Photo: Rubato Photo

This will be my second year covering Nelsonville Music Festival for and I couldn’t be more excited! Every music festival has a certain personality. Some are filled with the immense musical landscapes of jam bands, some with the angry power chords of punk bands. Nelsonville Music Festival (NMF) has a personality that has been subtly shaped over the last 10 years to include roots, country, folk, indie and rock acts. While the festival’s participants throughout the years have certainly done a lot to shape the personality, I’d be more inclined to say that the personality of this festival lies more in the crowd it continually draws.

NMF is for music lovers. plain. and. simple. Absent are those who go to the festival just to party, absent are those who go just because is the place to be, absent are those who aren’t there for the music. That is what struck me most last year. Everyone there was there primarily for the music. Sure, there were plenty of people partying and getting crazy, but it felt more like it was in reaction to the music than as a distraction from it. If you’re at NMF this year, ask anyone you pass who is a “must-see act” and I bet you get a different answer from nearly all of them… and they’re probably right.

NMF draws people from all over Ohio and the surrounding areas, eager to see the unique mixture of legends like John Prine, George Jones and indie rock banner-men like Andrew Bird and M. Ward. This year’s roster certainly doesn’t disappoint with top tier acts including The Avett Brothers, Dinosaur Jr., Head and The Heart, Kurt Vile and Jason Isbell. Those acts are the ones that will get people in the door, but what keeps this festival going are the “undercard” bands. NMF planners carefully curate a festival experience that is fantastic from the first act to the last. That’s what makes Nelsonville Music Festival one of the best in the region, year after year.

Some of the undercards that I’m looking forward to most this year:



Pokey Lafarge


The Men

Representing Cincinnati at this year’s Nelsonville Music Festival are Tweens and The Tillers. Catch The Tillers on Friday on the Main Stage at 1:30 PM, 3:45PM on the Porch Stage or at No-Fi Cabin at 7:45 PM. Tweens play on the Porch Stage at 9:45 PM on Saturday.