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For me, a music festival comes in three stages; anticipation, euphoria, and recovery. Whether you’re a diehard fan there solely for the music, looking for a chance to meet new people, or simply want to put your wildest outfit on display, there’s one thing all festival-goers have in common. They’re trying to escape from the monotony of their daily lives. That’s exactly what the masterminds behind Bunbury, an eclectic Cincinnati fest inaugurated in 2012, had in mind.

According to the trusty Urban Dictionary, to “bunbury” is to make up an excuse to get out of doing something boring, and originates from Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest. Focusing your attention on the big screen at a concert can be tempting, but the pixels don’t compare to your own eyes, even if they do have magnification features. The same goes for actually being at the festival vs. scrolling through and reading about it on your lunch break. However, for those of you who didn’t get a chance to “bunbury” this weekend, I will try my best to give you the lowdown.


Falling in love (with the Mowgli’s) in San Francisco

Ever since their hit “I’m Good” went viral in the Vine world last year, I have been dying to let this cheerful alt rock band from Southern California brighten my day with live music. Plus, they’re named after a dog who was named after the little boy from The Jungle Book, and who doesn’t like puppies and Disney movies?


The Killers killing it

The whole crowd singing their hearts out to every word of the iconic American rock bands songs was quite a way to end day one. I’m sure you’ll be happy to know that much like your dads claim to, The Killers “still got it.” I would also recommend checking out some of Brandon Flower’s personal discography, or wait with the rest of us in eager anticipation of their new album, which Elton John, the rocket man himself, has revealed to be a part of. Because I was way too busy enjoying the music, here is a (short) sneak peak


Actual Sweater Weather

Sadly, The Neighbourhood had to end their set early, but as soon as the rain started pouring, they knew it was their cue to play Sweater Weather. While I was really looking forward to “I Can’t Even” and hopelessly waiting for a surprise guest appearance from Future, there was something inceptious singing about it being “too cold for you here” while it actually was.

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Reliving the 70s

A few months ago, I was introduced to Umphrey’s McGee, this groovy jam band with influences of classics such as Pink Floyd, Phish, and the Grateful Dead. I was also surprised to learn that they identifies The Police, Led Zeppelin, and The Beatles as primary influences, according to the band’s website. But then again, who didn’t The Beatles influence? If you’re into alluring and aesthetically pleasing lights, a chill crowd, and jamming the f*ck out, I would definitely recommend checking out their summer tour dates. P.S. The little horn symbol you see in the crowd is their thing. Do it at a show and nobody will dare call you the b word (bandwagon fan).

Coming Straight Outta Compton

While I have grown to expand my realm of interests, rap will always hold a special place in my suburban white girl heart. That being said, from an unbiased standpoint, Ice Cube was by far one of the best performers at Bunbury 2016. His rawness, edge, and attitude far surpassed any other. I guess there’s a reason they called themselves N*ggaz With Attitudes. While a surprise appearance from Dr. Dre would have been sublime, we were blessed with one from O’Shea Jackson Jr., otherwise known as Ice Cube’s son.

It was (thankfully) nothing like the Detroit riot in 1989, when the police warned N.W.A. not to play “Fuck Tha Police” and were allegedly shot up on stage for not complying. First Amendment, anyone? Nonetheless, the song still holds just as much and meaning, if not more, than back then. The difference is that today we have the resources to act upon police brutality, while never forgetting the hardships that the “crazy mother*cker named Ice Cube” endured.

Deadmau5 in the rain

Never having seen Deadmau5 before but knowing his basic history and prevalence in the world of EDM, I was pretty stoked. A little nervous about the 90% chance of rain, I was reassured by diehard mouse head Sam Movish that “Rain makes you dance harder, jump higher, and scream louder.” For me, progressive house shows always come in two waves of emotion; elation and deflation. There will be times when I will be super engaged and other times when the beat drop just doesn’t fascinate me like it does the rest of the crowd. It’s not you, Deadmau5, it’s me. For a fan like Movish however, the performance was “true house euphoria.” To each their own, I suppose.

Sunday’s Sets

Elle King covering Johnny Cash

I could show you guys a video of the crowd singing their hearts out for Ex’s & Oh’s, but you all know how that song goes (if you’ve turned your radios on at all in the past year). I was surprised to learn that Elle King is actually a freaking badass and has since dyed her hair blue. Saying things to the crowd like, “I like smoking weed, and it smells like you guys do too” to “I love my home state!!” she was truly an interactive and authentic performer. (Elle is an Ohioan, growing up in Jackson, between Wellston and Columbus). Known for her covers and hoping she would do her rendition of Khia’s dirty “My Neck, My Back,” I was pleasantly surprised when she chose to cover a little Johnny Cash instead. Judging by the reactions from the crowd, they were too.

A trip to Florence (+ the Machine)

Earlier on in the year, I had an entire trip to Italy planned. I had packed all my things, purchased my ticket, and was ready to go, only to find out my trip was cancelled due to some “complications” the study abroad program had. But I still got to see Florence. OK, so obviously the show wasn’t as great as an actual trip to Florence, but I am not exaggerating when I say it was pretty damn close.

Much like Elle, Florence was so interactive with the crowd and beautifully flounced onstage in a pink floral Woodstock-esque getup. Her British dialect and eccentric mannerisms only make her stage presence more powerful. Being the last performance of the festival, I was a bit sad that Bunbury was over. But then she started playing “Dog Days Are Over” and I felt that sadness evaporate like my granola bars that were confiscated at the front entrance.


Featured photo: Emily Maxwell | WCPO

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