In tandem with Scene's guide to summer music festival around the state of Ohio, we'd like to take this moment to feature some of the festies taking place closer to home. Relatively smaller in scale, local music fests abound in and around Cleveland. We've rounded up some choice picks to toss on your calendar for the coming months here. Drop any other suggestions in the comments section below and we'll keep adding to this list as the summertime draws onward.
The Great American Rib Cook-off and Music Festival Less a music fest and more a bacchanal of barbecued meat with a side o’ killer concerts, this weekend event nonetheless boasts performances from Rocktopia (May 24), Rick Springfield (May 25), Buddy Guy (May 26) and Bret Michaels (May 27). Local bands will join the stage for some daytime sets throughout the weekend. Lather on some Memphis-style heat, and wander over to the stage for an evening of music with the Cleveland skyline as your backdrop. (Psst... You’ve got sauce on your face.)
LKWD Music Festival Started last year by Mahall’s 20 Lanes on Madison Avenue, this festival boasts a nice combination of local acts and national bands. Just prior to press time, Mahall’s owners announced that Talib Kweli will perform at this year’s incarnation on Aug. 24. So if for some insane reason you were still looking for a reason to check out the coolest music venue in Lakewood, there you go. Last year’s incarnation rounded up a truly diverse lineup throughout the daylong event, including, from Sierra Leone by way of Brooklyn, Janka Nabay and the Bubu Gang. Scene writers were reportedly spotted working over the venue’s famous kale margaritas and throwing some some serious moves over in the music hall. We’ll see you once again this year (and yes, we recommend the dubious kale marg).
Akron Music Festival Apollo House Productions will host this event June 1, featuring Winslow, Entendre, Dave Hammer’s Power Supply and more than a dozen other top-tier acts. The venue is Old Haunts Tavern, a new take on the classic “dive bar as awesome concert hall” motif. As a whole day devoted to killer local tunes, the Akron Music Festival promises to be a dynamic early summer treat. The doors open at 11 a.m. that day, and the whole shebang is free.
Hessler Street Fair On May 18 and 19, the granddaddy of hip once again comes alive. It’s the 45th anniversary for this Cleveland institution, and this year’s lineup boasts Robin Stone, Carlos Jones and the P.L.U.S. Band and, if civic politics is your thang, Councilman Conwell and Footprints (swoon!). Many more bands round out the offerings, of course. The weekend also involves all sorts of delicious food, killer dance moves, beautifully practical crafts that will put a smile on your face and hand-painted chairs (bring one and they’ll paint it for ya!). Check out the website for full details.