The Sounds of Summer
Cleveland's music-centric festivals and events will rock your world as the weather turns warmer
Cleveland's known as the home of rock 'n' roll. However, as the city's slate of upcoming music festivals and events reveals, we're also a town whose heart beats with the sounds of all musical styles—including jazz, folk, classical and hip-hop, to name a few—all summer long. Mark some (or all) of these warm weather highlights down on your calendar.
The two-day music festival, which takes place on the Butler campus of Laurel School, features 31 acts, including national luminaries such as indie-folk troupe Head and the Heart; livewire rockers Young the Giant; scorching guitarist Gary Clark Jr.; and funk-soul vibemakers Michael Franti & Spearhead. As with the inaugural edition of the festival in 2016, LaureLive will also have plenty of local ties, both musically (a performance from pop Kate Voegele) and dining-wise, courtesy of food trucks such as Wok on the Wild Side, Everything About Crepes, Barrio and the Sweet Spot. This is a family-friendly event with bounce houses, face painting, bubble machines and more to add to the festive event.
Every Thursday, June 8-August 10
Cleveland's hippest concert series is once again on the waterfront on Thursday evenings during the summer. The mega-packed Edgewater LIVE features live music and food trucks, as well as some of the best sunset views in Northeast Ohio.
Spend a summer afternoon wandering around the quaint east side neighborhood Larchmere (adjacent to Shaker Square) listening to 30 local bands playing on house porches. This year's Porchfest is even bigger and better. The all-day event boasts a Heights Music Shop-sponsored songwriter stage in a Platform Brewery-sponsored beer garden in the parking lot of Big Al's Diner; an "art cart" for visitors to craft souvenirs; a finale concert at E. 126th St.; free after-parties at Batuqui, Academy Tavern and Felice Urban Café. Get all the details on the lineup at the PorchFest Announce Party on May 18 at the Grog Shop.
Make Music Day
In 1982, France launched Fête de la Musique, a national holiday dedicated to all things music. Thirty-five years later, a similar celebration—Make Music Day—has become a global phenomenon. Last year, over 200 performers made a joyful noise in 75 different venues both big and small all around Northeast Ohio. This year, Cleveland will once again come alive with the sound(s) of music, and illuminate the joy that this art brings to the community.
June 22-24, Playhouse Square
This annual, multi-day jazz festival draws big names to town. In fact, this year's lineup features Boz Scaggs, Boney James, Terence Blanchard, Kamasi Washington, Dianne Reeves, Chris Botti and more.
Wade Oval Wednesdays
Every Wednesday, June 14-August 30
A Cleveland summer tradition returns to University Circle. Head over to the city's museum mecca between 6-9 p.m. weekly to enjoy live music and activities, and nosh on snacks from food trucks (or bring a picnic dinner, if that's more your speed). As an added bonus, some museums are open late on Wednesdays for patrons to visit.
Blossom Music Festival
Weekends, July 1-September 3
The tranquil outdoor Cuyahoga Falls amphitheater undergoes a Superman-Clark Kent identity shift during the warmer months. When it's not hosting rock, hip-hop and country concerts, the venue transforms into the summer home of the Cleveland Orchestra. This year's Blossom Music Festival schedule kicks off with an Independence Day weekend performance of Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture" (July 1-2) and includes Hollywood Heroes and Superheroes (August 13), Holst's "The Planets" (August 26), and a tribute to Ella Fitzgerald (August 27). The 2017 festival closes on Labor Day weekend with a three-night stand of "E.T. The Extraterrestrial" featuring the orchestra playing the movie score as the film plays.
Summer in the City concert series
Wednesdays, July 12-August 30, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is bringing back its free concert series, Summer in the City. The outdoor concerts take place in the plaza in front of the Rock Hall, where you can jam while indulging in fare from local food trucks and brews from the beer garden.
Burning River Fest
August 18-19, Historic Coast Guard Station, Cleveland lakefront
Besides plenty of brews—after all, the event is co-sponsored by Great Lakes Brewing Co. and the Burning River Foundation—this summer staple books a healthy, diverse array of live music.
Roar Along The Shore
Call this a floating festival: Taking place on August 31 on the Goodtime III, this river cruise will feature local bands, food trucks on the dock and plenty of delicious brews to help you say goodbye to summer in style.
What music fests are you looking forward to this summer in CLE?