The Bunbury Music Festival 2019 took place May 31st through June 2nd along the Ohio River throughout Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio. Purchased by PromoWest Productions in 2014, the musically diverse festival had four stages and over fifty artists and bands. This year featured big names like Fall Out Boy, NF, Machine Gun Kelly, Greta Van Fleet, AWOLNATION, and The 1975 as well as local names like You vs Yesterday, The Orphan The Poet, RADATTACK, 90’s Kids, and The Candescents.
The Orphan The Poet started off day one with a burst of energy. They played their new single “Queen Cobra” and fan favorites to get the crowd moving and singing along. You vs Yesterday, who won the 96Rock Next2Rock Battle of the Bands to earn their set spot, was up next. They played their newest single “Stay” and “Both of Us”, which has over 100K plays on Spotify alone. They also did a signing at the 96Rock tent later. The day continued with notable performances from a variety of artists and bands like RADATTACK, Taylor Janzen, Halfnoise, Poppy, Witt Lowry, Machine Gun Kelly, Stone Temple Pilots, and more. The performances of the day that stood out to me were Bayside, NF, and Fall Out Boy. With a career that spans nearly two decades, Bayside did not skip a beat. Playing a variety of songs from throughout the years, they had fans singing along to “Sick, Sick, Sick”, “Devotion and Desire”, and plenty others. Having never seen NF before, his set was pleasantly surprising. I was thoroughly entertained despite having never heard the majority of his songs. He started his set with “The Search” as he walked out with a shopping cart with black balloons tied to it, just like in his newest music video. For me, the most memorable part of his set was his performance of “Let You Down” and hearing the crowd singing the words with him. My highlight for the night, and for the weekend in its entirety, was seeing Fall Out Boy. They closed day one was a mesmerizing set and had fireworks going off in the background, thanks to the Cincinnati Reds and Great American Ball Park. They played songs that spanned their entire career. The crowd was captivated by swooning vocals, nostalgic pop-punk songs, confetti cannons, fire fountains, and so much more.
Day two was started the right way by the local band 90’s Kids. They played original songs of theirs like “Champagne” as well as a medley of Post Malone’s songs “I Fall Apart” and “Psycho” that got the crowd singing. There were a number of great performances from bands like The Blue Stones, Common Kings, Flora Cash, Jukebox The Ghost, Dashboard Confessional, Jeremy Zucker, AWOLNATION, and more. Tropidelic put on a fun set and covered “Give It Away” by Red Hot Chili Peppers. Later in the day, WEBN’s Shroom came out on stage to introduce Blue October. Their set was energetic and got the crowd dancing. That night, Sublime With Rome closed the Sawyer Point Stage. The festival was the start of their nearly fifty date tour. They played some fan favorite Sublime songs like “What I Got” and “Santeria”, which had everyone singing. Closing day two was Greta Van Fleet. So many people were looking forward to seeing them, and they did not disappoint. Despite only having been a band for a couple years, these guys have a lot going for them including often being compared to Led Zeppelin.
With some rock and roll, Friday Pilots Club started off the third day of the festival. There were plenty of entertaining performances to keep the crowd moving on the final day including The Candescents, The Aces, Reignwolf, Streetlight Manifesto, Clutch, Girl Talk, and more. My choice set of the day was from lovelytheband, who closed the CVG River Stage. They covered “Mr. Brightside” by The Killers and got the crowd jumping and singing along. The 1975 was the final band, and they closed the festival on the Monster Energy Stage. Coming all the way from England, the band gave the crowd pop vibes and smooth vocals that went perfect with the beautiful Cincinnati night.
From start to end, Bunbury 2019 was a success. There were artists and bands that I had never seen before that surprised me and made me a fan. There were points of nostalgia and excitement like seeing Bayside and Fall Out Boy. The weather was beautiful, the food options were delicious, the music was entertaining, and everyone was having a good time.
Tickets for Bunbury 2020 are already on sale, and you can purchase them at https://bunburyfestival.com/tickets.