I too have suffered from the feelings that modern radio is ruining the music industry and would like to stick it to the man by never listening again. I can’t stop myself from liking this band – a lot. Lead singer Steven McKellar’s voice is so soothing, and his softly sung lyrics provide the perfect accompaniment to the somewhat grating (in a good way) quality of the instruments and the music itself. After hearing a live version of Civil Twilight’s song “River” sound so fantastic, I can only imagine how great the rest of the music will sound too.
The Bears of Blue River
All of the bands listed so far have been of the indie rock variety, so The Bears of Blue River is a big musical anomaly here. The band’s Facebook page description touts it as “pop music dressed up in bops and doo wops,” and after listening I can tell you that’s the most accurate description possible for this music. These songs are full of a twang I didn’t think I could possibly enjoy, but I found it was hard for me to stop nodding my head along to the beat. The most refreshing part of this band is that it’s fronted by Gavin Wilkinson and Maggie Gard, adding some much needed lady power to Bunbury’s primarily male-dominated lineup. “Betty Homemaker” is a sweet little ditty that epitomizes the style of The Bears of Blue River, and it will forever play in my head on repeat.
Twenty One Pilots
Of course, this list would be incomplete without a shout out to a band based out of our lovely Columbus. I’m a little late to the Twenty One Pilots party, but with its unique blending of indie pop and rap influences it was only a matter of time until I too became a member of the obsessed masses. I’ve never heard anything like this duo before, and it’s only made better by the fact that both the rapping and singing are impeccable. There’s something about listening to this band’s “Guns For Hands” that makes me feel like Superwoman and produces an insatiable urge to conquer the world. If that’s what happens when listening to Twenty One Pilots in a cramped dorm room, I can only imagine the effect of hearing the band live in the bright sunshine and wide, open space of an outdoor venue.
Tickets for Bunbury Music Festival can be purchased online as either one-day passes for $55 each or three-day passes for $110 each. A limited supply of three-day VIP passes are also available for $295 each.