Page 3 of 4
Jamboree in the Hills • July 18-21
Headliners Miranda Lambert, Luke Bryan, Toby Keith, Neal McCoy
Tix A four-day pass costs $215 and three- and two- day passes are also available.
Where? The festival takes place in Belmont, Ohio, just off Route 70 in Eastern Ohio. It's in the sticks (and borders on West Virginia) but there are over 2,500 camping sites.
Don't Miss! Luke Bryan, who headlines on Friday night, is an up-and-comer who just won the Academy of Country Music Award for entertainer of the year. Veteran Dwight Yoakam caters more to old school country fans and he had a nice return to form last year with 3 Pears. Miranda Lambert hasn't put out a bad album in her storied career. Plenty of good acts to catch this year.
Skip It Don't let their awards fool you, the poppy husband/wife duo Thompson Square deals in cliches about romantic love that would even make lovey dovey singer-songwriter couples like the Captain and Tennille puke.
What to Bring A country concert isn't a country concert if you can't bring your cooler and organizers actually encourage you to bring one, albeit as long as it's loaded with "malt based beverages" and meets the size restrictions. Sorry, but
you'll have to leave that bottle of Jack in the car or somehow find a way to stash it and sneak it in.
Good Grub More than 30 food and beverage vendors will be on hand and general stores stocked with necessities are located just outside festival gates.
Green Cred Aluminum can recycling containers are located throughout the grounds and the cans are picked up each day.
The History This fest has been going strong for 36 years now and regularly draws crowds of 100,000. If you've been to a country concert in the last decade, you know these people know how to party.
Watch Out For... Guys with spray bottles of water. A Jamboree tradition, this isn't as innocent as it seems as unsuspecting women can suddenly find themselves in informal wet T-shirt contests. (Niesel)
Macy's Music Festival • July 26-27
Headliners R. Kelly, Jill Scott, Charlie Wilson
Tix Field-level tickets for one day are $68
Where? Take 71 to Cincinnati. The festival is in the Paul Brown Stadium, aka "The Jungle," home of the Bengals.
Don't Miss! R. Kelly's surprise cameo at this year's Coachella almost made up for the fact that there were no dead rapper holograms. The legendary—if controversial—R&B performer ignites (get it?) any venue he plays, and thankfully he's back to his trademark raunchy stuff after a couple boring-ass, repentant adult-contemporary albums. We're also pooping our pants (that's what "Chocolate Factory" is about, right?) in anticipation of TGT, the has-been supergroup comprising Tyrese, Ginuwine, and Tank. But we're most pumped for Cincinnati-bred Funkadelic bassist Bootsy Collins, the self-proclaimed "P-Master of the Universe." 'Nuff said.
Skip It We're just praying Kells doesn't bust out "I Know You Are Hurting," the tribute he composed for the victims of Sandy Hook. Kinda makes us feel weird after "Feelin on Yo Booty."
What To Bring Condoms, dude. This place is slow jam central. What not to bring: your barely-pubescent children. Anywhere near R. Kelly.
Good Grub The Macy's fest has a cool auxiliary street fair, Festival 513, right across from the Paul Brown stadium. We recommend the BBQ alligator. For real.
Green Cred Um, recycling?
The History Originally the Ohio Valley Jazz Festival, the Macy's festival has been around in varying capacities and under several names for a whopping 51 years, with a three-year hiatus after the Cincinnati race riots of 2001. The festival returned in 2005 rebranded with the Macy's logo, because nothing solves racial strife like shopping.
Watch Out For... Tyrese's semi-literate fat-phobic tirades and misguided dating advice. The singer recently caught flak for referring to overweight people as "fat and nasty," and routinely dishes up gems like "Ladies...Don't independence your way into loneliness" via his Twitter handle "Vision Implementer." Wear those Spanx, ladies, and don't independence too hard at the fest. (Franklin)
Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.