Ohio’s Coolest Summer Music Festivals
By Anietra Hamper

Ohio’s Coolest Summer Music Festivals

Few things constitute a perfect summer evening or weekend like a non-stop music festival. Good food, warm weather and great music explode in Ohio this summer with a roster of some of the coolest summer music festivals.

 Bob Mullenix

Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival – Photo: Gahanna CVB

Gahanna Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival – Gahanna

One of my favorite can’t-miss summer music events is the Gahanna Creekside Blues & Jazz Festival. For 16 years the Gahanna Convention and Visitors Bureau has transformed Olde Gahanna into a playground of great Jazz music suitable for a lazy summer weekend. I love grabbing a hearty pulled pork sandwich from one of the many BBQ vendors, then kicking my feet up near one of the five stages and enjoying more than 90 hours of live music with 40,000 of my closest Ohio friends! There’s also dozens of food vendors, a bourbon & whiskey tasting event, art vendors, a Musical Discovery Zone and a kid’s activities area.   

Bunbury Music Festival – Cincinnati 

The Bunbury Music Festival, along the banks of the Ohio River, is more than a festival, it’s an experience. In fact, event organizers encourage you to make the festival part of a larger road trip to enjoy the other great things that Cincinnati has to offer. The festival will be at Cincinnati’s Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove. The musical lineup includes: Fall Out Boy, Empire of the Sun, The Flaming Lips, Paramore, Fitz and the Tantrums, Young the Giant, New Politics, Cage the Elephant and more. It is a lively crowd, but be advised, no moshing, crowd surfing or stage diving is allowed.

 Live! Technologies

Jamboree in the Hills – photo: Live! Technologies

Jamboree in the Hills – Belmont

Keith Urban, Little Big Town, Montgomery Gentry, Tim McGraw, Joe Diffie, Neal McCoy, Diamond Rio and Darius Rucker are just some of the acts at this year’s Jamboree in the Hills music festival. In its 36th year, the Jamboree is the longest running and most popular country music festival in the nation. More than 100,000 music fans will roll in for the star-packed venue for four fabulous days of music. Many fans commute from surrounding states to see so many headliners in one spot. The on-site campground houses more than 5,000 campers. If you are a country music fan, this festival is a must-see experience.

Fashion Meets Music Festival – Columbus  

In a fun fusion of music and fashion, the Fashion Meets Music Festival is the nation’s largest event celebrating both art forms. Nationwide Boulevard turns into a fashion runway complete with models and live music. This colorful event showcases 500 performances with 250 artists as they celebrate music and music-inspired fashion. Musical acts cover genres of Rock, Pop, R&B, Punk and Alternative. Plus, a Retail Marketplace at the Columbus Convention Center will feature hundreds of vendors. For those who want to enjoy the full weekend, Urban Camping and After Party tickets are available.  

 Randal Schieber

Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest – photo: Randal Schieber

Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest – Columbus

It just seems like Jazz music and BBQ ribs were meant to go together. This year at the Columbus Jazz & Rib Fest enjoy music on three stages featuring local, regional and national jazz artists while you fill your stomach with award-winning ribs and BBQ. This year’s musical lineup includes: The Soul Rebels, Brian Culbertson, Spanish Harlem Orchestra and Terence Blanchard. On the food front, 22 award-winning BBQ teams will compete for the title of “Best Ribs.” The event that started 35 years ago as a Jazz in July series now draws thousands of people to the Arena District riverfront. This year is no exception!

Macy’s Music Festival  – Cincinnati

Originally called the Ohio Valley Jazz Festival in 1962, the Macy’s Music Festival has grown and evolved into an amazing two-day event on Cincinnati’s riverfront.  Enjoy the sound of  R&B, jazz, soul, and hip-hop, and more. This year’s fesival includes Charlie Wilson, Chaka Khan, New Edition, Mint Condition, NE-YO, Robin Thicke, Keyshia Cole, K Michelle, After 7, and Chrisette Michelle.

In 2005, Macy’s became the headline sponsor for the event, which draws in more than 50,000 a year from around the country.


To find more festivals in Ohio, click here!


About the Author

For Anietra Hamper, writing is a passion. Anietra spent nearly 20 years as a top-rated television news Anchor telling thousands of stories that impact people's lives. Now, away from the spotlight, Anietra is a published travel writer. In fall 2013, Anietra was honored to be selected as a member of the prestigious Society of American Travel Writers. Anietra's zest for exploration and photography has taken her to untouched regions of Vietnam and tribal territories of the Philippines, sharing those journeys along the way through articles and blogs. Anietra is also a correspondent for Child Fund International; one of the largest non-Government Organizations in the world. Anietra graduated Cum Laude from Heidelberg College in Tiffin, Ohio and studied journalism at American University in Washington D.C. She enjoys fishing, photography, fitness and playing with her rescued dog Sunny. You can follow Anietra online at ThreeWordPress.com.