Catch Great Local Music at Hot Weekend Events

Even though the season doesn’t officially begin until June 20, Memorial Day Weekend is said to unofficially usher in summertime. This weekend hammers the point home with the DCCH Music Fest, Cincy Blues Challenge and Bunbury Music Festival.

Jun 1, 2016 at 8:55 am
click to enlarge Jeremy Pinnell will play DCCH and Bunbury fests.
Jeremy Pinnell will play DCCH and Bunbury fests.

Even though the season doesn’t officially begin until June 20, Memorial Day Weekend is said to unofficially usher in summertime. This weekend hammers the point home with several big outdoor events featuring some great homegrown music.

• The annual DCCH Music Fest returns Friday and Saturday to the DCCH Center for Children and Families (75 Orphanage Road, Fort Mitchell, Ky.). The fest takes place outdoors on the grounds of the DCCH Center, a nonprofit organization for children and families in need that offers foster care and adoption services, therapy, counseling, residential treatment and more. All proceeds go to help the children living at the center.

Along with a variety of food, craft beer and spirits options, the laidback, affordable ($5 per night) event largely features top artists from Greater Cincinnati’s Roots, Americana and Blues scenes split between a main stage and an acoustic one. Friday’s live music begins at 6:15 p.m. with Wolfcryer and also features sets by The Leo Clarke Band, Cat and Bash, Brian Ernst and Pete Dressman, among others. On Saturday, music starts at 6 p.m. and artists performing include Jeremy Pinnell & the 55’s, Noah Wotherspoon Band, Honey & Houston, The Turkeys, The Ready Stance, Hickory Robot, Johnny Fink & the Intrusion and others.

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• The Cincy Blues Challenge is a unique local music event — sort of a fest leading into another fest, with several area Blues artists competing for slots at this summer’s Cincy Blues Fest (which returns to Sawyer Point Aug. 12 and 13). Competitors fill out the Blues Fest’s all-local stage, while the winners earn slots on the festival’s main stage. The top performers also get to represent the Cincy Blues Society (which puts on the Blues Fest and Challenge) at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis early next year.

The 18th-annual Cincy Blues Challenge takes place Sunday at Germania Park (3529 W. Kemper Road, Colerain) and runs from noon until around 9 p.m. The competition is split into two categories — “band” and “solo/duo.”

Performing at the 2016 Blues Challenge: The Leroy Ellington Band; The Magic Lightnin’ Boys, Joe Wannabe and the Mad Man’s Blues Band; Leo Clarke and Larry Bloomfield; Dudley Taft; Ralph and the Rhythm Hounds; The Blue Birds; Cat and Bash; Earth Blues Band; Dan Holt; Dick & the Roadmasters; The SoulFixers; The Doug Hart Band; Byrdman Blues Band; Jay Jesse Johnson Band; Six Strings Down; The Cait Janes Band; Tempted Souls; Chuck Brisbin & the Tuna Project; Johnny Fink; The Beaumonts; Bobby Logsdon Band; Mark Duncan; and The Joe Tellman Band.

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• The weekend’s biggest and most prominent music fest — the fifth-annual Bunbury Music Festival at Yeatman’s Cove and Sawyer Point along the riverfront — offers a chance to catch a few strong local acts amid national acts like Ice Cube, Deadmau5, Haim, The Killers, Grimes and Umphrey’s McGee. The locals are mostly booked for earlier afternoon sets, so it’s a good excuse to get an early start on your Bunbury experience. The number of homegrown artists represented at the festival seems to be getting smaller — your support might help convince organizers it’s worth mining Cincinnati’s rich music scene a little more deeply in the future.

The trio Leggy — fresh off its first tour of the U.K. — opens Bunbury on Friday at 1:15 p.m. on the Sawyer Point Stage. On Saturday, catch great local acts Dawg Yawp (1:30 p.m. on the CVG River Stage), Jeremy Pinnell (1:30 p.m. on the Sawyer Point Stage), Dead Man String Band (2 p.m. on the Yeatman’s Cove Stage) and Automagik (2:30 p.m. on the CVG River Stage). On-the-rise rapper Cal Scruby (playing the CVG stage Saturday at 5:30 p.m.) lives in Los Angeles now, but he is a Cincinnati native. Local acts on the Bunbury schedule Sunday are Mad Anthony (2:30 p.m. on the CVG River Stage), Room for Zero (2:30 p.m. on the Sawyer Point Stage) and Arlo McKinley & the Lonesome Sound (5:30 p.m. on the CVG River Stage).

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CONTACT MIKE BREEN: [email protected]