The National Apparently Has Homecoming on the Brain, So Yay?

Is Homecoming really returning?

Homecoming, a music festival curated by The National, is shown here at Cincinnati's Smale Riverfront Park in 2018. - Photo: Brittany Thornton
Photo: Brittany Thornton
Homecoming, a music festival curated by The National, is shown here at Cincinnati's Smale Riverfront Park in 2018.
It's not much, but it's something.

Music fans are noticing that the website for Homecoming – the Cincinnati festival curated by locally formed band The National – recently was updated. Instead of showing a cancellation notice for the 2020 festival, the website now says "Homecoming 2023," followed by a suggestion to join a mailing list for further updates (CityBeat is on various email and text lists related to the festival and to The National and did not receive an alert about the website change or other news).

Launched in 2018, Homecoming takes place in Smale Riverfront Park along the Ohio River and typically features two nights of music, with The National taking several performance slots themselves. The most recent iteration of Homecoming was to have happened in May 2020 but was cancelled due to the then-new COVID-19 pandemic.

"We made every attempt to reschedule Homecoming for 2020, however due to circumstances beyond our control, the festival will not take place this year as planned," The National's statement at the time said. "We look forward to bringing the event back in 2021."

Unfortunately, Homecoming did not take place in 2021, either, as the pandemic continued to rage on thanks to the fast-spreading Delta variant of the coronavirus causing a months-long surge of new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations throughout the summer, fall and early winter.

Fans have been speculating about when Homecoming might return or when The National might play locally. In March, The National announced its summer tour of 23 dates, with the Queen City conspicuously missing from the itinerary. To see the band, Cincinnati residents would have to head nearly two hours west to Indianapolis.

In October, The National celebrated the 20th anniversary of its self-titled debut album by releasing its entire catalog on BandCamp.

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