It was meant to be a small winter get-together with 100 people, a few bands and a keg of beer. But word got out, and more than 600 people packed in a park in the Flats. "We realized this festival had the potential to grow and become something Clevelanders could call their own," says Emily Hornack, who co-founded Brite Winter Festival, which currently draws 20,000 people. Now in its sixth year, the Feb. 21 winter celebration held throughout Ohio City beckons Clevelanders out of hibernation to drink beer, huddle around massive bonfires and listen to 60 bands across nine stages. Braving the elements can be tough, but drummer and percussionist Nicholas Kuhar of returning band the Commonwealth says the experience outweighs rosy cheeks and frozen fingers. "Seeing so many people bundled up in the deep of winter to see you play while the snow falls," he says, "there's nothing quite like it anywhere else."
12:00 AM EST
January 16, 2015