Bee free: Sunday Bunbury Review

By: Colleen McDaniel – Junior, Psychology

I doubt Cincinnati is the first or even the last place that comes to mind when people picture a music festival. Set up along the river front just below the Purple People Bridge (for non-Ohioians, that’s a pedestrian bridge connecting Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati), Bunbury Music Festival celebrates its fourth and most attended year. Larger than ever before, Yeatman’s Cove and Sawyer’s Point along the river have been the backdrop for an outrageous amount of festival-goers for this three-day music festival.

This being my second time in attendance – my first being two years ago – I am familiar with the setup of the festival: main stages stand at the either end of the park with two smaller stages in between. One is a permanent stage in Sawyer Point Park, while the other is a makeshift amphitheater that sits, practically, on the river. I start at the southern main stage. A friend and I meet up with some UD graduates who have saved us spots against the barricade at the front of the crowd for the day’s first band, The Front Bottoms. I enjoy the punk-esque jam session.

To say I’m a seasoned concert-goer is like calling a fish in a pond somewhat familiar with aquatic life. Coming out of Columbus – the home of PromoWest Productions – I’ve been to approximately 47 concerts in my life, excluding multi-day festivals. I’ve seen half of the day’s acts before, and I eagerly await the other artists. After a TFB show that I can’t describe as anything more than upbeat and fun if you’re familiar with their quirky lyrics and punk-influenced style, Manchester Orchestra enters the stage. I’ve been wanting to see Manchester Orchestra live since they released their 2009 hit “Shake It Out,” and, needless to say, they didn’t disappoint. Playing crowd favorite after crowd favorite, Manchester Orchestra was well worth the wait. The front row spots weren’t a bad addition.

We leave early to catch my second most anticipated artist of the day, Shakey Graves. Coming out of Texas with his 2015 album, “When the War Came,” Shakey has set high expectations for himself. I saw him perform last summer at The Newport in Columbus. For being a one-man band, he puts on a show (and let’s be honest, how many of us can actually sing along to all of his quick-pace lyrics, anyway?).

Next on the list is Twenty One Pilots. Native to Columbus too, it makes sense that I’ve seen these hometown heroes now five times. The crowd is full of people who have waited at the stage all day. This includes my WUDR Dayton B-Side co-DJs, Tom and Cam, as well as my friends from high school. Mark, their media guy is filming the music video for “Lane Boy,” one of the singles off their new album, “Blurryface.” So naturally, everyone has to be there. Rumor has it “The Hunger Games’” Josh Hutcherson even made an appearance at the show. Of course there is never a dull moment when Josh Dun and Tyler Joseph are involved.

The day ends with Snoop Dogg. Honestly, I have never in my entire life desired to see Snoop Dogg perform… and he really didn’t. It was enjoyable, but the joke of the night was that Snoop wasn’t the headliner of a music festival, just the DJ for a really big party on the river. He rapped some, but he also played a lot of other songs…literally. Other pre-recorded songs played over the speakers while Snoop encouraged everyone to sing along and dance. I wouldn’t have paid to see him individually, but how many people can say they’ve seen a rap god live?

The atmosphere of Bunbury is intimate and radiates Ohio pride. Each band got to experience my home state, and I felt like many of them had, likely, underestimated it. and now had their minds changed. Bunbury is one of the best things we have going music-wise in Ohio (at least, for the teeny boppers that go listen to good music and learn to support local businesses and events). I’m not sure if this was a review of Bunbury in general or Ohio music experiences or the artists themselves, but I think I like it that way. Music doesn’t have to be about anything. A festival is a reminder of just that.

For the first and second articles in the Bunbury review series, click here and here.

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