Written by Sam Reed
The very first weekend in June thousands of music lovers aligned for the first ever 3-day sell-out in Bunbury Music Festival’s history. The festival brought along many large names in the alt-rock and top 20 realm, creating a diverse and thrilling atmosphere for people of all walks of life. Fans from near and far, even from out of the country, came together in Cincinnati, OH to take in some amazing music and some even more beautiful scenery. Bunbury is nestled in downtown Cincinnati at Sawyer’s Point, surrounded by the Ohio River and the multiple bridges leading into Kentucky providing the perfect backdrop for the weekend.
The first day entailed the likes of many amazing alt-rock artists you know and love such as The Front Bottoms, LANY, Fitz and the Tantrums, and Young the Giant. Torrential downpours hit midday amongst a slew of heat and sunshine causing a brief delay in festivities but as Midwest weather goes the storm blew over quickly and music was able to resume. Royal Blood and Bishop Briggs kicked off the remainder of the evening and continued the thunder with phenomenal, high-energy performances.
The first day set the tone perfectly for the remainder of the weekend, showcasing so many amazing female artists and really inspiring their audience. Fans seemed nothing less than elated and ready by the time that the headliner, The Chainsmokers, came on. Full of fog, bright lights, and fan favorites, The Chainsmokers sent fans home satiated and eager to take on the next day.
Day two was packed full of fans patiently awaiting the Incubus set, sharing in nostalgia with friends and strangers alike. Legendary acts like Third Eye Blind, Andrew McMahon and the Wilderness, and Foster the People graced the stage and played classics such as “Jumper”, “Fire Escape”, and “Pumped Up Kicks.” resulting in singalongs all day long. While acts like California-based Magic Giant and Ohio-natives Zoo Trippin’ showed us something new and were thoroughly talked, giving the audience a true one-of-a-kind, captivating performance. Inbetween sets fans could be seen grabbing a craft beer, selfie-ing, playing cornhole, or grabbing their favorite festival food and truly taking in everything Bunbury had to offer.
Day three was another packed with heavy-hitters from the beginning of the day through to the headliners. Lillie Mae was the first act to hit the main stage on the final day of Bunbury and her name was still popping up by the end of the night. Having had worked alongside Jack White (the headliner for the evening), expectations for her set were high and still she found a way to exceed them with a soft smile and grace.
Massive and seasoned names such as Dropkick Murphys, Manchester Orchestra, and Coheed and Cambria lined the rest of the day with very excitable and memorable sets, and before fans knew it the sun was about set. Just as soon as the magical weekend had started it was ready to come to a close and thousands of people packed the Sawyer Point Stage waiting for popular rapper, Post Malone to take the stage. Playing into the sunset, Post kept fans dancing, singing-along, drinking, and playing with a massive rainbow parachute, sending festival attendees off to headliner, Jack White, with nothing but smiles and positivity.
Overall Bunbury provided fans with a safe and positive weekend and truly made a name for itself among the festival world. With dates overlapping New York’s Governer’s Ball, Bunbury was able to maintain a lineup that could draw fans of all ages and sell out the entire weekend with many names overlapping the much larger festival. While the location for the festival is scenic and quaint, it does limit Bunbury from growing to the size of other popular alternative summer music festivals but I appreciate the intimacy the Bunbury provided fans. The acts packed a punch but the location warranted a much more close experience while fans brought a great energy to feed off of, creating the perfect weekend in Cincinnati.