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Another Bunbury Music Festival is in the books. Like past years, this three-day event is packed with music to fit almost
anyone's musical preference--and as noted by the various attendee's ages. The famous local chili food truck along
with many local vendors and eateries lined the Cincinnati Riverfront walkway which led to three full stages: Sawyer
Point Stage, CVG River Stage and Yeatman's Cove Stage.
New this year was an elaborate outdoor bar sponsored by Miller Lite Beer, brewed in Trenton. Adding to the festival
this year, FYE set up a tent selling CD and vinyl selections from most of the acts playing throughout the weekend;
a handful of those artists agreed to a meet and greet autograph session with purchases. I took advantage of finally
buying the X-Ambassadors debut album VHS and having them sign it!
Friday’s musical line-up began with Leggy, a Cleveland trio performing punk-garage tunes whose two female members
lived up to their name. With some bands having shorter sets, many kicked off with crowd favorites, such as
The Shelters' “Rebel Heart” and Wombats' “Give Me A Try.” Charles Bradley and His Extraordinaire’s brought the
house down with funky, soulful R&B 'James Brown' moves claiming to Cincy that he was about to “take us to church.”
Bunbury Music Festival
Sawyer Point & Yeatman's Cove : Cincinnati, Ohio Riverfront : June 3-5, 2016
A couple of my anticipated acts were J. Roddy Walston and the Business and Mudcrutch, the 1970’s Gainesville,
Florida band fronted by Rock-n-Roll Hall of Famer Tom Petty. J. Roddy didn’t fail me as he exclaimed “I’ve got 45
minutes. We’re gonna sweat Cincinnati!” Mudcrutch kicked off their set with the song “Orphan of the Storm” from their
first album and later shared the story of “Six Days on the Road,” which pays homage to their early career when they
played five sets, six days a week and was paid $100 per week.
The Killers ended Friday night on a captivating note, making me reminisce when I first saw them live in 2005 in
Columbus. The set with mirrors surrounding them added a mysterious touch in cool blue tones and lots of special
lighting. The Killers shared adulation for Cincy by breaking out into the 1978 theme song from "WKRP in Cincinnati."
I’m almost certain I was just one of a handful who even knew what that was! Fireworks shooting off behind the stage
became the backdrop for their performance as the Reds scored seven home runs beating the Washington Nationals
(7-2) that evening.
Saturday’s heavy rain forecast didn’t keep the crowds away. Hot on this evening’s bill was Ice Cube along with some
members of N.W.A., who claimed he hasn’t been to Cincy since 1998 when local law enforcement chased him and his
band off the stage... "Check Yo’ Self!" Clinching the evening was the highly anticipated progressive house music DJ
from Toronto, Deadmau5. One fan even adorned a homemade paper-mache-like mouse head complete with working
blinking lights for the eyes.
The perfect Sunday weather found the Ohio River speckled with colorful boats and jet skis as many came out to listen
to the final day of music, including a crowd that formed on the bridge over the Ohio River.
Hailing from Detroit, Flint Eastwood engaged the crowd with her hair swirling head-banging maneuvers. The Holy
White Hounds egged the crowd on by debating the correct pronunciation of Bunbury, focusing on the ‘erry’ as opposed
to the ‘ury’ and telling us: “Hey Bunbury, let’s pop everyone’s cherry!” And then there’s Lany (pronounce lay-nee),
the three-piece L.A. band who was humbled by the shear volume of people who came out to watch them. I couldn’t
help but notice the drummer’s black Chucks which had a hand-painted image of the TMNT Raphael mask on them.
Another Cincy local, Arlo McKinley and the Lonesome Sound is a five-piece folk singer/songwriter band complete with
harmonicas and fiddles. Playing from the CVG River Stage, Arlo announced he was dedicating his set to the people of
Cincinnati and while he usually plays with his eyes closed, he wasn’t this time because the crowd was so (G.D.)
Story-telling Elle King lit up the Sawyer Point stage in her flowing yellow and black dress and electric blue hair.
In addition to her hit “Ex’s and Oh’s” she sang Johnny Cash and Beatles tunes banging out the chords on an acoustic
guitar and a couple of banjos. Sitting on her grandparents front porch in Jackson, Ohio she wrote “Song of Sorrow”
and made no bones about telling us all the songs she wrote about those who did her wrong!
Perhaps the biggest show-stopper was the eight-piece funk-rock band Here Come the Mummies from Nashville,
whose grand entrance involved Grim Reapers as Grand Marshals forming a marching band like walk, weaving through
and in front of the crowd as they entered on stage. The mystery behind who these talented musicians are only adds to
the fun and witty lyrics of the funk-defying songs. Boasting of several saxophones, keyboards, snare drums, flutes,
horns and more, The Mummies have an uncanny knack for getting you moving and shaking while not paying attention
to their actual lyrics. But once you do, you’re not sure whether to laugh, blush or both!
Bunbury Music Festival 2016 ended its weekend with the adult-alternative group from South London, Florence + the
Machine. With her ethereal vocals and stunning stage presence, she belted out her hit “Ship to Wreck” within minutes
of taking stage.
Bunbury Music Festival Coverage Archives