Lo, the winter is past. National musicians swing north on their tours, and across Cleveland, music lovers herd into giant outdoor concert barns. It should be a heavenly experience — bask in the evening sun, sip a frothy beer and cheer on your guitar heroes. Then comes the restlessness of the caged animal, the late-night confinement in the Blossom parking lot, and the desire to give up, camp out and escape at dawn. It's a complex equation: How much do you love the band, and how deep are the pains of dealing with the venue? Erick Trickey email@example.com
Parking and Traffic
Blossom Music Center
Warhorses of classic rock rise again (Lynyrd Skynyrd, Steve Miller band, Motley Crue). Strange bedfellows pair up (Kiss and Def Leppard? Sheryl Crow and Rascal Flatts??). The previous generation's stars age gracefully (Dave Matthews Band).
Dismal. Narrow roads, traffic jams, line of red brake lights snaking away into the night. Take the next morning off.
Extraordinarily high for pavilion, semi-affordable for lawn.
The lawn should be great, right? It's miserable. Alcohol plus no assigned seating equals avoid. Long walks from the car to stage, long waits to leave.
Maybe we're getting old, but shell out big for pavilion or skip it.
Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica
The dream of the '90s is alive in the Flats (Alice in Chains, Primus). Some classic rockers would rather play by the river (Ringo Starr, Santana). Indie-rock and electronic for the younger crowd (Arctic Monkeys, Skrillex).
A sea of parking dominates the West Bank of the Flats. Multiple escape routes. You can get a drink at McCarthy's or Harbor Inn while the traffic thins out. Not bad, in comparison.
Pretty high to moderate, depending on the age of the band's fans.
The gently flowing Cuyahoga River behind the band endangers calm, or hand-waving joy when the Nautica Queen or Goodtime III motors by.
Thanks to the risers, it's an intimate experience even if you're in the farthest seats.
Rootsy music (Nickel Creek), '70s singer-songwriter mellow (Arlo Guthrie, Judy Collins) and a Gen X heroine (Tori Amos). Dance troupes. Local acts on a small stage for $5 Fridays. Wait, how did Michael Stanley end up here, not Blossom?
Great if you live in Cleveland Heights and can walk or bike. In other words, there's no parking lot. You'll be circling and circling side streets, longing for a curbside spot.
Fairly high for pavilion, reasonable on the lawn. Local bands dirt-cheap.
As laid-back as the music. A brick and stone work of art built into a creek valley in the '30s. Peaceful family-approved lawn.
Friendly and blissful. How a summer show ought to be.