Summer Fun Guide 2014: Battle of the Bands

Who hosts the best free summer concert series in Northeast Ohio? University Circle, Akron and the Rock Hall face off.

WOW! Wade Oval Wednesdays
Every Wednesday between June 11 and Aug. 27 


Series: Local bands, from bluegrass to rock to reggae, perform in University Circle's Wade Oval. Music: Bands include Mary's Lane and Nick Tolford and Co. Extras: Stay for a free movie on special nights — Frozen July 9 and tentatively Draft Day Aug. 13. Why go: "The experience is multicultural, it's multi-institutional, it's all local," says Chris Ronayne, University Circle Inc. president.

Rock the Lock
Every Friday through Aug. 29


Series: National tribute bands at Akron's Lock 3 play familiar tunes. (Tribute bands are free, while Saturday nights with national acts can cost up to $10.) Music: Bands include Almost Queen, a tribute to Queen, Aug. 15. Extras: Enter a cornhole tournament (for a fee), from June 6 until Aug. 8, for a chance to win $1,000. Why go: "It's very family-friendly,"says Maria Nagel, Lock 3 marketing director.

Summer in the City Concert Series
July 16 and 23, Aug. 13 and 27


Series: Enjoy diverse national and local acts chosen by Lisa Vinciquerra, production manager for Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. Music: College-radio acts perform, such as guitar-wielding blues-rocker Reignwolf July 23. Extras: Concessions, food trucks from local restaurants and alcoholic beverages. Why go: "To be exposed to bands [you] may not have heard of," says Vinciquerra.

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