Bunbury Music Festival: Here is what's new, what's the same and what to know

Posted at 12:27 PM, Jun 01, 2016
and last updated 2017-05-26 17:06:29-04

CINCINNATI -- PromoWest Productions promises a much smoother experience for its second year of staging the Bunbury Music Festival, which runs Friday through Sunday at Sawyer Point and Yeatman's Cove.

PromoWest marketing director Marissa Luther said the company has added more water stations and entrances to address complaints from last year. The festival also is going "cashless" to avoid the ATM problems that many people experienced last year. 

Bunbury Music Festival

Gates open 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday; 2 p.m. Sunday
Sawyer Point and Yeatman's Cove
Only single-day tickets remain: $89 at
Information at

What's New?

A cashless and ticketless festival: This year Bunbury is going paperless and instead using radio frequency identification (RFID) wristbands, which will serve as both wallets and tickets for the event.

Festivalgoers must register their individual wristbands at; then they will be able to load money to an account that links to the wristband. Vendors will scan wristbands to withdraw money for purchases at the festival. Vendors will not accept cash and credit cards on site.

Watch this video to see how to use your wristband:


People can add credits to their accounts at five "top-off" stations at the festival or via the Bunbury Music Festival app on their smartphone. Two stations will be located near the Sawyer Point entrance, one near the Purple People Bridge and the fifth near the Yeatman's Cove/U.S. Bank Arena entrance. There are some ATMs for people using the top-off stations.

The RFID wristbands also will be scanned at festival entrances to gain access to the event, so no paper ticket is necessary. (Note: Don't put on your wristband until the day of the festival; it locks instantly.)

Organizers began mailing festival wristbands purchased before May 23 to attendees in early May. Passes purchased after May 23 will be available for pick-up at a will-call booth near the Sawyer Point entrance at the corner of Pete Rose Way and Eggleston Avenue.

No more ATMs: The RFID wristbands mean there will be no ATMs at the venue. (Last year, cell signals that powered the machines were so overloaded few people could make withdrawals.)

Entrances: PromoWest is expanding the main entrance point into Yeatman’s Cove near U.S. Bank Arena. Gates will extend under the Taylor-Southgate Bridge and into the accompanying parking lot. There also will be an entrance near Sawyer Point off of Pete Rose Way. Organizers believe these changes, coupled with the RFID wristbands, should shorten the wait time to enter Bunbury.

Stages: Organizers have reduced the number of stages from four to three. This year organizers converted the PNC bandshell on the Sawyer Point lawn into VIP seating. The two main stages at Yeatman's Cove and Sawyer Point remain, with a smaller river stage along the Serpentine Wall.

More water: Bring a water bottle. Luther said PromoWest is setting up an additional free water station this year to address complaints that there were not enough last year. That brings the total to three -- one across the lawn north of the river stage, another just past the Craft Beer Village and a third near the I-471 bridge just past the Sawyer Point stage. (Remember: Festivalgoers can bring in one sealed 20-ounce bottle of water, empty plastic bottles and CamelBaks.) 

What's the Same?

Cell coverage: The lack of ATMs might help lessen the strain on cell networks on the river, but probably not much during peak hours. There was no real way to boost coverage in the parks, Luther said.

Leinenkugel's Craft Beer Village: It will be located in the same place near the statue of Cincinnatus just east of the Purple People Bridge.

Here is the full list of beers that will be for sale at the village:

• Leinenkugel’s: Summer Shandy; Biergarten Grapefruit Shandy/ IPL
• Blank Slate: Out and About and Lesser Path
• Peroni Nastro Azzurro and Pilsner Urquell
• Crispin: Original and Pear
• West 6th: Amber and Lemongrass Wheat
• Braxton: Storm and Crank Shaft
• Blue Moon: White; White IPA and Table Pilsner
• Henry’s: Orange and Ginger

Miller Lite and Coors will be sold throughout the festival as well.

Food Vendors: There will be 22 food vendors on hand. Eateries include:

  • Maui Wowi
  • Chicken Mac
  • Wicked Hickory
  • Mikey’s Late Night Slice
  • Micky’s Cheesesicles
  • Revolution Rotisserie
  • Hungry Bros. Food Truck
  • Fronana
  • Eli’s BBQ
  • streetpops
  • Tweedles Donuts
  • Gold Star Chili
  • Bones Brothers Wings
  • Pollo
  • Packhouse Meats
  • Grand Central Deli
  • Che´ Empanadas
  • Midway Cafe
  • Island Noodles
  • Tom+Chee
  • Mazunte Taqueria
  • Montgomery Inn

Tips for Enjoying Bunbury

Load cash on RFID wristbands beforehand: Luther recommended people load plenty of money via credit card onto their RFID wristband accounts in advance of arriving at the festival. She said festivalgoers should estimate high on how much they will spend; that will eliminate their need to wait in line to use the reload stations or to use the Bunbury smartphone app on a potentially strained cell network. The on-site stations will accept cash deposits, too. If a person doesn't spend all the money in their account, though, credit card users will receive reimbursement quicker than those who made cash deposits; they will have to wait for a check in the mail.)

Show up early: Even with expanded entry points, it is still worth arriving earlier than planned. Gates open at 1 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

Map out your day: Use the music schedule Bunbury released in advance to plan which acts you absolutely have to see.Check the full schedule here. A few scheduling updates: Tears for Fears has canceled its appearance, and there is no plan to replace the band's 9 p.m. performance Sunday at the Sawyer Point stage. Also,MC Ren and DJ Yella will perform with Ice Cube.

Watch the weather: Dress accordingly. Wear sunblock and bring bug spray. You might also want to pack a poncho in case of rain; umbrellas are prohibited.

Plant a flag: OK, not really, but plan times and meet-up spots with friends, in case your group gets separated or wants to see different performances.

Reserve parking: Parking spots can be reserved through Parking Panda.

Rent a locker: If you're planning to stay the full day at Bunbury, it might be wise to rent a locker once you go through the entrance gate. Bonus: Each locker doubles as a cellphone charging station.

What Can You Bring?

One sealed 20-ounce bottle of water and empty plastic bottles and CamelBaks are allowed. Empty plastic bottles and CamelBaks can be filled up at the free water stations.

What Can't You Bring?

  • Weapons of any kind
  • Illegal substances (including narcotics) or drug paraphernalia
  • Aerosol (spray) sun screen or aerosol can of any kind
  • Framed or large backpacks, oversized bags
  • Selfie sticks, monopods, tripods
  • Long lens or detachable lens cameras
  • Chairs
  • Alcohol
  • Glass containers
  • Food or beverages
  • Coolers
  • Skateboards, inline skates, bicycles, carts, Segways, scooters or personal motorized vehicles
  • Large chain or spiked jewelry or clothing
  • Hula hoops
  • Musical instruments
  • Inflatables
  • Stickers
  • Flyers
  • CDs
  • Fireworks or explosives
  • Laser pointers
  • Umbrellas
  • Tents
  • Pets (except for service dogs)
  • Video equipment
  • Drones
  • Professional still cameras and equipment
  • Audio recording equipment