Resonance Music & Arts Festival 2023

MP3 TAKES: Resonance Music & Arts Festival

Introducing MP3 TAKES, our event review series where we dive deep into the exhilarating world of music festivals and live performances. In a time when countless events grace stages across the globe, how do you navigate through the noise and discover the most captivating experiences? Join us as we embark on a journey to uncover the highlights, backstage stories, and unforgettable moments that make each event unique. MP3 TAKES is your ultimate guide to immersing yourself in the vibrant world of live music. 

Resonance Music & Arts Festival made its final mark in the music festival community over 4th of July weekend with a celebratory gathering in the sultry Midwest. With over a decade under its belt, the festival rounded up a comfortable 3,500 attendees for a beautiful multi-genre event that offered up a colorful palette of festival shenanigans. Here are our MP3 MAG TAKES from the weekend:

Photo courtesy of Rob Tayloe

The Venue Was Top Notch But Lacked Lighting

While Resonance has moved locations throughout its decade-long standing, this year’s location at Nelson Ledges Quarry Park in Garrettsville, Ohio had to be one its best. With a close proximity to nearby cities, it seemed like every state on the Eastern side of the country was well represented. Plus, cliff jumping and floating in the quarry during the day while being able to retreat in the shaded woods and park your car directly in your campsite can’t be beat.

With that said, Resonance is known to be just as much as an arts festival as it is a music festival. Anyone who has attended the festival in previous years would remember vibrantly lit pathways and immersive art galleries to get lost in throughout the evenings. With the size of the woods at Nelson Ledges, you had to ensure to bring a flashlight to even see where you were going, let alone come up with your own precise method to finding your campsite due to a lack of decorations and lighting design. Thankfully, visual artists like Justin Roberts and Stephanie Hylton adorned the venue with beautiful pieces of art to liven up the scenery.

Photo courtesy of Vince Evans

To The Beach Stage Or To The Moon Stage?

Anyone who is a familiar face of Nelson Ledges would assume the one and only stage adjacent to the beach would have been where all the music was taking place for the weekend. However, due to the influx of attendees and by allowing a smoother and spread-out programming schedule, the usual Beach Stage got a run for its money with the addition of a second large stage, the Moon Stage. The placement by the main entrance behind the vendors was perfect, as it allowed spacing between those who wanted to dance to the sets and those looking for a relaxed space over on the beach.

Photo courtesy of Mikala Lugen

A Hazy But Well-Weathered Weekend

All attendees did find themselves in an eerie cloud of hazy smoke. Those fans who may pride themselves on no longer smoking instead found themselves smoking what would seem like a pack of cigarettes a day thanks to the unhealthy levels of “wildfire smoke” in the atmosphere. (Although, let’s just say, it smelled more like chemical residue from Ohio’s unfortunate series of catastrophic events this summer). Nonetheless, the sultry Midwest summer weather prevailed and aside from the hazy glaze for most of the weekend, attendees found themselves dancing throughout a well-weathered weekend with the last day casting mild sprouts of rain.

Photo courtesy of Rob Tayloe

Music For All

Resonance has culminated quite the fanbase throughout the decade due to its impressive curation of music. While we personally thought this year could’ve had a little more electronic music variety, overall it seemed like most music angles were covered. Because the venue has strict noise ordinance regulations, the music concluded each night by no longer than 12:30-1am, leaving attendees to summon their own late-night parties in the woods. And indeed there were plenty of renegade setups throughout the woods for anyone to stumble upon when the early hours of the morning called the dancefloor more than their tents.

After arriving and setting camp on Thursday, Big Something seemed to glisten through all their mighty jams during their sunset set on the Moon Stage, bringing out Scrambled Greg from Pigeons Playing Ping Pong for a groove-centric sit-in. Shortly after, the Beach Stage flooded with those ready to get weird to Desert Dwellers before the full PPPP crew took over the Moon Stage for a grungy psychedelic set that even surprised the most accustomed PPPP fans.

SunSquabi: The Healing Power of Music, Red Rocks

Friday saw the most diversity of the weekend when it came to music. During the day, attendees were able wade in the water to the fast pickin’ tunes of Kitchen Dwellers while The Motet summoned a funky scene in the late afternoon. Once news spread that SunSquabi – one of the few electronic performances of the weekend – was unable to make it to the festival, spirits somewhat dropped. Thankfully, Chicago-based feel-good group Sneezy filled in the shoes and conjured a fun dance party on the beach.

Photo courtesy of Vince Evans

The evening was rounded out with a flashy and “shake-weighted” bass-heavy performance from The Floozies before festival headliners Goose played their first two sets of the weekend. Unless you’ve been living under a rock (no judgement if you do) Goose is the band to see right now in the jam scene. As someone who saw them five years ago when they were playing mid slots at small festivals – including their Resonance debut in 2018 – I was thoroughly impressed to see them now in all of their glory. It seemed to be a full circle moment when the band stepped on stage two additional times over the weekend for a total of four sets, concluding the festival in high spirits.

For those who weren’t ready to make the trek back into the winding woods, Sicard Hollow was a standout performance of the weekend. The psychedelic bluegrass was everything and more to finish out the Friday night.

Saturday saw some hidden sun with periods of rain, but that didn’t stop much of the music from happening. In fact, many fans decided to embrace the wet and humid weather and danced in the mud to some mid-day bluegrass with Keller & The Keels. Pairing that with a frenzied Umphrey’s McGee set at dusk (which included a crazy guy jumping onto the stage and causing some havoc) and two additional Goose sets equipped with Joel and Jake sit-ins from UM, it was a solid conclusion to the Resonance brand.

Photo courtesy of Rob Tayloe

Resonance Forever

Overall, it seemed like at least half of the attendees came purely to help the festival successfully conclude and commemorate a respectable decade within the Midwest music scene. The festival had a closeness to it that many other events don’t quite capture. In its peak years ago, Resonance brought upwards of 13,000 attendees to Legend Valley, allowing for three endless days of artsy partying. By capping the last gathering to only several thousand, a reminiscent glow seemed to radiate among most attendees as they too concluded their own chapter with the independent music festival. All good things must come to an end eventually, and Resonance Music Festival can confidently look back and see how much of an impact the festival had on not only the careers of bands and artists throughout the country, but thousands of live music fans discovering the power and love of music.

Love live Resonance.