Some music fests go dark, others take their place

Gray Areas

Why go see one band when you can see 10 or more for a comparable price?

That is the driving ethos of summer music festivals, day-long or multi-day events promising a variety of acts and multiple stages. And in many cases, a weekend pass will cost about the same as an upper deck, nosebleed seat for a two-hour Rolling Stones concert.

None of these events get the hype of Coachella or Lollapalooza, but music fans of nearly every genre can find some appealing options closer to home.

Music festival season in Ohio got started last weekend with four days of hard rock and metal at Sonic Temple in Columbus, which replaced Rock on the Range.

While there are some newcomers, several longstanding events are nowhere to be seen on this summer’s schedule.

Despite a social media post in March that, “The Wonder fests may take place later than usual, but there are no plans to give up what we started,” Wonderstruck (formerly LaureLive) in greater Cleveland, WonderBus in Columbus and WonderWorks in Pittsburgh still are unannounced.

This is Ohio. If it’s not happening by September; it’s not happening. And if they haven’t announced anything by Memorial Day weekend, it’s probably not happening.

Sudden Little Thrills, a new festival in Pittsburgh that could have appealed to fans of those Wonder-ful events (especially with The Killers and St. Vincent playing the first night), ended up canceling last week “due to circumstances beyond our control,” according to its website.

Pittsburgh will have its Four Chord Music Festival (www.fourchordmusicfestival.com) on June 22 and 23 with more than 25 acts – A Day to Remember, The Story So Far, Senses Fail, State Champs, All-American Rejects, Something Corporate, Motion City Soundtrack and Relient K.

The Black Diamond Music and Arts Festival (www.blackdiamondmusicfestival.com), which is held on the former site of the Nelsonville Music Festival, scales back from two days to one (June 7) and offers a lesser caliber of acts.

At the same time, Nelsonville (nelsonvillefest.org) has several of my personal favorites (Courtney Barnett, Bob Mould, Killer Mike) among the 48 acts performing from July 25 to 28.

Those who missed Sonic Temple can head to Inkcarceration (inkcarceration.com) in Mansfield from July 19 to 21. The combination tattoo-and-music festival features Breaking Benjamin, Godsmack and Shinedown as headliners of its 70-act lineup.

Alive Music Festival (www.alive.org) will lure contemporary Christian fans to Atwood Lake Park in Mineral City from July 18 to 20 with more than 30 performers (For King + Country, Jeremy Camp, Skillet).

The Cincinnati Music Festival (www.cincymusicfestival.com) serves up R&B, soul and hip hop from July 25 to 27 with Maxwell, New Edition, MC Lyte and KRS-One.

Country fans can bounce from fest to fest all summer long.

The Country Fest (www.thecountryfest.com) at Clay’s Resort Jellystone Park in North Lawrence has Chris Janson, Lainey Wilson, Cody Johnson and Thomas Rhett topping the bill from June 12 to 15. The Country Rumble Music Festival (33westevents.com) in Lima on June 21 and 22 has Ashley McBryde and Walker Hayes among its 10 artists.

Johnson and Wilson also will be headliners at the long-running Country Concert (countryconcert.com) at Fort Laramie along with HARDY from July 11 to 13.

Dragway 42 Music Festival (www.42fest.com) features a mix of country and classic rock on July 26 and 27 in West Salem with Lee Brice, Kansas, Elle King and Foghat on the bill. Neon Nights (www.theneonnights.com), held on the same site as The Country Fest, offers a similar mix, bringing Brad Paisley, Trace Adkins and Pam Tillis on Aug. 9 and Lynyrd Skynyrd, ZZ Top and Blackhawk on Aug. 10.

The Voices of America Country Music Festival in West Chester (voacountrymusicfest.com) will feature 25 acts from Aug. 8 to 11, including Jason Aldean, Keith Urban, Sam Hunt and Ernest.

Those who miss HARDY in Fort Laramie can catch him on Put-in-Bay for Bash on the Bay 7 (bashonthebay.com) featuring Jelly Roll, Oliver Anthony, Warren Zeiders and Ernest on Aug. 21 and 22.

Let’s hope the weather cooperates.


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