Nelsonville Music Festival

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Nelsonville Music Festival
Genre soul, acoustic, country, folk, psychedelic, bluegrass, jam bands and more
Location(s) Nelsonville, Ohio United States
Years active 2005–present
Founded by Stuart's Opera House
Official website

The Nelsonville Music Festival is an annual four-day music festival located at the Historic Village of Robbins Crossing at Hocking College in Nelsonville, Ohio in Southeastern Ohio. The event usually takes place in May or early June and features a variety of genres, including local, regional, and national artists. The weekend celebration includes local food and artisans as well as a campground for both primitive and RV camping. The festival also provides activities for children and strives to be environmentally friendly.[1][2][3]


The first Nelsonville Music Festival was held on July 23, 2005 on the square in downtown Nelsonville Historic Arts District in Nelsonville, Ohio.[1] The first event included six bands and a crowd of around 750,[4] as well as artisans from the region. The festival is produced by Stuart's Opera House, a historic non-profit theatre. All proceeds of the event go towards keeping Stuart's Opera House in operation.[5] The festival was started as an opportunity to bring more people to Nelsonville and served as revitalization of the arts district.[4] The second and third year, the festival was held in a field behind Rocky Boots, a local shoe outlet.[1] After three years as a one-day event, the festival was expanded to become a three-day event, and was moved to the Historic Village of Robbins Crossing at Hocking College. The festival has since added a fourth day and expanded to feature over 60 bands and a crowd of upwards 7,000 in 2014.[2]


There is a main stage, a porch stage, and the "No-Fi" cabin, which is located inside of a small, historic, one room schoolhouse with no electricity.[4] The performers at the No-Fi cabin play acoustic sets for a small audience of about 25 people.[2]


Vendors at the event include local and regional artisans, food, and workshops. Locally grown organic food is available as well as handmade drums, jewelry, art, and soap.[4] Students of Hocking College have the opportunity to sell their own artwork and crafts.[3]


Partnered with Rural Action, the festival strives to be zero waste by implementing recycling, composting, and education.[2] Reusable cups are available for one dollar, which can be used for beer or free water. Attendees can refill their water bottle or cup at a provided station equipped with a water filtration device.[3][4]

Children's Activities[edit]

The festival offers free passes to children 12 and under. Teens 13-17 can purchase a discounted ticket. There are numerous activities available for children, including an area for children to listen to and create their own music and musical instruments, and puppets for a puppet parade. There is a kids stage which features workshops and performances all three days of the festival and a project for a community mural.[2][4]



The first Nelsonville Music Festival, held on July 23, 2005, had performances by Dirty Dozen Brass Band, The Derailers, The Royales, The Carpenter Ants, and Slaughter Drive.[6]


Held July 29, 2006, the second annual Nelsonville Music Festival included performances by Todd Snider, Brave Combo, and Leon Redbone.[6]


The third annual event took place on July 14, 2007 and artists included Squirrel Nut Zippers, Brave Combo, Erin McKeown, Bakelite 78, and Hillbilly Idol.[6]


Sarah White appears at Nelsonville Music Festival in Nelsonville, Ohio on May 17, 2008.

The first three-day festival, which took place May 16–18, 2008, had performances by The Avett Brothers, Bettye LaVette, Akron/Family, Justin Townes Earle, Red Stick Ramblers, Michael Hurley, O'Death, Southeast Engine, Uncle Monk, Dawn Landes, Woody Pines & the Lonesome Two, Wailin' Elroys, Silo Circuit, Casual Future, Nostra Nova, Sarah White, Moviola, Justin Gordon, Born Old, Zeb Dewar, The Billycats, and Weedghost.[6]


The weekend of May 15–17, 2009 included performances by Willie Nelson, Mudhoney, Jolie Holland, Model T Ford, Wayne Hancock, and more.[6]


The sixth annual Nelsonville Music Festival included artists such as Loretta Lynn, The Swell Season, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Todd Snider, Man Man, Billy Joe Shaver, Black Joe Lewis & the Honeybears, Michael Hurley, Those Darlins, Detroit Cobras, Buffalo Killers, and more.[6]


Taking place May 13–15, 2011, the seventh annual festival had over 50 acts, including The Flaming Lips, George Jones, Neko Case, Yo La Tengo, Wanda Jackson, Justin Townes Earle, Over the Rhine, The Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger, Lost in the Trees, Bomba Estereo, Mucca Pazza, The Growlers, Michael Hurley, Drakkar Sauna, Baby Dee, Doug Paisley, Ned Oldham & Old Calf, Southeast Engine, The Honeycutters, Y La Bamba, The Spikedrivers, Sgt. Dunbar & the Hobo Banned, Samantha Crain, Chooglin', Cheyenne Marie Mize, The Black Swans, Mount Carmel, Wheels on Fire, Nick Tolford & Company, Black Owls, Duke Junior & the Smokey Boots, She Bears, Whale Zombie, Scubadog, Jerry Decicca, Eve Searls, Matt Moore, The Shazzbots, Flyaway Saturn, Chris Biester, Weedghost, The Lovesick Blues, The Dragline Brothers, Octopus & Owl, Shelby Carter, Rattletrap Stringband, Bruce & Gay Dalzell, Bill Wagner & Brett Burleson, Zeb Dewar, and Elemental Revolver.[7]


The eighth annual event took place May 17–20, 2012, evolving from a three-day to a four-day festival. There were 30 national acts including Iron and Wine, Andrew Bird, M. Ward, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Roky Erickson, Todd Snider, Dawes, Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires, Kurt Vile & the Violators, Hayes Carll, Those Darlins, Dark Dark Dark, Lee Ronaldo Band, Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, Horse Feathers, Flying Clouds of South Carolina, Michael Hurley, Mucca Pazza, Shovels & Rope, Black Bananas, Hope for Agoldensummer, Greg Ashley Band, Woody Pines, Southeast Engine, Mount Moriah, Todd Burge, The Old Fashioneds, Wheels on Fire, Matt Bauer, and Debris Upon the Forest Floor.[7]

There were 18 artists from Ohio, which included Guided by Voices, Jorma Kaukonen, Jessica Lee Mayfield, R.Ring, Shivering Timbers, Old Hundred, The Tillers, Time & Temperature, Ohio University Symphony Orchestra, The Shazzbots, Makebelieves, The D-Rays, Sport Fishing USA, Hex Net, Hunnabee & the Sandy Tar Boys, State Park, Angela Perley & the Howling Moons, and Boxcar Burlesque.[7]


The ninth annual Nelsonville Music Festival took place May 30-June 2, 2013. Artists included Wilco, Cat Power, John Prine, Gogol Bordello, Mavis Staples, Sharon Van Etten, as well as a number of other national and local Ohio acts.[7]


The tenth annual Nelsonville Music Festival took place May 29-June 1, with a welcome return of The Avett Brothers, other headliners included Dinosaur Jr., Shovels & Rope, and The Head and the Heart, Kurt Vile, and Jason Isbell.


The eleventh NMF will take place May 28–31. The Flaming Lips, St. Vincent, Merle Haggard, Trampled By Turtles, Built To Spill, and Brandi Carlile will headline the 60+ act music festival.[needs update]


  1. ^ a b c Perrine, Amos. “Nelsonville Music Festival, May 18–20, 2012, Nelsonville, Ohio.” No Depression: The Roots Music Authority. No Depression, 10 May 2012. Web. 15 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b c d e DeLuca, Leo. “Interview: Nelsonville Music Festival’s Tim Peacock and Brian Koscho.” Done Waiting. Wordpress, 7 May 2012. Web. 15 October 2012.
  3. ^ a b c Watkins, Carl. “Nelsonville Music Festival 2011 Overview.” Guerrilla Geek. Guerrilla Geek, 18 May 2011. Web. 18 October 2012.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Lynch, Bill. “5 Questions: Now in its 8th year, Nelsonville’s Music Fest is “very ‘World Café”. The Charleston Gazette, 17 May 2012. Web. 15 October 2012.
  5. ^ Higgins, Joe. “Thousands Flock to Nelsonville Music Festival.” The Athens Messenger. The Athens Messenger, 21 May 2012. Web. 15 October 2012.
  6. ^ a b c d e f "Past Shows." Stuart's Opera House: Nelsonville, Ohio. Stuart's Opera House: Nelsonville, Ohio, n.d. Web. !8 October 2012.
  7. ^ a b c d “Nelsonville Music Festival.” Nelsonville Music Festival, n.d. Web. 25 October 2012.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 39°27′32.15″N 82°14′3.95″W / 39.4589306°N 82.2344306°W / 39.4589306; -82.2344306