Another weekend is on the horizon. And that means another summer festival. Fiction Forest is the brainchild of the dudes in Spirit of the Bear, and is becoming a perennial draw in their hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. Throw any preconceived notions of Youngstown being a terrible place to live out the window; this festival demonstrates they have some serious chops in music taste.
Hats off to the organizers for their curation of this year’s event! They hope to grow it into the premiere indie pop festival of northeast Ohio. Although, make no mistake, each band on the lineup shares a common thread of carrying a groove. What follows is my off the cuff attempt at summarizing the sound of each band playing this year in a sentence or two. Don’t wanna waste anyone’s time, you know? We just want to convince you to attend.
The Lighthouse and the Whaler – They’re the headliner of the event and have a sound in the realm of Local Natives and The Head and the Heart. I forgot how much I liked the song “I Want to Feel Alive”—gosh.
Spirit of the Bear – They’re the hosts and house band. If you don’t know them, why are you here? I kid, I kid. The quartet continues on their quest to bring the funk to the pop music Stans.
Harbour – This Cincinnati pop rock act has all the charm of the Beach Boys yet possess a swagger all their own.
Sam Goodwill – There’s something retro about this rock artist that I can’t quite pinpoint. There’s a lot to unpack with his sound, but that isn’t required for you to enjoy yourself.
The Labra Brothers – The vocals of the lead singer are such that you just want to be friends with this band. Shoot, the easygoing nature of their sound “Colder Weather” in general makes me want to be friends with this band.
East 9th – Their sound is down to earth, yet possesses a certain grit to it. The vocals remind me of Ezra Koenig (of Vampire Weekend fame). They can get dirty with that synth when they want to, though.
No Funk No Justice (Prince Tribute) – Every festival needs a good cover band. No Funk No Justice is that band, and I’m certain that their horn section will put their own twist on their set.
Model Rockets – Remember the band Jet? They’re kinda like that. But less cliche than “Are You Gonna Be My Girl.” They know when to rock out and when to pull back.
Black Wolf and the Thief – This band shares a hometown with our photographer friend Kayla Kreller (@blazingchakrams on Instagram) so they have to be good. Duh.
Diamond Kites – They’re a polished, guitar-driven rock band with catchy hooks and riffs. Is that a vanilla description? Maybe. But there’s a reason vanilla is in most ice cream flavors—it’s good.
Eastwood – Hold on, there’s a Columbus band playing this fest that I haven’t heard of? I better get up to speed! There’s no music online as of yet, but some heavy hitters in Columbus are following them on Instagram, so we’re confident they’re a solid choice.
Very Good Friends – The music for this soulful pop act comes across as authentic, sensual, and layered. You can get emotional or appreciate the technical skill of the musicians… or both!
The venue is new this year. Westside Bowl will host the event which is now completely indoors. Tickets on sale here. Doors are at 2pm.