Ohio music festivals offer variety outdoors

Submitted photo / Racquel Markulin Youngstown’s The Vindys — from left, Rick Deak, Jackie Popovec and John Anthony — will play alongside national acts as part of the WonderWorks and WonderStruck music festivals.

Music festivals are big business these days and expanding rapidly.

Fans loves the selection — a chance to see old favorites and maybe discover a new one — and have shown a willingness to pay a premium for that variety.

Below are 18 music festivals in Ohio and western Pennsylvania between Memorial Day and Labor Day weekend. Some are brand new events; at least one has been around for more than a half-century.

Those festivals cover just about every genre as well. On the same weekend in July, there is a heavy metal and tattooing festival and a contemporary Christian festival about 90 minutes apart.

This list is focused on multi-day events featuring mostly nationally touring acts. There are dozens more smaller festivals at places like Nelson Ledges Quarry Park and Legend Valley.


WHEN: May 25 to 28

WHERE: Historic Crew Stadium, One Black and Gold Blvd., Columbus

WHO’S PLAYING: This Columbus music festival makes its post-COVID-19 pandemic return with a couple of northeast Ohio natives topping the opening and closing night. Tool, led by Ravenna native James Maynard Keenan, will play on May 25 while Foo Fighters, led by Warren native Dave Grohl, will play one of its first gigs following the death of drummer Taylor Hawkins on May 28. They will be joined by more than 70s acts over four days, including KISS on its farewell tour, Avenged Sevenfold, Queens of the Stone Age, Godsmack, Rob Zombie and Deftones.

TICKET / MORE INFORMATION: sonictemplefestival.com


WHEN: May 27 and 28

WHERE: Hartwood Acres, 4000 Middle Road, Allison Park, Pa.

WHO’S PLAYING: After doing the single-day Maple House festival last year, Elevation Group, the same folks responsible for WonderStruck and WonderBus in Ohio, is expanding its festival at Hartwood Acres to a two-day event as part of its “Wonder”-ful lineup. Many familiar acts will be on the bill for past WonderStruck/LaureLive fans, including Hozier, The Head and the Heat, X Ambassadors, The Revivalists and Youngstown’s The Vindys. Jason Mraz, COIN and Mt. Joy also are among the 24 acts.

TICKETS / MORE INFORMATION: www.wonderworksfest.com


WHEN: June 9 and 10

WHERE: Hocking College, 3301 Hocking Parkway, Nelsonville

WHO’S PLAYING: Now in its second year, Black Diamond leans more country than the Nelsonville Music Festival, which used to be held here. Josh Turner and Ashley McBryde are the headliners. The 16-act bill also includes Tyler Braeden, Lindsay Ell, HunterGirl and Chase Wright.

TICKETS / MORE INFORMATION: www.blackdiamondmusicfestival.com


WHEN: June 14 to 17

WHERE: Clay’s Park Resort, 12951 Patterson St. NW, North Lawrence

WHO’S PLAYING: Young country is king at this festival with Riley Green (June 14), Kane Brown (June 15) Jon Pardi (June 16) and Sam Hunt (June 17) topping the bill each day and joined by Ernest, Dustin Lynch, Chase Rice, Tyler Hubbard (formerly half of Florida-Georgia Line), Lauren Alaina, Warren Zeiders and Randy Houser among the 14 artists scheduled to perform.

TICKETS / MORE INFORMATION: www.thecountryfest.com


WHEN: June 22 to 25

WHERE: Morrow County Fairgrounds, 195 S. Main St., Mount Gilead

WHO’S PLAYING: Country classic rock and contemporary Christian acts make up this event, although it’s somewhat segregated to different days. The first and third days are devoted to country with Craig Morgan, Parmalee and Jess Kellie Adams on June 22 and Justin Moore, Chris Janson, Scott Stevens and The Reeves Brothers on June 24. Brett Michaels will be joined June 23 by Night Ranger and Jefferson Starship, and the festival closes with We the Kingdom, We Are Messengers and Damascus Worship.

TICKETS / MORE INFORMATION: www.freedomfestohio.com


WHEN: July 6 to 8

WHERE: 7103 state Route 66, Fort Loramie

WHO’S PLAYING: One of the long-running fests around features country superstars Tim McGraw, Dierks Bentley and Luke Bryan topping a lineup that features about 35 performers over three days. Other highlights include Jon Pardi, Brothers Osborne, Jelly Roll, Carly Pearce, Jordan Davis and Tracy Lawrence. TICKETS / MORE INFORMATION: countryconcert.com


WHEN: July 8 and 9

WHERE: Lakeland Community College, 7700 Clocktower Drive, Kirtland

WHO’S PLAYING: WonderStruck shifts its musical focus in its third year at Lakeland Community College with far more country (Warren Hayes, Chris Lane, Jimmie Allen, Ingrid Andress) and hip hop (Nelly, Flo Rida) than it’s ever had before. Khalid, COIN, The Struts, Tai Verdes, Aly & AJ, Paris Jackson (with Warren native Michael O’Grady on guitar) and The Vindys also are booked.

TICKETS / MORE INFORMATION: www.wonderstruckfest.com


WHEN: July 13 to 15

WHERE: Atwood Lake Park, 9500 Lakeview Road, Mineral City

WHO’S PLAYING: This contemporary Christian-centric music festival goes from four days to three in 2023 at the waterfront park south of Canton. Headliners Zach Williams (July 13), NEEDTOBREATHE (July 14) and Lauren Daigle (July 15) will be joined by Lecrae, Mac Powell, Taya, Dan Bremes, Crowder, Blessing Offor and more than 30 additional performers.



WHEN: July 14 to 16

WHERE: 100 Reformatory Road, Mansfield

WHO’S PLAYING: This event is equal parts music festival and tattoo show. On the music side, Limp Bizkit, Pantera, Slipknot, Volbeat, Highly Suspect, Lamb of God, In This Moment, Megadeth, Bush and 60 other hard rock and metal acts will fill multiple stages. Tattoo fans can get inked by one of the 29 artists in attendance and watch the tattoo competition. Festival tickets also include a chance to tour the former Ohio State Reformatory, which was used for the movie “The Shawshank Redemption” and many believe to be haunted.

TICKETS / MORE INFORMATION: inkcarceration.com


WHEN: July 20 to 22

WHERE: Andrew J. Brady Music Center, 25 Race St., Cincinnati, and Paycor Stadium, 1 Paycor Stadium, Cincinnati

WHO’S PLAYING: Soul, R&B and hip hop will dominate the musical lineup at the event, which started as the all-jazz Ohio Valley Jazz Festival in 1962. Opening night at the Brady Center features a 50th anniversary of hip hop lineup with Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Big Daddy Kane and Rakim. When the festival moves to Paycor Stadium, Al Green will top a July 21 bill with Jill Scott, Jodeci, Midnight Star and Gerald Albright. Snoop Dogg will be joined on the last night by Babyface, P-Funk Connection, Avery Sunshine and Norman Brown.

TICKETS / MORE INFORMATION: www.cincymusicfestival.com


WHEN: July 21 to 23

WHERE: Snow Fork Event Center, 5685 Happy Hollow Road, Nelsonville

WHO’S PLAYING: In its second year at Snow Fork, this long-running southern Ohio music festival moves from Labor Day weekend to July and boasts a lineup that includes Big Thief, Alex G, Kurt Vile & the Violators, Alvvays, Lucinda Williams, Margo Price and 25 other acts.

TICKETS / MORE INFORMATION: nelsonvillefest.org


WHEN: July 28 and 29

WHERE: Dragway 42, 9161 Rainbow Highway, West Salem

WHO’S PLAYING: This first-time festival mixes classic rock with a bit of country. Ted Nugent headlines the first night with country acts Big & Rich and Jon Langston opening. Cheap Trick tops the bill on July 29, joined by Warrant and former Guns N’ Roses drummer Steve Adler.



WHEN: Aug. 4 to 6

WHERE: Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, 12001 Nelson Ledge Road, Nelson

WHO’S PLAYING: This bluegrass / jamgrass festival returns to Nelson Ledges for the second year. The opening night will feature the Yonder Mountain String Band, Donna the Buffalo and Sam Grisman Project, while a full day of music on Aug. 5 will bring the Del McCoury Band, Sam Bush Band, Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band, Travelin’ McCourys and Leavittsburg native and 14-time Grammy winner Jerry Douglas to the ledges.



WHEN: Aug. 11 and 12

WHERE: Clay’s Park Resort, 12951 Patterson St. NW, North Lawrence

WHO’S PLAYING: This is the second country music festival planned at Clay’s Park Resort this summer. It boasts more of an old-school lineup with Travis Tritt and Tim McGraw as its headliners and a slate that includes Rodney Atkins, Wynonna Judd, Tracy Byrd, John Michael Montgomery, Mark Wills and Mark Chesnutt.

TICKETS / MORE INFORMATION: www.theneonnights.com


WHEN: Aug. 12 and 13

WHERE: Wild Things Park, 1 Washington Federal Way, Washington, Pa.

WHO’S PLAYING: Located southwest of Pittsburgh at the ballpark where the Frontier League’s Washington Wild Things play, this festival features more than 20 punk, pop punk and rock acts over two days. Yellowcard, performing its “Ocean Avenue” album in its entirety, will be joined by Taking Back Sunday, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Waterparks, The Maine and others on Aug. 12. The Gaslight Anthem, The Interrupters, Alkaline Trio, Streetlight Manifesto, Face to Face and American Football top the lineup the second day.

TICKETS/INFORMATION: www.fourchordmusicfestival.com


WHEN: Aug. 23 and 24

WHERE: Put-in-Bay Airport, 1494 Langram Road, Put-in-Bay

WHO’S PLAYING: The Put-in-Bay midweek music fest dropped “country” from its name, but it still features one of the biggest names in country music with Luke Bryan as its Aug. 24 headliner and Brothers Osborne, Dylan Scott, Adam Doleac and Cory Farley also performing. However, the other headliner this year is Latin hip hop-influenced artist Pitbull, who tops a bill that includes Elle King, Filmore, Ashland Craft and Kaylen Pace.

TICKETS / MORE INFORMATION: bashonthebay.com


WHEN: Aug.25 to 27

WHERE: The Lawn at CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service), 2540 Olentangy River Road, Columbus

WHO’S PLAYING: WonderBus continues its three-day schedule for 2023, and Pitbull will have a short trip from Put-in-Bay to top the bill on opening night. Sean Kingston, Big Freedia and .wavrunner also will perform. Demi Lovato will close out Aug. 26 with Oliver Tree, Surfaces, Chelsea Cutler and Dayglow among the dozen acts scheduled that day. Caamp will have a homecoming to close the festival, joined by Portugal. The Man, Brittany Howard, Saint Motel, Meg Myers and eight other artists.

TICKETS / MORE INFORMATION: www.wonderbusfest.com


WHEN: Aug. 25 and 26

WHERE: Historic Crew Stadium, One Black and Gold Blvd., Columbus

WHO’S PLAYING: Breakaway continues to expand, growing to seven cities nationwide, but the event got its start in Columbus. However, this year’s fest goes from three days to two with a lineup that includes Zedd, Flume, Chris Lake, a Porter Robinson DJ set and 20 additional performers and DJs.

TICKETS / MORE INFORMATION: www.breakawayfestival.com/ohio


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