There’s something about camping that transforms a music festival. When the music is over (cue The Doors) the tent villages are abuzz with more music, conversation, and libations as the patrons coalesce into a temporary community built around a common love of live music. Bellwether Music Festival will bring a two stage festival with camping to Southwestern Ohio on August 10-11. Held on the Ohio Renaissance Fair Grounds, Bellwether features some pretty big names for a first year festival, here are our must-see sets for the weekend.

THE FLAMING LIPS

Few bands are as much of a spectacle on stage as The Flaming Lips. Their show is a psychedelic explosion of color, props, costumes, lights and out of this world music. If you’ve managed to make it through the first 25 years of their career without seeing them live, you owe it to yourself.

Recommended If You Like: Yo La Tengo, Pavement, Guided By Voices
Set Time: Saturday Aug. 11 at 9:30 PM on the Sunset Stage

ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN

These days most 80’s music gets lumped together as one genre, but as with any era, there are many varieties. Echo & The Bunnymen have synthy sounds and some of the hallmarks of 80’s production like (lots of reverb and chorus), there’s more to it than that. The swirly guitars and deep, smoky vocals give their post punk new wave sound a darker psychedelic edge that sets them apart from the cookie cutter sounds of the era.

Recommended If You Like: Bauhaus, The Psychadelic Furs, Joy Division
Set Time: Saturday Aug. 11 at 8:15 PM on the Sunrise Stage

DR. DOG

Fuck Dr. Dog. At least that’s what guitarist Scott McMicken told NPR when asked about their new album Critical Equation. The mentality of blowing things up and starting anew is one artists often talk about when releasing new material, but rarely lives up to the hyperbole. While I’m not sure Critical Equation lives up to the hyperbole either, it’s clear that the band has put together a distinctly different album than their pop-psych older material. Critical Equation is a beautifully maudlin collection of songs that fulfills the desire for new Dr. Dog, but explores darker emotional depths.

Recommended If You Like: The Fruit Bats, My Morning Jacket, Generationals
Set Time: Friday Aug. 10 at 7:00 PM on the Sunset Stage

ALLAH-LAS

At SlyVinyl, we’re particularly endeared to the Allah-Las because of their retro vibe and reverb-laden 12-string guitars, but mostly because their origin story sounds like it was pulled straight from Nick Hornby’s seminal novel High Fidelity. Three of the four members met while working at Amoeba Records on Sunset in Los Angeles, where they were influenced by the vintage sounds of their jangle psych predecessors of The Paisley Underground.

Recommended If You Like: Velvet Underground, Thee Oh Sees, Foxygen
Set Time: Saturday Aug. 11 at 5:00 PM on the Sunset Stage

DAWG YAWP

Whenever I write up a preview for a festival I seem to always select at least one band that I have no idea how to do them justice with words (see Khruangbin in Forecastle preview). Dawg Yawp is from my hometown of Cincinnati, OH so I’ve been aware of them for quite some time, but over the past few years they seem to be gaining momentum and national recognition (including an NPR Tiny Desk Concert) and I’m excited for more people to discover them.

Recommended If You Like: Rubber Soul era Beatles, Charlie Parr, Susto
Set Time: Friday Aug. 10 at 3:00 PM on the Sunset Stage

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