Music News & Reviews

12 acts to catch at this year’s Bunbury Festival

Deadmau5 performs at the 2016 Bunbury Festival.
Deadmau5 performs at the 2016 Bunbury Festival.

Festival season waits for no one – not in Cincinnati, at least.

This weekend, the fifth installment of the three-day Bunbury Music Festival commences at Yeatman’s Cove and Sawyer Point on the Cincinnati riverfront. This marks the second year the event has been in early June, making it the region’s first large-scale music gathering of the season. In its first three years, Bunbury was held in mid-July, which into uncomfortably close to Louisville’s Forecastle Festival.

But what of the music that will ignite Bunbury? What reason does it present for heading to Cincinnati and rocking on the Ohio River for three days? Well, here are 12 good reasons: a look at a dozen of the highlighting acts on the festival’s 2016 schedule. You will find new names, older faves, combinations of the two and some intriguing collaborations.

For a full schedule, go to But here are names to check out this year.

June 3

The Killers, 9:30 p.m., Yeatman’s Cove Stage. The celebrated Las Vegas rock brigade comes to Bunbury in a state of flux marked by a four-year gap since its last album, Battle Born, and the recent departure (i.e. “indefinite hiatus”) of bassist Mark Stoermer.

Mudcrutch, 8:30 p.m., Sawyer Point Stage. Before there was Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, there was the more country-rock leaning Mudcrutch. Now with the release of Mudcrutch 2, its second album since re-forming in 2008, Petty and company are hitting the road. (See album review, page 18.)

Haim, 7:30 p.m., Yeatman’s Cove Stage. Sisters Alana, Danielle and Este Haim launched quite the pop charge after roaring out of California’s San Fernando Valley with a much-hyped debut album in late 2013 that drew frequent comparisons to Fleetwood Mac.

Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires. 5:45 p.m., Yeatman’s Cove Stage. Introduced to audiences through the 2012 documentary Soul of America, Bradley went from homelessness to placement as one of the key soul revivalists on the Daptone label with a singing style that owes equally to James Brown and Otis Redding.

June 4

Deadmau5, 10 p.m., Yeatman’s Cove Stage. Born in Ontario as Joel Thomas Zimmerman, the electronica and house music stylist known as deadmau5 has been playing to mammoth audiences around the world, donning headgear that could belong to a robotic Mickey Mouse.

Umphrey’s McGee, 8 p.m., Yeatman’s Cove Stage. Hailing from the unlikely musical metropolis of South Bend, Ind., the prog-inclined Umphrey’s McGee has slowly established a devout fan base among jam-band audiences over the past two decades.

Ice Cube, 9 p.m., Sawyer Point Stage. The buzz surrounding this set by the famed rapper and actor is that it will reunite him with DJ Yella and MC Ren, two members of the groundbreaking Compton hip-hop troupe N.W.A. that brought Ice Cube to national acclaim 30 years ago.

Big Grams, 7 p.m., Sawyer Point Stage. Big Grams represents the teaming of Outkast rapper Big Boi and electronic music duo Phantogram (Josh Carter and Sarah Barthel). The resulting trio released a self-titled, seven-song EP last September.

June 5

Florenece + the Machine, 10 p.m., Yeatman’s Cove Stage. British popster Florence Welch and company are touring globally behind 2015’s album How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful. Welch’s biggest hit of late, though, is a viral video of her singing last week to a 15-year-old fan at a hospice.

Here Come the Mummies, 9:15 p.m., CVG River Stage. This is perhaps less of an event to Lexington concertgoers, because the Nashville funk band, whose members perform in mummified costumes to conceal supposedly high-profile identities, plays here on a regular basis.

Of Monsters and Men, 8 p.m., Yeatman’s Cove Stage. What better way to celebrate the sounds of summer than with a band from Iceland? Along with hit albums like 2015’s Beneath the Skin, this Reykjavik folk-pop quintet last month became the latest band to make a cameo appearance in Game of Thrones.

Elle King, 7 p.m., Sawyer Point Stage. Los Angeles songsmith and occasional Of Monsters and Men tour mate King immediately grabbed national attention in 2014 with her Grammy-nominated Top 10 hit Ex’s & Oh’s. The song was featured again on her 2015 debut album, Love Stuff.

Read Walter Tunis’ blog, The Musical Box, at

If you go

Bunbury Music Festival

When: 1 p.m. June 3-5

Where: Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove, 705 E. Pete Rose Way, Cincinnati

Tickets: $89 each day

Call: 1-800-745-3000