No Response Festival (June 16-17)
Featuring big names and pioneers from the Experimental music world, No Response returns to Over-the-Rhine’s Woodward Theater for its second-annual event, which includes headlining sets from Throbbing Gristle/Psychic TV legend Genesis Breyer P-Orridge (with Edley ODowd) and Japanese Noise collective Hijkaidan. noresponsefestival.com.
Cincinnati Music Festival (July 27-29)
Still colloquially known as “Jazz Fest” (a nod to its origins more than a half century ago) yet now featuring classic and contemporary R&B, Soul, Funk and occasionally Hip Hop, the Cincinnati Music Festival is a huge regional draw regardless of who is booked. But organizers still usually bring some heavyweights to Paul Brown Stadium each year; 2017’s headliners are Mary J. Blige and Usher. cincymusicfestival.com.
AYE Music & Art Festival (July 28-30)
Grassroots at its finest, AYE (Adjust Your Eyes) identifies as a “community festival” and more than lives up to that description by showcasing a broad array of Greater Cincinnati artists (visual and musical), utilizing multiple venues in the Northside neighborhood and raising money for a different local charity each year (this year it’s Women Helping Women). adjustyoureyes.com.
Cincy Blues Fest (Aug. 11-12)
This long-running summertime event — one of the longest-running Blues fests in the country — brings together big-name artists (this year includes Albert Cummings, Ruthie Foster and Ronnie Baker Brooks) and the best local and regional Blues talent in a beautiful setting along the Ohio River at Sawyer Point. cincybluesfest.org.
Whispering Beard Folk Festival (Aug. 24-27)
Whispering Beard is an increasingly popular camping-friendly hootenanny that consistently books acclaimed touring artists, cult heroes and some of the finest Roots performers in the region, turning the small town of Friendship, Ind. (about an hour southwest of Cincy) into Americana-music heaven for two days every summer. whisperingbeard.com.
Ohmstead Music Festival (Aug. 25-27)
Founded 16 years ago by local group Four Ohms, Ohmstead has outlived various incarnations of its founding group (though The Ohms will again reunite for this year’s fest) and has thrived as a well-produced, sleepover showcase (at Hannon’s Camp America near Oxford, Ohio) of diverse local/regional/national acts that jam on elements of everything from Reggae, Rock and Jazz to Electronica, Hip Hop and beyond. This year’s lineup so far includes Elementree Livity Project, The Cliftones, Roots of a Rebellion and Resinated. ohmstead.net.
Ubahn Fest (Sept. 8-9)
Saying EDM/Hip Hop festival Ubahn has grown since its inception six years ago is a massive understatement. Boasting one of the most unique festival locales in the country — the underground transit tunnels beneath the streets near the Bengals’ stadium — the event went to a new level last year with headliners like Nas, Machine Gun Kelly and Atmosphere. But this year, Ubahn has jumped about 10 levels, booking massive artists like Big Sean, Steve Aoki, 2 Chainz, Gucci Mane and more. ubahnfest.com.