2010 MusicNOW Festival

by Zachary Long

Ohio music lovers will be happy to know that the dates and line-up for the 2010 edition of the MusicNOW Festival in Cincinnati were announced this past week. The annual festival, now entering it’s fifth year, showcases some of the most forward-thinking artists in contemporary music. The event is curated by Bryce Dessner, a Cincinnati native who is better known as a guitarist for The National. The festival is held at Memorial Hall, a 150-year-old restored theater in Cincinnati’s historic Over-the-Rhine district.

This year’s festival kicks off on March 30th with a performance from harpist Joanna Newsom who will likely be playing material from her upcoming Drag City release, Have One On Me. On March 31st, St. Vincent will headline and the yMusic ensemble will premiere a commissioned piece penned by St. Vincent front-woman Annie Clark. The festival will close out on April 1st with a solo performance by Justin Vernon, better known for his work with the band Bon Iver

I attended MusicNOW back in 2008 when Grizzly Bear, Dirty Projectors and Andrew Bird played and can attest to the festival’s quality. Memorial Hall is an absolutely beautiful place to see a concert, not a bad seat in the house. Also, if you’re into rubbing elbows with prominent musicians, there’s no better opportunity. Folks like Sufjan Stevens and Richard Reed Parry were in attendance the year I went, and Dessner always brings in a few surprise guests. There aren’t too many music festivals in Ohio that draw big names like these, so show your support by attending a night or two.

MusicNOW 2010 will run from March 30th through April 1st at Memorial Hall in Cincinnati, shows start at 8:00 each evening. Tickets are $20 for individual nights, or $50 for a three-day festival pass.