Clifton Heights Music Festival 3

Rome Ntukogu- Far I Rome Productions
Shawn Braley
Cincinnati is not a very large city. It’s large enough to have big things happening, but small enough that everyone knows what’s happening. Most of Cincinnati’s festivals that are well known highlight the city for all the awesome qualities it has(especially in the realm of local music) but in recent years have stretched to become more of a national thing than a local thing. Here’s where Rome Ntukogu comes into play.

He was a psychology major in college but he worked at a bar. Once, he followed through with an idea to do an outdoors show and have a lot of local businesses join in and such. “I was running a bar, and we had a huge parking lot. So the owner was like; I think it would be an interesting idea to do something outside.” So it began. What the owner didn’t expect was for Mr. Ntukogu to do all the work himself and it become a huge deal in the city. That experience led the man to fall in love with event planning and producing, which fell perfectly in line with his love of good music and of the city of Cincinnati.

“I was talking to some friends of mine who were frustrated with the Cincinnati music scene. They were trying to think of ways to get more people to give local artists love. So we discussed some kind of festival solely for local artists. I thought it was an interesting idea and I asked where they would like to do it at, and we settled on Clifton. It just felt right. It’s a college town, but that’s all it is. You come here, you go to college, you graduate, then you move away.”

With Rome’s grand ambition, in October of 2009 he started the first Clifton Heights Music Festival. It brought plenty of bands to 5 bars in the Clifton area and had thousands in attendance. So grand is his ambition that he’s been doing it every 6 months since, and this October will be the 3rd edition of the festival with 70 plus bands, street art, and 5 locally owned bars in place.

The event is 21 up except at Baba Budan’s and Roh’s St. Café, it is 18 up with a special pass. The prices are 8 for 1 night and 12 for both. The festival is October 1st and 2nd, and goes from 9 PM to 1:30 AM both nights.

Some bands you should be looking out for at the festival:

The Frankl Project-

Blending ska, reggae, punk and folk with perfect precision, The Frankl Project are one of the most passionate, intellectual, and fulfilling bands to see live in the Cincinnati area. Operation Ivy and Against Me! Would be proud. Every track is a full on collision of chaos and order.

No No Knots-

The No No Knots failed to completely impress me at the last Clifton Heights festival, but they’re gaining momentum and they’re recordings sound more cohesively genius, while their previous appearance at the festival seemed to have too much going on. This will be a crowded set, but worth it.

Michael McIntire and The Marmalade Brigade-

McIntire is a master songwriter. Blues, folk and bluegrass come together to make a perfect Tom Waits-esque sandwich. In a song like “Devil Wears Brown” you can hear the poetry in the lyrics and the musicianship.

Trademark Aaron-

With gems like, “I seen this cutie with a booty that was working in fast food…” you can’t help but smile. Trademark Aaron is the kind of fun music you hear on the radio and don’t generally like…by generally I mean, admittedly to your friends. But you can’t help but sing the song later, and download it, and play it in the secrecy of your own home while you smile and sing along to every silly word.


If you think there is a lack of old school metal in Cincinnati in the vein of AC/DC or Black Sabbath, then you haven’t been paying attention to Banderas. I’m not even into that style of music, but they craft their songs in such a way that once I start a song I want to see what happens next. It’s fun, passionate music that is often lacking in local scenes.

Indigo Wild-

With an almost early Death Cab For Cutie sound, the ethereal and organic sounds emanating from the speakers as Indigo Wild’s songs play and build to their climax only give hope for what may come from seeing them live. With harmonies abound, they also bare resemblance to 60’s folk music like Crosby, Stills and Nash. Hailing from Columbus, this is a band Cincinnatians might not have a lot of opportunities to see, so see them while you can.
The Clifton Heights Music Festival 3
Performance Times:

October 1st
Rohs Street Café:
9:00-9:30 – Indigo Wild
9:45-10:15 – Wade Johnston & The Navigators
10:30-11:00 – Dan Orlando
11:15-12:00 – The Prohibitionists

Baba Budan’s:
9:30-10:15 – Jack Morris
10:30-11:00 – The Marmalade Brigade
11:15-11:45 – The Guild of Calamitous Intent
12:00-12:30 –No No Knots
12:45-1:30 – Cincy Brass

Mac’s Pizza Pub:
9:30-10:15 – Peanut Butter Solution
10:30-11:00 – The Electric Generals
11:15-11:45 – The Shy Spots
12:00-12:30 – Zella Whelms
12:45-1:30 – Eat Sugar

Christy’s Biergarten:
9:00-10:30 – Hip Hop Set w/ DJ Dirty C
Entity, Fenix 6, Trademark Aaron, Vibe-One, MC (Till), Crack Sauce
10:45-11:15 – Bottom Line
11:30- 12:00 – Banderas
12:15-12:45 – Gold Shoes
1:00-1:30 – The Ohms

Murphy’s Pub:
9:30-10:15 – The Prosperity
10:30-11:00 – The Ready Stance
11:15-11:45 – Perfect Norm
12:00 – 12:30 – Josh Eagle & The Harvest City
12:45 – 1:30 – Buckra

October 2nd
Rohs Street Café:
9:00-9:30 – Kelly Fine
9:45-10:15 – Tiyi
10:30-11:00 – The Ridges
11:15-12:00 – The Happy Maladies

Baba Budan’s:
9:00-9:30 – Up Dog
9:45-10:15 – Acarya
10:30-11:00 – SHADOWRAPTR
11:15-11:45 – The Harlequins
12:00-12:30 – Frankl Project
12:45-1:30 – UZI

Mac’s Pizza Pub:
9:30-10:15 – 12 Foot Tall Band
10:30-11:00 – Pharoah Loosey
11:15-11:45 – Chick Pimp
12:00-12:30 – Majestic Man
12:45-1:30 – The Skeetones

Christy’s Biergarten:
9:30-10:00– The Dukes
10:15-10:45 – Worthington Law
11:00-11:30 – Pete Dressman and the 6
11:45-12:15 – Daughters and Sons
12:30-12:45 – The Cliftones
1:15-1:45– The Pinstripes

Murphy’s Pub:
9:30-10:15 – Wist
10:30-11:00 – Shotski
11:15-11:45 – Sparrow Bellows
12:00 – 12:30 – LoudMouth
12:45 – 1:30 – The Best Revenge

Can’t Wait...THNX