Cleveland has become the latest concert market to throw its hat into North America’s already heavily-populated music festival circuit. The waterfront city is well known for its unforgiving winters and flammable rivers, and is also home to the world-famous Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, which sits right next to the Cleveland Browns stadium along the southern shores of Lake Erie. The city’s inaugural InCuya Music Festival will hopefully bring new music life to the city, which has certainly welcomed a more cultural and refreshingly youthful identity in recent years thanks to the arrival notable hometown entertainers such as Kid Cudi and LeBron James.
InCuya Music Festival will take place along The Malls in downtown Cleveland on Aug. 25-26 this summer. When the city’s brand new music event kicks off, fans will be forced to deal with deciding on which artists to see over the two-days, which can be tricky depending on where one’s musical alliances lie. For those who may not be familiar with a lot of the names on the festival’s inaugural poster, here are the official AXS suggestions as to which five artists are must-see when InCuya comes to Cleveland come August.
1. The Avett Brothers
Since initially forming back in the 1990s, The Avett Brothers have emerged out of rural North Carolina with their energetic mix of contemporary folk, Americana and bluegrass to help bring the more roots-based genres into the mainstream. Their 2009 major label debut, I and Love and You, helped to introduce them to audiences on a national level, and thanks to their melody-driven, radio-friendly material with ballads like "I Wish I Was" and "Bring Your Love To Me," the band has continued to open doors for similar artists like Nathaniel Rateliff and Greensky Bluegrass. Ohio loves its rural rock, and fans in attendance should be more than ready to welcome the band with open arms and dancing feet. Fans can also catch the band when they perform at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with David Crosby on June 29 and Mandolin Orange on June 30.
When it was initially reported that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame would be working closely with InCuya’s producers on curating a solid lineup, fans had to assume that at least one notable rock band would be taking the stage. That band would be none other than Cake, the veteran alt-rock group from Sacramento who have been making audiences dance since arriving on the scene in the early 1990s. The band has consistently been one of the premiere alt-rock acts in music, both from an underground and mainstream level with platinum-selling albums like 1996’s Fashion Nugget and 1998’s Prolonging the Magic. The term “Cleveland Rocks” will certainly be applicable when the members of Cake take the stage.
3. The Revivalists
Seeing The Revivalists’ name on the InCuya poster should come as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying attention over the last five years, as the roots rock band from New Orleans have kept a very busy touring schedule (especially in the festival circuit) since forming around 10 years ago. The band have become favorites within the jam scene thanks to their undeniable all-around energy and fantastic showmanship from lead singer David Shaw. The band may have a fanbase built around rock-loving adults and teenagers, but they have a wholesome sense about their lyrics and branding that make them perfect for fans of any age to enjoy on a warm summer day. If you’re into letting loose and having fun, The Revivalists should be on your festival schedule.
4. Tank and the Bangas
There weren’t a lot of music fans who had heard of Tank and the Bangas prior to 2017. The eclectic group from New Orleans have been around since the start of the decade, but were given the national spotlight after winning NPR Music’s "Tiny Desk Concert" Contest last year, which was followed by some new music, plenty of headlining shows and appearances at major music festivals to cap off an exciting 2017. They’re the ultimate millennial band, pulling from all kinds of influences ranging from soft singer-songwriter ballads to funk and horn-friendly jams. Bob Boilen and the NPR Music crew definitely picked out the band to represent the Tiny Deskers of the world, and now its Cleveland’s turn to experience what they’re sound is really made of.
Dreamers may be flying under the pop radar at the moment, but that’s only due to hip-hop and EDM getting its time in the spotlight over rock these days. For those who have been paying attention, the New York rock trio have been creating quite a buzz over the last few years, making appearances at notable festivals following the 2016 release of their debut album, This Album Does Not Exist. Their meat-and-potatoes style of rock and roll should be well received by Clevelanders, who will want to hear some of their radio-friendly anthemic hits including “Wolves” and “Sweet Disaster.”
Tickets to InCuya Music Festival are on sale now, and can be purchased by clicking here.