GARRETSVILLE, Ohio - Some music festivals have great bands. Others have a great venue. Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in Northeast Ohio has it all.
Outdoor music festival season is in full swing at the Quarry, located near Garretsville, Ohio on wooded acres of private property adjacent to Nelson-Kennedy Ledges State Park. Spring has arrived, the weather is getting warmer, and yet another series of outstanding musical weekend getaways at NLQP are in store for 2011.
Two major festivals in April - the Early Bird festival and Blossom Blast - have already attracted thousands of music fans suffering from cabin fever. Many more weekend celebrations are right around the corner.
Rusted Root rocked Nelson Ledges Quarry Park last year and is scheduled to return for Grateful Fest during the July 4 holiday weekend.
A festival goer's dream, Nelson Ledges Quarry Park offers a main stage for live musical entertainment directly off a sandy beach around a lake that years ago was a rock quarry. The park is a popular camping and swimming destination during the late spring and summer months, regardless of whether or not a music festival is happening there.
Camping at the NLQP venue is like no other site for music festivals in the region. The park offers a seemingly endless stretch of prime, shaded camping areas in the woods surrounding the lake. The cozy and picturesque setting attracts loyal patrons to the park from near and far for the camping and outdoor recreational activities alone.
One of the most family-friendly music festival venues around, NLQP also has a kids play area, quiet camping areas and a sandy beach patrolled by certified lifeguards during swimming season.
So far, events scheduled to take place this season at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park include:
* Mayflowers Springdance Festival, May 20-22, featuring two nights of The Werks, Ella Riot, UV Hippo, Boogie Matrix Mechanism, Elemental Groove Theory, Roots Collider, Sultans of Bing, Broccoli Samurai and more.
* Jones for Revival, May 28
* Sublime Summer Kickoff, June 3-5, with Sublime tribute band Badfish and Scotty Don't, Dave Mathews tribute band Trippin Billies, The Movement, Steve Sweney and The Spikedrivers, Champion Bubblers, Tropidelic and more.
* Floyd-Zeppelin Classic Fest, June 10-12, featuring Pink Floyd tribute band Several Species, Led Zeppelin tribute band Kashmir, plus tribute bands Limelight (Rush), Brittbeat (The Beatles), Going For The One (Yes), Arrival (Journey), Ball 'n Chain (Janis Joplin), Ragged Glory (Neil Young), Whipping Post (Allman Brothers Band) and more.
* Grateful Fest 12, July 1-4, three nights of Grateful Dead tribute band Dark Star Orchestra, plus Keller Williams, Rusted Root, Jerry Garcia Band, Railroad Earth, Boombox, New Riders of the Purple Sage, David Gans, Donna Jean Band, Katz-n-Jammers, The Spikedrivers and many more.
* Summer Hookah weekend, July 22-24, featuring ekoostik hookah and many more bands to be announced.
* Shamy Bash, July 28-31, featuring Buckethead, The Werks, Rumpke Mountain Boys, Freekbot, Macpodz, Mike Perkins, Boogie Matrix Mechanism, Smilin' Joe, Jones for Revival, Romeo Champagne, Tropidelic and more.
Many more weekend festivals - including the Midwest Reggae Fest, Summerdance, Waterfest, Lazy Daisy Fest and others will be announced in the near future.
Music festivals at NLQP are scheduled every year from April through October. The festivals offer different musical themes for fans of a wide array of tastes, from shows for classic rock fans, jam band enthusiasts, Deadheads, reggae fans, electronic dance music ravers and more. The festivals showcase a variety of musical artists, from local bands to regional and national acts, with an occasional Rock'n'Roll Hall of Famer or hippie icon like Wavy Gravy or Tommy Chong thrown in for good measure.
In addition to the array of musical acts on the bill at each festival, other attractions are also included during the events. Fire spinning troupe the Ohio Burn Unit is often on hand to entertain crowds on the beach at night following many of the shows. There are also comedians, skydivers, entertainment for children, a springtime "polar bear" jump into the lake, and other activities thrown in the mix. Unique food and merchandise vendors - which themselves have become popular attractions - are also on hand.
During the big Fourth of July celebration, there are fireworks and performances by stunt man "Burning Ted," who in 2005 at the park broke a world record for being on fire for the longest period of time.
NLQP's annual season-closing Halloween celebration Gory at the Quarry brings music, pumpkin decorating and costume contests, haunted campsites and more spooktacular fun in the holiday spirit.
For information on shows and other events at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park, visit www.nlqp.com.
Ayres can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.