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Know Your 'Heights'

Eclectic local event The Heights Music Festival presents only one fest this year and it's this weekend

By Mike Breen · April 24th, 2013 · Spill It
603797_10151539661879647_1955941690_nPart of The Heights Music Fest's poster series (Photo: facebook.com/The.Heights.Music.Festival)

The first Clifton Heights Music Festival took place toward the end of the last decade, as the Clifton Heights neighborhood near the University of Cincinnati was practically crumbling thanks to demolition and construction for various projects designed to make the area more of a thriving entertainment district for students and residents (you know, like most other universities have).

Since then, as The Heights Music Festival (as it was renamed last year) has grown in the number of performers, venues and attendees, the neighborhood it’s based in has seen an even bigger growth spurt. Those “tentative” projects for the streets near UC’s campus (particularly around the parallel McMillan and Calhoun streets) are either in place or close to being completed. 

If you’ve driven through the ever-improving Clifton Heights area lately, and if you’ve seen how the festival has grown with every year, you couldn’t be blamed for thinking that the 2013 Heights festival will be Lollapalooza-sized. 

But, while still featuring a really strong lineup, once again proving The Heights is the best place to explore the new faces of Cincinnati music before they potentially blow up (Walk the Moon was an early participant), the festival, overall, is a little leaner this year. Fest director Rome Ntukogu of Far-I-Rome Production also announced that instead of two Heights fests this year (previously, festivals were held in the spring and in the fall), this weekend’s Heights Music Festival (the eighth overall) will be the only one for 2013.

Is The Heights fest on its last legs? Not quite. Ntukogu says he just wanted a breather to develop new ideas for HMF, which makes sense considering most of the revitalization going on in the neighborhood should make the area more “fest-friendly” by being, if not completed, then oh-so close. And, besides, Ntukogu’s got bigger plans for the fest to work on.

“We plan on bringing it back in 2014,” Ntukogu says. “I just really want to tweak a few things and hopefully develop some ideas that have been rolling around in my head for years.”

Like in its debut year, the 2013 Heights Music Festival will be held at just four venues — Rohs Street Café (the only all-ages venue), Baba Budan’s, Mac’s Pizza Pub and Christy’s Biergarten, a historic building that has been at the center of a battle over whether it should be demolished in the name of progress or preserved in the name of history. 

Tickets for the final Heights fest of 2013 are available in advance through cincyticket.com (if picking your pre-purchased tickets up the night of the show, got to Rohs Street Café between 7-10 p.m.) or at the participating venues.

Tickets for each night are just $5, which will get you into all four sites. 

Below are the full lineups for both days of the fest. Feel free to tear it out and take it with you — we won’t get mad.


• Friday at Rohs Street Café: The Freebies (8 p.m.); MC Forty (9 p.m.); Young Colt (10 p.m.); The Yugos (11 p.m.).

• Friday at Baba Budan’s: One Day Steady (9 p.m.); Wonky Tonk (10 p.m.); AC The Entity, Citoak (11 p.m.); Filthy Beast (midnight).

• Friday at Mac’s Pizza: Rachel Mousie (9 p.m.); Common Center (10 p.m.); Big Rock Club (11 p.m.); Olu, Crack Sauce (midnight).

• Friday at Christy’s: Zach Starkie (9 p.m.); The Newt (10 p.m.); Junya Be & Wazali (11 p.m.); Gold Shoes (midnight).


• Saturday at Rohs Street Café: Brent Stroud (9 p.m.); Moonbeau (10 p.m.); Little Lights (11 p.m.).

• Saturday at Baba Budan’s: VanillaSake (9 p.m.); Sulla (10 p.m.); LZRPNY (11 p.m.); Horsecop (midnight).

• Saturday at Mac’s: Koala Fires (9 p.m.); Emily and The Complexes (10 p.m.); Tana Matz (11 p.m.) and MJs Blues (midnight).

• Saturday at Christy’s: Jordon Schneider (9 p.m.); Baoku & The Image Afrobeat Band (10 p.m.); The Almighty Getdown (11 p.m.); The Killtones (midnight).

For more info on the fest, including sound and video clips from the performers, visit The Heights’ official site at theheightsmusicfestival.com. Below is a playlist organizers made featuring a handful of participating artists.

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen@citybeat.com, @CityBeatMusic on Twitter and here on Facebook.



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