It’s been a great summer for festivals, and it’s not over yet. Bellwether Music Festival is coming to the Ohio Renaissance Festival fairgrounds August 10th and 11th. Promising two days of music featuring exciting up-and-comers, all-time great alternative acts, and some of the best local groups Cincinnati has to offer, Bellwether is an end of summer festival that is not to be missed. Whether you’ll be spending the night camping there, or making the thirty-minute drive north, these are our must-see picks for Friday:
Dawg Yawp Our local pick for Friday is Dawg Yawp. Set to play at 3:00 PM, Dawg Yawp represents the best of what the local scene in Cincinnati has to offer. Known for their eclectic style and distinct electric sitar, Dawg Yawp has made waves not only in Cincinnati but around America. 3:00 PM on a Friday is a little early, but Dawg Yawp is absolutely a band worth skipping work for.
Required Listening: “I Wanna be a Dog,” “Lost at Sea,” “Can’t Think”
Alex Lahey If you aren’t already familiar with the work of Australian singer-songwriter Alex Lahey, Bellwether is the perfect opportunity to get acquainted. Lahey broke out in Australia in 2016 and is just now beginning to tour around the world. Featuring a sense of self-deprecation similar to fellow Aussie Courtney Barnett, Lahey writes power pop jams that are excellently suited to the festival stage. Expect to be happily shouting along to “I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself” by the time her set is through.
Required Listening: “I Love You Like a Brother,” “Every Day’s the Weekend,” “I Haven’t Been Taking Care of Myself”
Local Natives A band that got their start in the indie rock heyday of the late aughts, Local Natives are certainly one of the biggest names on the Bellwether line up. Starting at 8:15 PM on Friday night, Local Natives play the kind of meditative, trance-like indie that should pair perfectly with the sunset. Two years removed from their last album (2016’s excellent Sunlit Youth) Bellwether might provide the band with an opportunity to show off whatever new material they’ve been working on lately. Either way, Local Natives will bring a necessary chill vibe to the late stage of Bellwether’s Friday night.
Required Listening: “Dark Days,” “Wide Eyes,” “Fountain Of Youth”
MGMT Friday night’s headliner, MGMT is one of the biggest alternative bands to come out of the aughts. Known for mega-hits like “Time to Pretend,” “Electric Feel.” and of course the ubiquitous “Kids,” MGMT should bring a fun blend of pop psychedelia to the Sunset stage. After a few quiet years, MGMT came back into the spotlight with this year’s Little Dark Age. Expect their set to vary from the familiar to the deeply weird.
Required Listening: “Time to Pretend,” “Congratulations,” “Me and Michael”