30 Seconds to Mars & Muse Wow Bunbury

Photos and Words by Jen Fall

Bunbury at a Glance

This article was a tough one for me to write; the post-festival blues are REAL. Attending 2 festivals in 2 weekends was certainly not something I would typically schedule, but this lineup was so incredible I couldn’t say no. Not only am I feeling my old lady raver age, but I surprised myself yet again that I am able to “turn up” for amazing music opportunities. Bunbury’s slogan is “Be Here, Be You, Be Free” and now I understand. Bunbury is all about staying true to its roots, catering to all walks of life, staying local, and keeping everything affordable for the fans.  

Music genre: EDM, Rock, Punk, Local artists

Camping: No

Capacity: Small

Crowd type: Trendy / Ravers / Hipsters / Familes

Water stations: Yes

For the First-Timers

Bunbury is located on the Ohio River in downtown Cincinnati throughout Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove. It is a beautiful venue. We drove from Indianapolis and reserved a hotel across the river in Erlanger Kentucky. It was a very short drive to the festival, and parking options were plentiful.

Standout Food

There were so many food trucks to choose from. I had some Island Noodles that were divine. The bar near the main-stage has food options as well, and accepts credit cards. Clutch. We spent quite a bit of time here.  The craft beer village also adds a nice touch. We drank some wonderful cider with our lunch there before Bassnectar played Saturday.

Stage Layout

Stages were typical concert style. I was surprised that what seemed to be the larger stage (Sawyer Point) upon walking into the fest was not billed as the “Main Stage.” Pretty Lights was the only performance we watched here. The Nissan Stage was large, but felt less open, perhaps because the setup was a bit more narrow. We literally parked here for the majority of the festival.

Musical Highlights

I was so excited to finally attend a festival with no musical conflicts. In theory this sounds great, but to be honest… with only a few must sees per day I was surprised to find myself not bouncing from stage to stage, set to set. We enjoyed the other stages, and explored, but the music was most notable on the Nissan stage. It offered me the opportunity to actually chill, and not check every single item off my usual festival list. We met so many wonderful new people this way, and were able to enjoy the river and seating areas around it. Pretty Lights was beautiful live. I was so excited to finally see him after all the wait. Tech 9 put on a fantastic show, and Bassnectar was certainly a spectacle.

I have a confession to make. I have been scribbling Mrs. Leto on my notebooks since middle school. I have followed Jared, his career, and 30 Seconds to Mars since their first self-titled album in 2002. I’m proud of knowing who they were when they were playing small intimate venues. They continue to develop as artists, and their music videos are so visually stunning. It was so exciting to finally see them in a festival atmosphere. Bunbury made show number 5 for me. I broke my usual rule of staying where I could have some breathing room and held the rail for the entire set. He was close enough to sweat on me. I will never forget how blue his eyes really were in person. All the Echelon (Yes, this IS a cult) were front row center singing our hearts out to every song. PURE BLISS. I can’t explain the sheer energy they have while performing. You will just have to experience it yourself one day.

I had been waiting over a decade to see Muse again. When I say that they sound better live than on their albums, it is not a joke. If you have a chance to see them, they are hands down one of the best shows I have ever been to. Their set was so gratifying because it felt like “greatest hits night.” Even the friend I brought with me who had only heard a few songs of theirs completely fell in love. That’s what Muse does, they have an ability to play so marvelously that you know you are in the presence of true great musicians. I would drive, fly, or walk anywhere to see them again. If you have haven’t had the pleasure of seeing them yet, and you have Lollapalooza tickets then you are in luck.

Things To Do

Bunbury is all about the music, food and fun. The vendors were really nice and had a great mixture of locally made items including jewelry and screen-printing that they did right in front of you!

VIP or Nah

If being close to the stage and having a better view is your ideal festival experience, then VIP delivers at this fest. With separate viewing areas, and an air-conditioned DJ tent, cheaper alcohol and free food VIP is well worth the expense.

Story Corner

I had never spent much time in Cincinnati, but was converted to a big fan of the city thanks to this festival. There are beautiful murals littered all over the buildings, and if you cross the bridge into Kentucky, I highly recommend visiting the Newport Aquarium. We had such a marvelous time with our chosen festival family exploring and making new memories together. This festival left time to chill and enjoy your friends, and make new ones. It felt more like a long more intimate concert than a festival. I’ll be interested to see how much Bunbury grows, and the talent they will bring. I will definitely be attending next year.

I would love to hear about your Bunbury experiences! Send me an email at [email protected], or follow me on facebook for travel updates.

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