The National's upcoming Homecoming Festival in Cincinnati has released more information about its programming and performers. One big addition is that the Cincinnati-originated, Grammy-winning band will perform its 2007 breakthrough album Boxer in its entirety during its headlining, festival-closing April 29 (Sunday) performance at Smale Riverfront Park.
That contains one of its most famous and influential songs, "Fake Empire." The National will do a different show to close out the festival on Saturday April 28.
Among other new details is that Homecoming will use two stages along the riverfront in Smale, on either side the Roebling Suspension Bridge. While performances will be staggered, people will have to make decisions at times about which act to see.
The current Homecoming lineup for April 28 features The National, Father John Misty, The Breeders, Lord Huron, Alvvays, Mouse on Mars, Sam Amidon, Spank Rock, Lanz Projects and "Electric Counterpoint" and "Garcia Counterpoint" performed by National member Bryce Dessner.
On April 29, Homecoming features — in addition to The National performing Boxer — Feist, Future Islands, Moses Sumney, Big Thief, Julien Baker, Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, Lisa Hannigan, artist-in-residence Ben Sloan with guests and "Haven Counterpoint" performed by Bryce and National member/brother Aaron Dessner
Also MusicNOW, the Contemporary Music festival created in 2006 by Bryce Dessner and that now overlaps with Homecoming, will hold its opening night concert at downtown's Cincinnati Masonic Center on Friday April 27. It will feature Mouse on Mars, Red Bird Hollow (Bryce and Aaron Dessner), Sam Amidon, Lisa Hannigan, Spank Rock, Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir and "very special guests."
This concert is separately ticketed, so Homecoming Festival weekend passes will not cover admission to it. But those who buy either MusicNOW opening night tickets or Homecoming passes will also have access to other MusicNow events at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center on April 28 and 29.
The rest of MusicNOW programming for April 28 and 29 has also been announced. Essentially, MusicNOW at the Freedom Center will operate like a third stage, an indoor one, and will have programming that runs concurrently with Homecoming. In this regard, it draws a parallel with Knoxville's Big Ears Festival, which is also managed by Knoxville-based AC Entertainment and offers a progressive take on Contemporary music.
MusicNOW's Freedom Center programming on April 28 includes Crash Ensemble performing Hans Abrahamsen’s “Schnee"; MacArthur fellow Tyshawn Sorey and his trio; Yuki Numata Resnick, the violinist for ACME who recently released her first solo recording; and more. On April 29, MusicNOW presents Eighth Blackbird with Bonnie “Prince” Billy (Will Oldham) performing Frederic Rzewski's "Coming Together" and some of Oldham's own songs; Eighth Blackbird with Bryce Dessner (and maybe Bonnie "Prince" Billy) performing the music of Julius Eastman; Crash Ensemble; the CSO String Trio performing Andrew Norman’s “The Companion Guide to Rome”; and more.
Other arts organizations and institutions are hosting contemporary arts programming during MusicNOW and Homecoming. These include the Cincinnati Ballet, Contemporary Arts Center and Cincinnati Art Museum. The art museum had previously announced the showing of two video installations by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson — “The Visitors” and “Scenes from Western Culture.” Newly announced is that MusicNOW guest Valtýsdóttir, one of the musicians featured in "The Visitors," will be performing live works from her new solo album at the museum April 28 and 29.
Weekend Homecoming passes are on sale now, while daily tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. Tickets to MusicNOW's Opening Night Daily will be available this Friday at 10 a.m. via musicnowfestival.org.