At a Glance: 2015 Nelsonville Music Festival

Posted on:

< < Back to

This weekend, thousands of people will converge on the little town of Nelsonville, Ohio, for one of the nation’s best music festivals.

Now in its 11th year, the Nelsonville Music Festival is offering one of its best lineups yet, with headliners The Flaming Lips, St. Vincent, Merle Haggard and Trampled by Turtles joining legends like Mavis Staples and upstarts Hurray for the Riff Raff.

Located on the campus of Hocking College, the festival features four days of music with nearly 60 acts on three stages, plus intimate artist interviews and performances on the Gladden House Sessions.

In addition to the music, the fest has camping, kids’ activities, local artisan vendors, food, a beer garden and more.

2015 Nelsonville Music Festival schedule
Schedule courtesy of

2012 NMF headliner Andrew Bird was succinct in his praise of the Nelsonville Music Festival: “It’s the perfect size festival. Any bigger and you’d lose something.”

Set on the picturesque grounds of Hocking College’s Robbins Crossing, the fest has managed to maintain that intimate feel despite hosting bigger and bigger acts each year (past headliners include Wilco, Willie Nelson and The Avett Brothers).

Much of the event’s charm stems from the two smaller stages: the “Porch” stage, set in a grassy, shady area next to a charming log cabin (and its porch), and the super-intimate “No-Fi” cabin, where musicians play unamplified in a small room that seats around 25.

Keeping the area clean and green has been a major goal for the fest organizers. Over the past few years, the NMF has partnered with Rural Action in an attempt to become a zero-waste festival. Over time, the festival’s system has been refined and improved in its effort to strive for “zero waste,” or a 90% diversion rate. In 2014, that goal was achieved with a 96.5% diversion rate.

The campground opens at 12 p.m. on Thursday, May 28, with the festival gates opening at 5 p.m. on Thursday and 9 a.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Tickets ordered in advance may be picked up at the Admissions Tent at the Main Festival Entrance with a photo I.D.

Weekend passes for all four days are on sale now for $140 (plus fees). Single day tickets are: $45 (plus fees) on Thursday; $80 (plus fees) on Friday; $70 (plus fees) on Saturday); and $60 (plus fees) on Sunday.

Thanks to an anonymous sponsor, festival organizers are able to offer a “two for one” deal on Sunday. As of May 26, each person who purchases a Sunday-only ticket will receive a free additional ticket. Both ticket holders must arrive at the gate at the same time. VIP weekend passes and camping are also available.

The Nelsonville Music Festival is a production of Stuart’s Opera House, a historic non-profit theater located in Nelsonville that features more than 75 events a year, including live music, theater, films, educational programming and more. Visit for more information.