Concert Reviews

WonderStruck Music Festival 2023 | A WONDERful Time

AC/DC are the masterminds of the hit song “Thunderstruck.” Northeast Ohio firm, Elevation Group, is the mastermind of WonderStruck! The annual music festival, held at Lakeland Community College in Kirtland, OH since its rebranding in 2020, returned on July 8 and 9 for a fun, diverse (albeit confusing at first glance) lineup.

While Elevation Group has sister festivals in Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, and Columbus, as well as the promoter dfor Buzzard/WFARWonderStruck is the OG and the leader of the pack.

The two-day event was packed with good music, food, shopping, and fun. This festival offered something for everyone and was a great family event. Both Saturday and Sunday were filled with incredible performances and exciting amenities that made everyone enjoy the weekend even more.

Fans brave the rain on Day One of Wonderstruck

On day one, fans were greeted by incredibly friendly staff. There was a bit of a slow start to the day, but Adam Paddock kicked things off at 1:30 PM and got fans excited for what was to come. As people were coming in, some were starting to set up camp early, while others immediately rushed to the stage. As I started to mossie around the grounds we noticed the venue was well laid out nicely and easy to navigate. The stages were easy to find and well labeled, and there were also clear maps all around in case it got confusing.

The weather did not cooperate and it did rain heavily a couple times on day one, but this did not stop the adoring fans from continuing to party. Echosmith was one of the bands that got caught in the rain, but they did not let that stop them. They played their new song “Sour”. This was the first time they played it live in front of an audience, which was crazy and exciting. The band briefly talked abodut their new self-titled album, which will be coming out on July 28. Finally the closer, “Cool Kids” was performed as their new, reimagined versio,n which was exactly what fans needed as their stage time came to an end.

Echosmith performing at WonderStruck Festival on 07/08/23

The food and drinks were delicious and, albeit expensive, but that’s to be expected at a festival. The vendor village was full of unique things to buy. Between the hemp hats, shoes made from pineapple leaves, and henna, there was something for everyone to be excited about.

The first day lacked diversity in genre of music. tt was heavy on a coutry sound, but it was perfect for those who came and wanting that.

The Struts servred as a good genre breaker for the first day. Their European Rock sound encouraged everyone to dance. The band was amazingly fun to listen and dance to. It was incredible to watch the encouragement between all the fans in the audience.

There was a slight miscommunication with performance times, and for this reason, Paris Jackson started later than expected. Her incredible voice made us all forget about having to wait a bit. She was breathtaking throughout her whole performance. One could speculate that talent runs in her family.

Fans enjoying WonderStruck 2023

The day finished out with Flo Rida and Walker Hayes and they did not disappoint! All in all, day one was a success!
Sunny skies graced the area throughout day two. Everyone had got into their groove and embraced the festival energy, so there were great vibes throughout the whole day. There seemed to be a way bigger turnout on day two. The Radd Stage was killing it from start to finish. Every performance I caught on that stage blew me away.

On Paper started our day right! They are a younger band with incredible instrumentation. Vendors seemed to do even better on day two.

Geordie Kieffer was an oddball in the best way possible. He brought so much life and craziness to his performance.

The crowd continued to grow as this blue haired ball of chaos jumped around the stage singing “Sushi BBQ”. The free water station wonderstruck provided to refill water bottles was a godsend on this day since it was definitely hotter than the day before. T

There were so many children just having a blast, dancing to the music, enjoying the bouncy houses, and playing all the games provided.

The Beaches performing at WonderStruck in 2023

The Beaches, an all girl group from Toronto, are a a force to be reckoned with. The crowd was a bit sheepish at first, but definitely warmed up and started jamming as the set went on. There was also a shade oasis that provided relief from the sun when it was needed.

Tai Verdes had an incredibly catchy and energetic set. Most fans couldn’t contain their excitement as he came out on stage. There were a lot of teenagers in the crowd since most of his songs are popular on TikTok. For many, it was exciting to hear the entire version live. The music was incredible this day and full of diversity in genres.

Everyone couldn’t wait for COIN to come out and perform. The fans flooded to the Elevation stage to see one of their favorite bands. Their stage setup just added to their incredible set with a huge ladybug next to their name. They lived up to all the excitement.

Fans even had many local bands to blow us away. One big one being The Vindys from Youngstown, OH. They had a truly unique and incredible sound. They played the song “Bugs” which was a huge hit for the audience! The music video for this song was also recently nominated in the Tribeca Film Festival. The Vindys gave us a sense of hometown pride through their whole set.

The Vindys at WonderStruck 2023

Nelly transported fans back to the early 2000s and had eeveryone on their feet dancing. As soon as “Hot In Herre” played he had EVERYONE dancing and screaming as loud as possibl. Nelly finished his set with “Just a Dream” and it definitely fulfilled some dreams of seeing it live.

Once Nelly finished, everyone rushed to get their spot for Khalid. He started promptly and gave one of the most incredible performances. His voice is arguably even better in person and the background dancers were a fun and surprisingly, a nice touch. “Young, Dumb & Broke” started the set with a bang and couldn’t have been a more perfect way to amp up the crowd. Fans were treated to the hits “8Teen,” “Lovely,” “Location,” “Talk,” and that’s just to name a few! He awoke all the feels to everyone in attendace.. Without a doub,t the second day was the perfect end to an exciting weekend.

Throughout the whole weekend, there were incredible bands, fun vendors, good food, and a friendly and exciting atmosphere. The rain on Saturday did not stop the fun, and Sunday’s bright and sunny day was a perfect end. We are already excited to see what next year will bring!

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