August 2006 Issue
City of Music
Cincinnati hits a high note with major musical celebrations in the coming months.
If Cincinnati is your destination anytime in the next three months, music is the beat thatâ€™s likely drawing you here.
Thanks to a confluence of major music festivals, pop concerts, classical romps and folk bashes, the Queen Cityâ€™s famous hills will come alive (sorry, Julie Andrews) with the sound of music. Little wonder Esquire magazine recently labeled Cincinnati as one of the â€œTop 10 Cities That Rock.â€
â€œMusic has become the centerpiece of the city,â€ suggests Bill Donabedian, co-founder of Septemberâ€™s Midpoint Music Festival and the architect of the new music series that will inaugurate the revamped and remodeled Fountain Square downtown. â€œI canâ€™t go into all the details, but the September 9 grand opening of Fountain Square will be an exciting musical evening [with] national acts. Going forward, you will see a lot of great music a couple of times a week on the square.â€
Fountain Squareâ€™s rebirth is the least of it. This monthâ€™s highlights include the culmination of the summer season at Riverbend Music Center, the cityâ€™s outdoor amphitheater, a country sound stampede at Kentucky Speedway and any number of music fests on the riverfront.
September kicks off with Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati (oom-pah-pah!) and roars into Donabedianâ€™s Midpoint Music Festival. Then, in October, itâ€™s the granddaddy of all concert series, the Tall Stacks Music, Arts & Heritage Festival, featuring acts such as Wilco and Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder.
Look for â€œa lineup that will once again include some of the biggest names in bluegrass, country, blues, rock, gospel and folk,â€ predicts Mike Smith, executive director of the Tall Stacks festival. â€œTall Stacks is fast gaining a reputation as one of the biggest and best roots music festivals in the Midwest, and weâ€™re confident this yearâ€™s festival will exceed expectations ... [it will be] a star-studded music festival.â€
So hop in your car and cruise on down to Cincinnati for any or all of the following:
Alternative rock group the Dave Matthews Band performs with Govâ€™t Mule. Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson. Mon., Aug. 1, 7 p.m. 513/562-4949; www.riverbend-music.com. Tickets $39.50â€“$59.
The National Night Out â€” a country-wide crime and drug prevention event sponsored by the National Association of Town Watches â€” features the all-police band Most Wanted, free food and a police canine and horse exhibition. Armleder Park, Wooster Pike near the Lunken Airfield. Tues., Aug. 1, 7 p.m. 513/521-7275; www.nationalnightout.org. Free.
The Party in the Park music series features the cover band Marsha Brady, performing hits from the â€™60s, â€™70s, â€™80s and â€™90s. Yeatmanâ€™s Cove, on the riverfront. Wed., Aug. 2, 5:30 p.m. 513/579-3191; www.party-in-the-park.com. Free.
The Rusty Griswolds â€” a band that covers hits from The Bangles to Bon Jovi â€” closes out the Levee Summer Concert Series. Newport on the Levee, 1 Levee Way, Newport, Kentucky. Thur., Aug. 3, 6 p.m. 859/291-0550. Free.
The James Family Band and Raison Dâ€™Etre, playing folk music on handcrafted instruments, perform at the Coffee Cup Concert Series. Behringer-Crawford Museum, Devou Park, Covington, Kentucky. Thur., Aug. 3, 7 p.m. 859/491-4003; www.bcmuseum.org. Admission $15, children $5.
Glierâ€™s Goettafest celebrates the regionâ€™s love of goetta (a meat product unique to Cincinnati, made of pork, beef and pinhead oats) with continuous live music, games and rides. Newport Festival Park, on the riverfront, Newport, Kentucky. Aug. 4â€“6: Fri. 5 p.m.â€“11 p.m.; Sat. 12â€“11 p.m.; Sun. 12â€“9 p.m. 859/291-1800; www.goettafest.com. Free.
The Rockinâ€™ on Walnut series features the band Mohenjo Daro, providing Middle Eastern- and Indian-inspired music. Contemporary Arts Center, 44 E. Sixth St. Fri., Aug. 4, 5 p.m. 513/345-8400; www.contemporaryartscenter.org. Free.
The Summer Night Jam 2006 features a stellar country lineup, including Alan Jackson, Big & Rich with Cowboy Troy, Deana Carter, Shannon Brown and Merle Haggard. Kentucky Speedway, 5120 Sparta Pike, Sparta, Kentucky. Sat., Aug. 5, 5 p.m. 888/652-7223; www.ken-tucky speedway.com. Tickets $55â€“$85.
The Over-the-Rhine Community Festival presents gospel and childrenâ€™s choirs. Washington Park, across from Music Hall, 12th and Elm Sts. Sat., Aug. 5, 12â€“6 p.m. 513/381-4242. Free.
The Holy Cross-Immaculata Festival atop Mt. Adams is a rite of any Cincinnati summer, with music, food, games, and prizes. Holy Cross-Immaculata Church, 30 Guido St. Aug. 4â€“6: Fri. 6 p.m.â€“midnight; Sat. 6 p.m.â€“midnight; Sun. 12â€“8 p.m. 513/721-6544. Free.
Look for round-the-clock musical performances, movies, games and fun, as the Cincinnati Art Museum celebrates its 125th birthday with a 25-hour marathon event. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Dr. Aug. 5â€“6, 4 p.m. Sat. to 5 p.m. Sun. 513/721-5204; www.cincinnatiart museum.org. Admission $8.
The Union Centre Boulevard Bash is a three-day music festival that also features rides and games. This yearâ€™s headliner has yet to be announced, but expect a national act (last year, it was Davy Jones of The Monkees). Union Centre Boulevard exit off I-75, between Muhlhauser Road and Centre Pointe Drive, West Chester. Aug. 11â€“13: Fri. 5 p.m.â€“midnight, Sat. noonâ€“midnight, Sun. 12â€“10 p.m. 513/579-3191; www.unioncentreblvdbash.com. Free.
Have a fork full of lobster and a plate full of live music at the Great Inland Seafood Festival. Yeatmanâ€™s Cove, on the riverfront. Aug. 10â€“13: Thur.â€“Fri. 5â€“11 p.m., Sat. 12â€“11 p.m., Sun. 12â€“9 p.m. 513/761-9911; www.greatinlandseafood fest.com. Free.
The Cincinnati International Fiesta presents a day of ethnic music that celebrates diversity. National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, 50 East Free-dom Way, 2nd Street at the foot of the Roebling Suspension Bridge. All day Sat., Aug. 12. 513/333-7500; www.freedomcenter.org, www.cincyglobal.org. Free.
â€œFavorite Sonâ€ John Fogerty and country legend Willie Nelson take the stage. Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson. Wed., Aug. 16, 7:30 p.m. 513/562-4949; www.riverbend-music.com. Tickets $23â€“$59.
The Midwest Regional Black Family Reunion includes an array of R&B and gospel concerts. Headliners include the Stylistics and Dottie Peoples. Sawyer Point Park, on the waterfront. Aug. 18â€“20: Fri.â€“Sun. 1â€“9 p.m. 513/742-9378; www.midwestbfrc.com. Free.
Cirque du Soleil comes to the banks of the Ohio River. This particular traveling show is titled â€œQuidamâ€ (Latin for â€œanonymous passer-byâ€). â€œGrand Chapiteauâ€ circus tent, east of the Roebling Suspension Bridge. Daily Aug. 24â€“Sept. 17. 800/678-5440; www.cirquedusoleil.com. Tickets $35â€“$70, children ages 2â€“12 (weeknights only) $24.50â€“$49, students and seniors $31.50â€“$63.
The Jazz at the Hyatt series features the Freddy Cole Quartet. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 151 W. Fifth St. Fri., Aug. 25, 8 p.m. 513/579-1234. Tickets $20.
Taste of Blue Ash features The Pointer Sisters, Loverboy, Little Texas and Trick Pony. Kenwood Road between Hunt and Cooper roads, Blue Ash. Aug. 25â€“27: Fri. 6â€“11 p.m., Sat. 12â€“11 p.m., Sun. 12â€“10 p.m. 513/745-6259; www. blueash.com. Free.
Roll out the barrel, as the Germania Society holds the first Oktoberfest of the season. This annual incarnation sizzles with Bavarian flair, fare, music, folk dancing, games, rides, contests, prizes, and special entertainment for small children. Germania Park, 3529 West Kemper Rd., Colerain Township. Aug. 25â€“27: Fri. 6 p.m.â€“midnight, Sat. 2 p.m.â€“midnight, Sun. 12â€“10 p.m. 513/742-0060; www.GermaniaSociety.com. Admission $3, under 12 free.
Singers Eartha Kitt and Kathy Wade lead a Crown Jewels of Jazz performance for Learning Through Art, a nonprofit agency that provides artistic performances emphasizing multicultural themes. Music Hall, 1243 Elm St. Sat., Aug. 26, 5:30 p.m. 513/621-2787; www.cincinnatiarts.org. Tickets $150 (includes dinner).
Contemporary rock band Steely Dan and singer/songwriter and Doobie Brothers alum Michael McDonald perform their hits, past and present. Riverbend Music Center, 6295 Kellogg Ave., Anderson. Tues., Aug. 29, 7:30 p.m. 513/562-4949; www.riverbend-music.com. Tickets $29â€“$87.
Jazz Picnic in the Courtyard wraps up the Cincinnati Art Museumâ€™s signature summer music series. Cincinnati Art Museum, 953 Eden Park Drive. Wed., Aug. 30, 6 p.m. 513/721-5204; www.cincinnati artmuseum.org. Free (picnic dinner for a fee, or bring your own).
MainStrasse Village Oktoberfest boasts six city blocks crammed with German fare and ethnic bands (thereâ€™s rock and country, too). MainStrasse Village, 6th and Philadelphia Sts., Covington, Kentucky. Sept. 8â€“10: Fri. 5â€“11 p.m., Sat. 12â€“11 p.m., Sun. 12â€“9 p.m. 859/491-0458; www.mainstrasse.org. Free.
The Cincinnati Pops season begins with â€œThe Essential Sinatra,â€ conducted by Erich Kunzel. Music Hall, 1243 Elm St. Sept. 8â€“10: Fri.â€“Sat. 8 p.m., Sun. 7 p.m. 513/381-3300; www.cincinnatipops.org. Tickets $22â€“$61.
The cityâ€™s iconic Fountain Square, closed for a year for a $42 million retrofit, reopens with national-caliber music acts. Fifth and Vine Sts. All evening Sat., Sept. 9. 513/621-4400. Free.
The Fall Jazz Series features the Blue Wisp Big Band. Taft Museum of Art, 316 Pike St. Sun., Sept. 10, 2:30 p.m. 513/241-0343; www.taftmuseum.com. Free.
Ensemble Theatre presents â€œMack & Mabel,â€ the regional premiere of a concert version of the hit musical. Set in 1920s Hollywood, itâ€™s the story of a romance between film director Mack Sennett and his leading lady, Mabel Normand. Gary Sandy (of the TV sitcom â€œWKRP in Cincinnatiâ€) stars. The Ensemble Theatre, 1127 Vine St. Sept. 13â€“Oct. 1: Wed.â€“Fri. 7 p.m., Sat. 2 and 7 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m. 513/421-3555; www.cincyetc.com. Tickets $32; full-time students (with I.D.) and seniors 65 and older $29; and children 12 and under $16.
The Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and conductor Paavo Jarvi open the season with an all-Brahms program. Music Hall, 1241 Elm St. Sept. 15â€“16, Fri. â€“Sat. 8 p.m. 513/381-3300; www.cincinnati symphony.org. Tickets $18.50â€“$76.75.
Roll out the barrel at Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati, an annual Bavarian blast that features polka and musical performances on multiple stages. Fifth Street near Fountain Square. Sept. 16â€“17: Sat. 10:30 a.m.â€“midnight; Sun. 11 a.m.â€“10 p.m. 513/579-3191; www.oktoberfestzinzinnati.com. Free.
The Midpoint Music Festival showcases a weekend of alternative rock, alt country and other genres played by 250 independent bands from both coasts and Canada. Performances take place at various nightclubs in the Main Street entertainment district. Wed.â€“Sat., Sept. 20â€“23. 513/403-4558; www.midpointmusic.com. $5 cover for one club, $10 one-day all venue pass, $100 full-access pass.
The fifth annual 20 Days & 20 Nights Festival is a hip celebration of the cityâ€™s artistic community, featuring all sorts of events, music and theatrical performances at more than 50 arts venues around town. Sept. 29â€“Oct. 18: daily, hours to be announced. 513/621-4700; www.etastart.org. Many events are free, others vary in admission price.
Middfest celebrates a new country each year (this time itâ€™s China), importing the music, dance, food and culture of the honored nation. Middfest International 2006, Donham Plaza, One City Centre Plaza, Middletown. Sept. 29â€“Oct. 1: Fri. 5â€“10 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.â€“10 p.m., Sun. 12â€“8 p.m. 513/425-7707; www.middfestinternational.org. $5 for a weekend pass, children free.
Singer Neil Sedaka headlines the Rosemary Clooney Music Festival. Market and Third streets in the historic district, Maysville, Kentucky. Sat., Sept. 30, 5:30 p.m. 859/255-0717; www.clooneymusicfest.com. $90 (includes dinner picnic basket).
The five-day Tall Stacks Music, Arts & Heritage Festival extravaganza features dozens of concerts for one price: Al Green, BeauSoleil avec Michael Doucet, Buckwheat Zydeco, Chris Smither, Bettye Lavette, John Hammond, John Hiatt, Junior Brown, Loudon Wainwright III, Big Sandy & his Fly-Rite Boys, Chatham County Line, Abigail Washburn, Rodney Crowell, Sean Costello, Sonny Landreth, Tea Leaf James, Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps, Tift Merritt, Tim Oâ€™Brien, Tony Rice, Wilco, Yerba Buenna, Ralph Stanley & The Clinch Mountain Boys, Ricky Skaggs and Kentucky Thunder, Delbert McClinton, Dr. John, Hot Rize, Jerry Douglas, Marcia Ball, Medeski Martin & Wood, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha Chas, Old Crow Medicine Show, Oilabelle, Peter Rowan, The Del McCoury Band, The Blind Boys of Alabama and Buddy Guy. (Bruce Hornsby is reporting a Tall Stacks appearance at his fan web site, but this was unofficial at press time.) Cincinnati Public Landing, on the Ohio River shoreline. All day and evening Oct. 4â€“8. 513/562-4949; www.tallstacks.com. Tickets $20â€“$78.
The Taft Museum of Art celebrates the 20th anniversary of the Duncanson Artist in Residence Program in a gala concert featuring past winners such as soprano Sebronette Barnes, vocalist Kathy Wade, jazz violinist John Blake, jazz pianist William Menefield and more. Greaves Concert Hall, campus of Northern Kentucky University, Highland Heights, Kentucky. Wed., Nov. 1, 7 p.m. 513/241-0343; www.taftmuseum.org. Free, but advance reservation required.