The bad news? The National's big, two-day Homecoming music festival — held in conjunction with the MusicNOW festival this past April on Cincinnati's riverfront in Smale Park — won't be returning in 2019.
The good news? It appears it will be back at some point in the future.
Yesterday (Nov. 29), the Homecoming festival posted on social media and sent out notices to its mailing list thanking "everyone who made our inaugural Homecoming/MusicNOW festival such an unforgettable experience." The post added that the fest was "taking a break in 2019," but that organizers "look forward to doing it again in the future."
The National's guitarist Bryce Dessner (like all of the band members, a Cincinnati native) started MusicNOW in 2006, bringing together Indie Rock artists and New Music/Neo Classical acts at venues like Music Hall and Memorial Hall for unique performances every year since.
Homecoming was a slightly more standard (though still thoughtfully curated) "Rock Music Festival" collaboration with Ashley Capps and AC Entertainment. Homecoming debuted at Smale Park this April (with MusicNOW held simultaneously in various venues around Downtown) with artists like Father John Misty, Future Islands, The Breeders, Lord Huron, Moses Sumney, Feist and Alvvays. The National headlined both nights, playing two different sets for their Saturday and Sunday appearances.
The event drew thousands of music fans and international press attention. Just last weekend at the 2018 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards, Dessner and The National were honored with the Music Ambassador CEA (with drummer Bryan Devendorf graciously accepting the award via video) for their work bringing interesting music and events to their hometown.
When we talked with Dessner before this year's festival, he indicated that the first Homecoming was a test run and that there was a chance it could return.
"We're trying it this year and we'll see how it goes," he said.