Best Music Festivals Near Cleveland

May 12, 2015 8:00 AM

Waving during the concert

With summer finally here, music festival season is now in full bloom. There’s nothing like sitting out in the middle of grassy field listening to some good music. However, finding a show that fits a variety of musical tastes can be a real challenge. Thankfully these five Cleveland-area music festivals feature artists representing a wide range of genres including indie rock, hip hop, Americana, hard rock, punk, funk or jam.
Vans Warped Tour
Blossom Music Center
1145 West Steels Corners Rd
Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223
(330) 920-8040

Date:  July 23, 2015

The largest traveling music festival in America, the Vans Warped Tour has provided a showcase for the latest and greatest bands in the punk and alt-rock scenes since 1995. In recent years the festival has expanded into new genres, featuring funk outfit Bad Rabbits and rapper Watsky in the 2014 festival. This year’s Warped Tour continues the trend, with veteran rockers Motion City Soundtrack and punk stalwarts Simple Plan playing the main stage while rapper Riff Raff and unabashed pop band Metro Station on the smaller stages. Cleveland area music fans would be hard pressed to find a tour with a more diverse line.

Related: Best Spring Festivals In Cleveland

Rock on the Range
Mapfre Stadium
One Black & Gold Blvd
Columbus, OH 43211
(614) 447-4169

Dates: May 15 through 17, 2015

Since 2007, the Rock on the Range festival has specialized in giving fans of rock, specifically its hard, alternative and mainstream variations, a place to see their favorite acts all in one place. Staged at the massive Mapfire Stadium, which accommodates more than 20,000 people, this year’s Range fest has a truly remarkable 57-band lineup. Slipknot and Marilyn Manson will start things off. Day two will feature Judas Priest and Godsmack. The festival will close out with performances from Linkin Park and Anthrax. Earplugs are most definitely recommended.

Best Places to Discover New Music in Cleveland 

Dark Star Jubilee 
Legend Valley
7585 Kindle Rd
Thornville, OH 43076
(888) 996-4774

Dates: May 22 through 24, 2015

Folks looking for a more mellow music festival would be well served by the Dark Star Jubilee. The biggest attraction for this rustic festival is the Dark Star Orchestra, a Grateful Dead tribute band that has attracted a large following since its founding in 1997, but they are hardly the only reason to buy a ticket. Jam favorites like Los Lobos, Robert Randolph and the Family Band and Railroad Earth will be on hand to keep things lively and engaging. A number of arts and crafts vendors will also be on hand to complete the relaxed experience.

Related: Best Local Rock Bands In Cleveland

Larchmere PorchFest
Larchmere Boulevard
Between East 121st St and East 130th St.

Dates: June 20, 2015

The 7th annual Larchmere PorchFest has a little something for everyone. The one day event will feature more than 30 bands representing a wide range of genres. Americana fans can check out a set by Maura Rogers & the Bellows or Tom Evanchuck. Hip hop heads can enjoy a performance by Johnny La Rock & Furface. Rock fans can bang their heads to the sounds of The Twistoffs and Ottawa. Best of all, the entire festival is free.

Nelsonville Music Festival
3301 Hocking Pkwy
Nelsonville, OH 45764
(740) 753-1924

Dates: May 28 through 31, 2015

The environmentally minded Nelsonville Music Festival has always strived to balance its lineup between artists who are known locally and worldwide and this year is no exception. This year’s big name performers will include St. Vincent, Merle Haggard and the Flaming Lips. Regional up and comers will include Dayton’s Good English, Columbus’ Connections and Yellow Spring’s own Speaking Suns. As an added incentive for families, children under the age of 12 will be admitted for free.

Mario McKellop is a freelance writer who has covered the pop culture beat since 2010.

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