Ohio Is For Lovers Festival At Riverbend Music Center in Cincinnati, OH 09-SEP-23

Good times, Great Music and a Beautiful Venue clash to make the Ohio Is For Lovers Festival something special!

On a partly overcast, late summer day The Ohio Is For Lovers Festival made a triumphant return to Cincinnati, along the way bringing thousands of happy fans together for a memorable day of music and experiences.

You can read a bit more about the purpose of the festival from Hawthorne Heights’ vocalist JT Woodruff below but the day really belonged to the musicians and bands that performed throughout the day. In total there were 24 separate performances, across three stages that ran like a precision timepiece. The venue and the stage set-up provided festival goers everything they could have wanted and the sizeable crowd really seemed to be into the day and the performances unfolding in front of them.

Headline performances from Jimmy Eat World, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Alkaline Trio, Underoath and of course Hawthorne Heights drew the largest crowds and were must see sets that didn’t disappoint fans while definitely garnering a few new fans along the way. Festivals like these are also opportunities to see and experience bands that you might not be completely into or aware of and today was no different.

Performing their first show in 18 months rockers Relient K from nearby Canton, Ohio put on a fun and energetic set that was way too short and left fans wanting more. On the same stage about an hour before, Ohio-born and Wisconsin-based singer, songwriter, producer, and musician Kennyhoopla had a memorable set where he merged alternative, hip-hop, rock, indie, and pop together for a lively good time. Much earlier in the day Seattle Based Deathrockers Nox Novacula started things off on the Casey Calvert Stage with a deep and foreboding set that was talked about off and on throughout the day. much later in the afternoon on the small Tim Taylor stage, a sizeable crowd jammed around the stage as post-hardcore band Emery let loose with a powerhouse set. Lastly, a late hour cancellation of Four Year Strong (due to some never ending travel issues) meant New York based emo pop punk band, Bad Luck could be a last minute replacement and they sure made the most of their time on stage with a solid set or original songs. Other performances throughout the day included State Champs, The Starting Line, The Missed, Sign Language, Saosin, Slutbomb, Motherfolk, Knavery, Spitalfield, Skye Wallace, Lost Henry, Xanny Stars & Life in Idle.

All in all the Ohio Is For Lovers festival was well run and organized, with ample food, and amenities to handle the sizeable crowd with stellar performances throughout the day. Hopefully Hawthorne Heights and the Is For Lovers Festival will be back in 2024!

About the Is For Lovers Festival:

Hawthorne Heights, who brought the inaugural year of “Is For Lovers Festival” to three cities (Wichita, Denver and Cincinnati) in 2022, have expanded the Summer extravaganza to eight locations for 2023: Hawaii (April 29), Lake Tahoe (June 24), Salt Lake City (July 21) Denver (July 22), Manteo, N.C. (July 29), Council Bluffs (Aug. 19 & 20), Orange County, CA (Aug. 26), Cincinnati (Sept. 9), Pelham, Tenn. (Sept. 10), and Mansfield, Mass. (Sept. 17).

“In year one, we got to go to a few of our favorite cities, with bands that are our friends, and some bands that we simply love,” explains JT Woodruff, Hawthorne Heights’ vocalist and co-curator of the “Is For Lovers Festival.” “We want to give fans an inclusionary place to go that features a wide variety of bands from all walks of life, and we want to do it with a smile on our face, because we have chosen to work with people who we love and respect. The most important part for us is to make sure that the fan experience is equal to the band experience. We just want everyone to have fun, and have an easy day together.”

Artists, which vary from location to location, include Jimmy Eat World, Thrice, Alkaline Trio, The Story So Far, 3OH!3, Bayside, Underoath, State Champs, Mayday Parade, Thursday, and more.

“Is For Lovers Festival” also makes a point of incorporating local businesses, both via the food options on site but also featuring an adjacent marketplace and activities area showcasing local makers and creators. There will be onsite activations designed to give the fans a fun and unique way to enjoy their time in between seeing their favorite artists. Back for the second year will be a coffee booth, which is partnered with a local coffee shop, and helped run by the band. JT adds: “I had a lot of fun masquerading as a barista last year and serving Hawthorne Heights themed drinks like ‘Oat-Hio is for Lovers, which was a crowd pleaser… so why not run it back?”

Hawthorne Heights
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Ohio Is For Lovers Festival
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Jimmy Eat World
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The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
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Riverbend Music Center
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