Entering its ninth year, Cincinnati’s upcoming Bunbury Music Festival is going to be a doozy. The mixed-genre fest announced its 2020 lineup on Thursday and will offer an eclectic mix of rock, pop, and electronic music. Twenty One Pilots, Marshmello and The Avett Brothers are set to be the three-day festival’s headliners. Supporting acts will include Kane Brown, Melanie Martinez, blackbear, Ski Mask The Slump God, Alec Benjamin, The Struts, Cake, COIN, Betty Who, Neon Trees, iDKHOW and more. According to a festival press release, additional artists are also expected to perform and will be announced later on. Once again, PromoWest Productions will organize the festival.
A version of the 2020 lineup was first leaked to fans early on Thursday morning. Despite the leak, the final lineup was announced later that night, which showed a new design, artist rearrangements and the addition of Nine Inch Nails drummer Ilan Rubin’s band, The New Regime.
Last year’s Bunbury hosted a large mix of alternative rock and hip hop and also spotlighted a handful of local acts. Featured artists included Machine Gun Kelly, Run the Jewels, Fall Out Boy, Stone Temple Pilots and Cincinnati’s own TRIIIBE.
“I feel like healing is its own vibration. Music carries and supports that vibration,” TRIIIBE’s ex-member, Aziza Love, said of the performing experience. “Joining with people we’ve never met before in that same space, to invite them to do the same thing, I think is so powerful.”
Bringing in around 50,000 attendees, 2019’s festival was possibly most notable for its ease. While some music events can be derailed by overcrowding or poor organization, Bunbury’s adequate number of food and drink vendors, spacious grounds and multiple stages made for a convenient and easy-going festival experience.
General admission, VIP and Ultimate VIP tickets are currently for sale on the Bunbury website. The festival will return to downtown Cincinnati’s Sawyer Point and Yeatman’s Cove on June 5, 6 and 7. According to the website, the daily performance schedule will be announced soon.
At just 19 years old, soft-spoken Canadian singer Taylor Janzen tackles big emotions in her songwriting, including navigating her own experiences with anxiety and depression. Through her lyrics, Janzen hopes listeners can see their own feelings reflected and reduce the stigma toward mental health.
She recently dropped her sophomore EP, Shouting Matches, which follows up her co-produced debut EP Interpersonal. When Audiofemme caught up with her after a passionate Bunbury Music Festival performance, the self-named “sad song enthusiast” opened up about using music to cope with mental health, her love for Dennis Quaid, and her latest project.
AF: Your sophomore EP Shouting Matches dropped last month, can you tell me a little bit about it?
TJ: Well, it’s my first release with a full band, which is huge for me because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’ve never had the resources to do that. I feel like I’m so picky that if I wanted to do a full band thing, I’d have to do it right, and I got the opportunity to do that and it has been such a cool experience to have the band with me. I like the different textures of having the full band and the EP itself is very personal, lyrically and emotionally charged. I like having a band to support that.
AF: Can you tell me where your inspiration came for the project lyrically?
TJ: All of the songs at some point talk about conflict, whether it’s conflict with yourself or other people or just in general. That’s a huge part of the EP and lyrically I get ideas really randomly. So, for instance, “Dennis Quaid” is a song that I wrote right as I was about to graduate high school, so it was a while ago, and I was super anxious all the time. Like, all the time, and I was like, I just need to yell. So I took my acoustic guitar and went into my basement and just yelled over my guitar and the melody of the chorus just kind of came out my yelling. So that song was designed just for me to be able to yell in the middle of my anxiousness.
AF: Why is addressing mental health in your music important to you?
TJ: I think it’s important because one of the biggest things for me about depression is that I’m feeling things by myself, but when you hear someone else talking about it, it’s kind of like breaking through a wall in your brain, which is nice. It’s nice to feel things with other people. Personally, for me, I write the songs so that I can express myself and find words for things, so it’s kind of like a therapeutic thing for me. I write things to figure out how I feel about them. And then I put them out so that other people can kind of see themselves in it a bit. It’s less about people looking for me in songs and more about people looking for themselves.
AF: As a Canadian artist performing in the US, what are some differences you’ve noticed in the stigma and access to mental healthcare?
TJ: The Canadian mental health system is still pretty rough. Unfortunately, mental health is still a bit tricky to get into—long wait periods, sometimes can be a little bit expensive, [and] the free ones are not always great.
AF: What’s something you would like somebody who’s never heard your music to know about you?
TJ: Just like a disclaimer, I’m not sad [laughs]. Sometimes people will hear my music and think, “Oh no!” Like my mom listened and thought that and I was like, “I’m fine.” I think a lot of it speaks for itself, so anybody can head over to it without any context. Another thing, the song “Dennis Quaid” is not about Dennis Quaid. It’s about imposter syndrome anxiety, but I couldn’t figure out a name for it, so I just named it after him [laughing].
AF: But you love him right?
TJ: I do love him, a lot!
AF: Any shows or upcoming music we can look forward to?
TJ: I am playing at my hometown festival. I’m from Winnipeg, I’m playing Winnipeg Folk Fest and I’m very excited because I’ve wanted to since I started playing music. That’s been the goal and now I’m on the lineup, so that’s fun. I’m always recording. I’m always kind of thinking of the next thing, so I’m definitely working, but it’s not very far along yet.
AF: So not this year, but maybe next year?
TJ: Yeah. Stay tuned for a music video for the song “Shouting Matches!”
With three very active members in Cincy’s hip-hop community, TRIIIBE always has a lot going on. Aziza Love recently dropped her solo effort Views From The Cut EP, Siri Imani is gearing up to release her debut solo project Therapy project next month, and as a trio they’ve not only been working on new music, but also developing community outreach projects, and credit Cincinnati for stepping up and following them on their musical and philanthropic journey.
After their Bunbury Music Festival set on June 2, members Siri Imani, PXVCE, and Aziza Love opened up about spreading positivity on stage, their individual and group growth, their next album arriving this fall, details on their youth and homeless outreach programs, and the important of investing in their community.
AF: Your set was awesome, really great energy. Siri, I know you have a solo project coming out soon, can you tell me a little bit about it?
Siri: Yeah, it’s called Therapy. It releases on July 19. It definitely just goes into a journey of my life, not only this year, but just everything I’ve been through.
AF: And since it’s your debut solo, how has that been different from your usual group recording?
Siri: It is different. Not too different, because PXVCE is producing pretty much every beat that’s on the project, so it still has the TRIIIBE feel. It has the same vibe and message, but it’s more personal and it’s more specific. Therapy goes into five points and it’s the five stages of healing from PTSD and it goes into different parts of my life that reflect those different stages, leading into the transition of a healthier life and healing.
AF: At your set today, you had everybody repeat: “I love me.” You said, “You are worthy.” You implement that positivity not only into your music, but also in your stage presence. Why are those messages important to you?
Aziza: I feel like healing is its own vibration. Music carries and supports that vibration when we all come together to speak our truths. I think that, in itself, creates the opportunity for community healing. So our music, not only when we perform live, but when we’re in the studio among ourselves performing, we open that space for clear communication and raw expression and that, in itself, can be a release, which supports a healthier state of mind, spirit, and being. So joining with people we’ve never met before in that same space, to invite them to do the same thing, I think is really powerful.
PXVCE: It’s a healing process. It’s a transfer of energy. We are able to get to know the audience [and] the audience is able to get to know us, in a very small amount of time, and it’s a lot of our first impressions for a lot of people, so in order for us to relay our message I think it’s powerful to have it received so easily. Words are very powerful; vibrations are very powerful. With us saying, ‘We love you, we love ourselves,’ I think it is very healing.
AF: Siri, you’ve got a solo project coming out. Aziza, you just released your Views From The Cut EP. Is TRIIIBE recording anything together at the moment?
Siri: Oh yeah. Our last album came out on 10/10, our next album comes out 10/10.
PXVCE: We’re about to make it like a ceremonial thing.
AF: What stage is the project in?
Aziza: We’re in a transformative stage because it’s a mixture of writing, recording, reconnecting. We’re setting our focus to our philanthropic side and all that we do. Especially seeing all what’s been happening in Dayton right now, reconfiguring in general with one how we’re operating in Cincinnati and how we’re operating elsewhere and how we can help on a more grand scale. We’re in a transformative state in our music because it reflects our work in the community as well.
Siri: It reflects the project. III Am What III Am was last year. That was us literally showing who we were. III Am What III Wanna Be is showing what we want to be, that’s musically, physically, in reality and all. It’s all a process and we’re playing with different styles. We all bring different things to the table and us figuring out how to leverage that is the key toward III Am What III Wanna Be.
AF: What philanthropic projects are you currently working on?
Siri: Potluck For The People is for people experiencing displacement, homelessness, and that’s every final Sunday from 12 to 5 [p.m.] and Raising The Barz is every first and third Thursday at the public library. That is an Intro To Hip Hop class for the youth, we’ve got as young as 6-year-olds and as old as 30. We invite local artists and local students to help themselves get better with hip hop or any craft they want to work with.
AF: Most Cincinnati artists I’ve spoken with credit you to bringing togetherness and acceptance in the hip hop scene here.
Aziza: That’s so beautiful.
AF: Do you guys feel a little bit of pressure with that recognition or has this just been your natural progression?
Siri: We curate spaces, but we can curate a space and nobody shows up. The people genuinely wanted to connect and taking the time to do it makes this work. Without anybody supporting, we’d just be three people trying to do something. This is something that the city wants and the city made it happen and it’s not just the credit to us, it’s never just the credit to us. That’s the whole point of TRIIIBE, it’s understanding that we are doing this. It’s one big machine and without any of us playing our part it wouldn’t work out.
PXVCE: When you look at Atlanta or Chicago, who have huge underground scenes, many people can become catalysts for some of those movements, but to take the credit completely, it just doesn’t make sense because if not everyone is participating then you can’t even say that.
AF: It’s a give and take.
Aziza: It’s a unified decision to make change.
Siri: I’m definitely proud to be one of the holders of the idea… but the city and the people are the catalysts of it.
Aziza: We’re not the first. And we’re not the last.
TRIIIBE‘s Siri Imani called out Cincinnati gentrification in her new “513” she-mix of Drake and BlocBoy JB’s 2018 hit, “Look Alive.” The addictive beat of the track puts it on instant replay as Siri brings light to the inequality and displacement currently affecting those in Cincinnati’s downtown Over-The-Rhine area.
TRIIIBE is no stranger to spotlighting – and helping to fix – societal challenges in their city.
“I haven’t lived in OTR my whole life; however, I’ve always went to school there and have countless friends and family,” says Imani. “Gentrification has shaped a lot of the community that was once inhabited by generations of families that grew up there.”
In the past decade, herds of new businesses have moved into the downtown area, providing retail and local eateries, but skyrocketing rental prices and chipping away at long-grown culture. Imani and her two TRIIIBE counterparts often dedicate their art to opening an honest dialogue within their community, and Imani doesn’t plan to stop with “513.”
“Music is universal and to me. It’s a more efficient way of getting my messages out,” she says. “We listen to, and memorize, songs better than we do the words actually spoken to us. Music resonates and evokes feelings on a level that can be hard to match verbally.”
As for remixing such a repeatable hit, Imani did that deliberately, too.
“All of the she-mixes use well known, male-dominated songs,” she says. “‘Look Alive’ was big last year and I needed something people could easily compare lyrics to.”
The Cincinnati songstress is currently working on her debut solo EP, Therapy, set to drop July 19. She, along with TRIIIBE, will also be performing at Bunbury Music Festival on Sunday, June 2.
In a huge party thrown at The Woodward Theater on Thursday night, the eighth annual Bunbury Music Festival lineup was revealed. The festival, which takes place May 31- June 2 in Cincinnati, has hosted artists such as Post Malone, Tom Petty, Ice Cube, The Chainsmokers and more on their two main stages. This year’s lineup boasts artists such as Fall Out Boy, Greta Van Fleet, The 1975, Girl Talk, Run The Jewels, Machine Gun Kelly, NF and several others.
Over 250 people gathered at The Woodward for the unveiling and the reveal was met with applause. The crowd, enjoying beer and food truck pizza, were also able to buy their Bunbury tickets at a discounted price and take photos in front of a logo wall.
The upcoming festival has something for everyone, with the mixture of alternative, rock and hip hop genres that Bunbury is known for. Unfortunately, for the second year in a row, Blink-182 cancelled their Bunbury performance, this time saying it was due to their current album recording schedule. However, fans didn’t seem too upset and the lineup still includes a diverse range of impressive acts.