This Memorial Day weekend, on rural farmland less than 50 miles east of Cincinnati, Over the Rhine’s Linford Detweiler and Karin Bergquist will again present their Nowhere Else Festival, a celebration of some of the pair’s “favorite musicians, writers, photographers, painters, naturalists and foodies.” Last year’s event saw OTR fans from all over the region come into Clinton County for the unique experience. This year the festival (running May 27 and 28) should be no different, though with the word spreading about the 2016 edition, the turnout should be even bigger.
This year’s musical lineup features two returning acts. Over the Rhine and the Band of Sweethearts (featuring musicians Jay Bellerose, Jennifer Condos and Bradley Meinerding), of course, again will perform. The host band plays a special Friday night show at 7 p.m. for VIP ticket holders (which also includes a “farm-to-table picinic/cookout”), then performs an 8 p.m. set on Saturday and a 8 p.m. trio set that Sunday. Acclaimed Chicago Roots ensemble Birds of Chicago, a favorite of last year’s event, also returns to 2017’s Nowhere Else Festival for performances on May 27 and May 28.
This year’s festival also features Emmylou Harris’ backing band Red Dirt Boys (featuring Will Kimbrough and Phil Madeira, who will also perform solo) and respected singer/songwriters Carrie Newcomer and Carrie Rodriguez. Along with Americana artists Levi Parham and Matt Haeck, the lineup is rounded out by two of Greater Cincinnati’s most popular Folk/Americana acts — The Tillers and Young Heirlooms (the bands kick off Sunday’s music lineup). Several of the artists will participate in a celebration of the songs of Mark Heard on the Saturday evening of the fest; Madeira produced a forthcoming tribute album to the influential singer/songwriter (who passed away in the early ’90s when he was just 40), which includes contributions from Over the Rhine, Birds of Chicago, Red Dirt Boys, Haeck and Parham. Meinerding leads a special open jam in the morning on May 28; fest-goers are encouraged bring their instruments to participate.
Nowhere Else attendees will also have a chance to interact with writers, visual artists and filmmakers during the fest via various unique workshops and Q&As. Featured non-musical artists this year include painters Rebecca Weller and Jon Detweiler, legendary Cincinnati photographer Michael Wilson (who has shot album covers for OTR and many others) and filmmaker Scott Derrickson. Food, wine, beer and coffee specialists like Jon Branstrator, Todd Hudson, Chuck Pfahler, Darrin Ballman and Nick Purdy will also be participating.
Camping is available nearby and Nowhere Else is a family-friendly affair — kids 12 and under are admitted free.
For information on ticket packages and prices and all of the festival’s offerings, visit nowhereelsefestival.com. Proceeds from the festival will be used to help Detweiler and Bergquist continue to restore a 140-year-old barn on the fest grounds into a performing arts center.