Cleveland’s Brite Winter makes a comeback with Saturday’s busy festival (photos)
CLEVELAND, Ohio — Brite Winter returned Saturday night, filling a bustling February day with music, art and community.
Thousands of attendees showed up to the Cleveland Music Festival to see 30 performances and view various art exhibits spread around the festival house on the West Bank Apartments, under the Main Avenue Bridge.
Moises Borges provided upbeat Brazilian jazz in the early afternoon, followed later by the powerful tunes of Taylor Lamborn, with new acoustic-focused material from his forthcoming live album. Crazy8TheGreat rapped about corny subjects while wearing Super Mario sweatpants and a “Dragon Ball Z” vest, and pop-punk band Grumpy Plum performed a high-energy set that included punny jokes and a catchy cover of ” Motion Sickness” by Phoebe Bridgers.
Most of the bands had one thing in common: they were based in Ohio, and mostly in northeast Ohio. There was one exception in the headliner Colony House, Tennessee.
Colony House sounded tight while performing songs like “You Know It,” “Julia,” and “Where I’m From,” but got a little distant when vocalist Caleb Chapman accidentally cracked a half-baked joke on the Super Bowl, confusing the Cincinnati Bengals and Cleveland Browns.
Overall, Colony House’s mouth-watering indie-pop setlist paled in comparison to some of the standout local performances throughout the day.
Cleveland surf-punk band The Rosies put on a perfect punk set, ending with a bass guitar smash on stage and a bubbling mosh pit in the audience. Ravenna rapper Chanelle Kazadi went all out during her show, wearing a t-shirt despite sub-zero temperatures, getting the audience to wave their arms to “Cattywampus” and “Superheroes.” Akron hip-hop duo Free Black showcased the talents of rapper Floco Torres and drummer HR3, in a tight set that included “Surrender”, “Rent Due” and “Black Musicians”.
Alongside the music, several large-scale art exhibits – including a “slot machine” that rewarded players with periodic dance parties, a grotto filled with large handmade crystals, and pyramid-shaped seating areas – entertained attendees throughout the nine-hour event. .
The festival marked a big moment for the Cleveland music scene, after a funky few years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
For many Clevelanders, the 2020 Brite Winter festival marked the last major event they attended before the spread of COVID-19 led to closures. That year, thousands of attendees poured into the festival, filling immersive art tents and covered stage spaces, and congregating outside the festival’s main outdoor stages, just a week and a half before the big gatherings. are prohibited in the State of Ohio. Further closures and regulations followed the following year.
In 2021, Brite Winter’s festival was canceled in favor of virtual shows and limited in-person concerts, trying to keep the spirit of Cleveland tradition alive.
In a way, this year’s festival was a return to basics: a burst of light, after two rather dark years.
Of course, the pandemic isn’t over, but with COVID-19 case rates, hospitalizations and deaths all dropping in recent weeks, the joy of coming together again was in the air at the Flats on Saturday. .
Due to the strain caused by the pandemic, the festival required paid tickets for the first time in its 13-year history. The $5 tickets could be booked in advance or at the festival gates, and they didn’t seem to deter the huge crowds from showing up. Many attendees also upped their spending and bought Brite’s 2022 beanies, donning the orange and blue hats all day.
In the name of safety, the festival still took a few precautions – mainly, moving all of its programming outside, removing its indoor art tents and indoor stages.
Because of that, fire pits became a coveted space on Saturday, especially once the sun went down and temperatures fluctuated into the 20s. Attendees circled each fire, baking s’mores at the above the flames.
During the festival’s “Fire & Ice” attraction, where a bonfire slowly melts a surrounding block of ice, embers periodically splatter the crowd; a woman slapped herself when a hot spot drifted across her cheek.
Nearby bars, while technically not included on the Brite Winter campus, have attracted many festival-goers hoping to warm up. McCarthy’s welcomed music fans and Harbor Inn was packed with attendees sipping beer or waiting to use the restroom.
Outside, patches of ice created slippery areas that attendees had to navigate, including a stretch along the left side of the festival’s Hyland stage and in the parking lot where the food trucks were parked. After all, the cold and icy weather of previous Brite Winters could be expected, but it was nothing the Clevelanders couldn’t handle.
After two years away, Cleveland music fans would no longer take this unique event for granted.
Check out more photos from Brite Winter 2022 in the photo gallery at the top of this article.