Preview: Nelsonville Music Festival Arrives this Weekend, Here’s What to Know

By Grace Koennecke, Columns Editor

[Image courtesy of Nelsonville Music Festival]

This weekend, Nelsonville Music Festival (NMF) is back for its 16th year, presented by Stuart’s Opera House, a non-profit historic theater and performing arts center in Nelsonville, Ohio. In the past, Billboard has said the festival is “one of the best-kept secrets of the U.S. music festival circuit.”

The AV Club and Ohio Magazine have also named NMF as the “Best Music Festival in Ohio” and Time Out Chicago has called it “one of the Midwest’s best festivals.”

Set in the gorgeous hills of southeastern Ohio in a new location, Snow Fork Event Center, the festival has an impressive list of past performers, including Death Cab for Cutie, Mavis Staples, Tyler Childers, John Prine, Alvvays, Wilco and Willie Nelson. This year, the musical itinerary is just as noteworthy.

On Friday, Ohio University students and Athens locals can catch arguably one of the most anticipated acts, Grammy-nominated alternative band Japanese Breakfast, who announced their headlining spot for the festival in April at Ohio University’s annual Music Summit. The band will perform alongside other artists such as Town Mountain and Michael Hurley, who has played at the festival every year since 2008 according to a Nelsonville Music Festival Instagram post. Hurley even references NMF in his 2021 album The Time of the Foxgloves.

The following day, music fans can also see live performances from indie-rock band Yo La Tengo and country singer-songwriter Lucinda Williams. Additionally, the day will consist of a wide array of talent from Mdou Moctar and Nubya Garcia to La Luz and even past Lobsterfest performer Adia Victoria.

Sunday, the last day of NMF, attendees will see indie-folk artists Angel Olsen and Neko Case take the stage. An array of other artists will close out the weekend with performances from musicians including Madi Diaz, S.G. Goodman and Danielle Ponder.

NMF will also be welcoming artisan and rental vendors throughout the weekend, featuring many trades such as Appalachian Couture and Logan Schmitt Illustration. For those looking for a bite to eat throughout the weekend, the festival will host a number of food vendors as well. 

Tickets are still on sale for the event, with weekend passes starting at $169.00. Those interested in attending can also buy single-day passes, all currently set at $85.00. 

All proceeds from the festival support not only NMF, but also year-round programming and arts education at Stuart’s Opera House. 
For more information on Nelsonville Music Festival, visit the festival’s website.

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