InCuya 2018: My First Music Festival Was Cleveland's First, Too

Wednesday, August 29, 2018


I've never been a music festival person. The bands I tend to like most aren't usually the kind that appear at festivals, save from, like, Lollapalooza 2004 (what I wouldn't give to see Morrissey....). More importantly, festivals have never much appealed to me because once you get there, you're sort of captive - no leaving, no showing, no comfortable seating, lots of people & lots of sweating... just not my jam, literally & otherwise.

And then came InCuya. For the curious, that's pronounced "in-KYE-ya," like the first half of the word "Cuyahoga," the county where & the river upon which Cleveland is located.

When I heard that Cleveland was getting its own music festival, my interest was piqued, despite my usual reservations. The idea of an at-home festival - one I wouldn't have to shlep to or heavily prepare for - appealed to me, as did InCuya's in-and-out permissions: Once you had a festival wristband, you could come & go as you pleased, meaning attendees could catch some of the bands without having to be there for all of them. 


I hit up both days of InCuya with Mike & our friends Lilly & Darren, who are seasoned festival-goers & music-lovers. We all had different primary interests: Darren was excited for '80s Brit-rockers New Order, who headlined on Saturday night; Lilly most wanted to see high-energy folksters The Avett Brothers, who headlined on Sunday; I just wanted the whole festival experience; & Mike was just along for the ride. 

Unfortunately, we didn't get there in time to see the band I was most excited about J. Roddy Walston and the Business, who played early on Saturday afternoon. K.Flay rocked the stage as we made some booze purchases (frosé for me, the Platform Tourbus pilsner for Mike), grabbed BBQ sandwiches from the VIP section, snagged free samples from event sponsor Vitamix, & explored the grounds a little. I was especially excited to spot the #ThisisCLE sign, which roves the city - & which I've never taken a photo with before!




We had a great time, though we didn't see as many musical acts as I would've liked - in part because, unfortunately, I was suuuuper sweaty (as usual, even though the weather was pretty mild on Saturday), so I made the decision not to do full days.

One of my favorite acts was Robert Finley, who put out his first album at age 63 after he was discovered while performing on the streets of Louisiana.

He released Age Don’t Mean a Thing in the fall of 2016 & a year later released Goin' Platinum an LP with Dan Auerbach of The Black Keys. Let me tell you: He was such a gem, with a truly epic voice & energy level. I look forward to lots of repeat listens to his two albums, hopefully with new ones to come.




We arrived later in the day on Sunday, unfortunately missing Cake but arriving in time for Sza, who I don't know much about, to be honest, aside from the fact that one of my best friends told me repeatedly how jealous she was that I was getting to see one of her favorite artists live. Sza, too, had high energy & a really positive vibe, even if her sound wasn't my favorite.

Mike wasn't feeling great, so he left early, but Lilly & I stuck around for most of The Avett Brothers' set. Damn, those guys have some pipes. Again, I don't know a ton of their music, but I knew I wanted to see them, in part because they're just so talented & unproduced; I knew they'd sound just as good in person as they sound on Spotify. True to form, they didn't disappoint - though it turns out that the one song of theirs I thought I knew is actually by Mumford & Sons. Oops.



Ran into one of my favorite bloggers, Crystal of Eat*Drink*Cleveland


And that's a wrap on Incuya 2018! The festival's organizers - including my Instagram friend, Sunny Nixon, who was running the show - did an incredible job of the event, & from an attendee's point of view, at least, it seemed like everything was in order & very successful. I wish my PBR hasn't cost $10, but I guess that's to be expected at event, right? 

So am I festival person now? 

Let's be honest: Overall, probably not - but I'm already excited for future iterations of Incuya, which is definitely my kind of music festival in my kind of city. This is one festival I can definitely get behind!

Disclaimer: Thanks to InCuya 2018 for providing me with two complimentary tickets to the festival in exchange for my help in promoting and publicizing the event, including hosting an Instagram giveaway. All opinions, as always, are my own - & I paid for that PBR (& all other on-site purchases) with my own cash dollars!

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