Best Of 2019

Best New Regional Music Festival: Bellwether Music Festival

Bill Donabedian is a Cincinnati music festival legend, after founding two of our area’s biggest and most beloved musical events of the past 20 years — MidPoint Music Festival and Bunbury Music Festival. In 2018, Donabedian took his talents 45 miles north of Cincinnati to Waynesville, Ohio to debut the Bellwether Music Festival, a two-day AltRock fest featuring acts like The Flaming Lips, Local Natives, Echo and the Bunymen, The Psychedelic Furs, Japanese Breakfast and Dr. Dog, plus Cincinnati artists like Dawg Yawp and Carriers. Reflective of Donabedian’s experience and past success, the two-day festival was expertly executed — even if Mother Nature made it hard on everyone’s footwear, bringing in a big storm that caused opening night headliners MGMT’s set to be canceled. Most other factors that could have caused anxiety (long parking lot, restroom and vendor lines, $12 bottles of water, etc.) were non-existent. In the modern marketing world, talk of making events “immersive” and “experiential” is thrown around at an annoying rate. Bellwether enabled all of that without being overwrought or too try-hard about it, relying on the core performances to deliver the goods, while making sure there were as few obstacles to enjoying them as possible. The fest returns with Beach House, Cold War Kids, Twin Shadow, Real Estate and more for its sophomore event this August, so get your tickets and start doing your no-rain dances now. Bellwether Music Festival, 10542 OH-73, Waynesville, Ohio, bellwetherfest.com.