Bunbury Festival 2013: Full Review + Photo Gallery
After spending yet another incredible weekend in Cincinnati, it’s safe to say the town has become one of our crew’s favorite hotspots for live music, art, and nightlife. The second annual Bunbury Music Festival took place at Sawyer Point & Yeatman’s Cove along the river from July 12th-14th and featured headlining performances from fun., MGMT, and hometown heroes The National, plus 80 other acts. Enjoy our day-by-day breakdown of the weekend, plus a full photo gallery from Laura Cox. Remember.. Bee Free!
We arrived later than we would have liked on Friday, but the drive from Georgia to Ohio can be taxing on one’s spirit. After refueling and grabbing a bite to eat, we made our way over to the Park to take it all in. This was our first time at the festival, though we’d heard nothing but great things from the crew that attended in 2012. Laura made it onsite a bit earlier than we did and was able to get some shots of Pete Dressman and a few others.
We caught word of amazing sets from The Features, Sky Ferreira, and of course Tegan & Sara, but the real highlight (at least for us) of the night came from DeVotchKa. The weather was near perfect for the festival and as the sun was setting, the Colorado-based ensemble struck a chord with all that were present.
Other highlights from Day One included the town’s own Walk the Moon, a indie-pop group that’s made serious ripples throughout the United States and beyond over the past year, and Tokyo Police Club‘s much anticipated return to the city.
Civil Twilight and Empires started our first full day at the festival off right with two distinctly different, but equally entertaining sets. We moved on to Vacationer‘s set, stopping before hand at the amazing beer & food garden set up in the middle of the main corridor between stages. The are featured some of the best fest food we’ve tried before, an all local setup that included Taste of Belgium, Urban Grill, Eli’s BBQ, and a craft beer village with over 15 different brews – all reasonably price for a festival environment.
Robert DeLong‘s mulit-instrumental electo grooves got an lively mid-day crowd on their feet and sweating in no time, and we spent some time in the middle of things before moving to catch Chairlift, one of our “must see” acts of the weekend. Caroline Polachek and company ran through a near-perfect set of tracks, highlighted by their newest single, “Amanaemonesia“.
Opting out on much-hyped synth/drum duo Twenty One Pilots, we spent some time relaxing at Tim Carr’s set, a decision that proved incredibly worthwhile later in the night. Carr’s serene and thoughtful melodies were quite the contrast to the set we were skipping out on but we enjoyed the time with the Cincinnati local who heads up Arlo McKinley and The Lonesome Sound.
We capped off the rest of day two running between Cake, We Are Scientists, Christopher Paul Stelling, and Bear Hands, before settling in at the Rockstar Stage for Divine Fits and then over to catch MGMT. All in all, day two was everything we could have hoped for. Riding high on the energy we got from MGMT, our crew decided to head out on the town and visit a few of the downtown bars and ultimately winding up at aliveOne for the Bunbury After-party.
The final day at any festival is always a somber one in ways. For one thing, a gloomy cloud of hangovers tends to… hang over.. a mass of the audience until a few hours have gone by but Bunburians tended to be alright, considering that music didn’t begin until 2:00pm each day. By then, everyone is either relishing in the previous night’s events or hoping their friends won’t bring them up..Either way, spirits were high as we kicked the last day of Bunbury into high gear.
We had to give our fellow Georgian’s some love, so we made our way to the Bud Light Stage to get down to the fuzzy-grooves of Gringo Star. Following their set, we split up to see a bit of Bethesda, a former “Band of the Month”, and Gregory Alan Isakov.
A Silent Film was next on our roster. The band was one of the few acts that played the inaugural Bunbury that made it back for year two and we were happy to see them back, as was the large crowd that assembled.
Following A Silent Film, we took a few minutes to simply walk around the park and check out TechBury and the vendors that were on site before heading to see Camera Obscura on the Main Stage. Another act we had high anticipation to see, Camera Obscura‘s melodic indie-pop was definitely the mood-mender that anyone at the festival needed and the rest of the evening seemed to flow effortless afterwards.
Without sounding trite, one of our main reasons to be at the festival was to be a part of The National‘s set. The rest of the evening was filled with talented and truly iconic bands (Yo La Tengo, Belle & Sebastian), but seeing the National on their “home turf” was, without a doubt, the best moment of the weekend. A slight weather delay jumbled the schedule a bit, sending a small mass of the audience packing but it made it even sweeter for the diehards that were awaiting the band’s return to their original stomping grounds.
As the four brothers and their longtime companion took the Main Stage, the crowd erupted and it seemed like nothing else mattered other than what was going on right then and there. Emphatically and gracefully moving through their set, the band played longtime favorites from Alligator, The Boxer, High Violet, and their newest – Trouble Will Find Me.
An electric sense of satisfaction and completion settled over the crowd as the lights came up and the stage begin to be cleared. Exits open, the streets of Cincinnati were once again flooded with an overjoyed audience that truly embodied that Bunbury motto – “Bee Free”. We’ll see you next year!
Words by P. McCoy & J. Bittel | Photos by Laura Cox