Billboard has called Nelsonville Music Festival “one of the best-kept secrets of the U.S. music festival circuit,” and NMF continues to gain fans who want a music festival with a more personal experience. Set in the beautiful rolling hills of Southeast Ohio, this intimate festival offers live music from a variety of genres on multiple stages from national, regional, and local acts.

The Nelsonville Music Festival strives to have a positive impact on our community and environment, so we are a Zero Waste event, diverting over 92% of the waste created at the festival from the landfill with recycling and composting. All kids 12 and under are free and the festival features a huge kids area with activities all weekend. And in support of our immediate neighbors, festival admission is FREE to Nelsonville and Buchtel, Ohio residents.

The AV Club and Ohio Magazine have named NMF as the “Best Music Festival in Ohio,” and Time Out Chicago has called it “one of the Midwest’s best festivals.” Past performers have included Death Cab for Cutie, Mavis Staples, Tyler Childers, The Breeders, Wilco, The Flaming Lips, Willie Nelson, George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, Ween, Loretta Lynn, Gillian Welch, John Prine, The Avett Brothers, They Might Be Giants, The Decemberists, Randy Newman, Merle Haggard, Iron & Wine, Yo La Tengo, George Jones, Emmylou Harris, Courtney Barnett, and many more.



Since its inception, the Nelsonville Music Festival has been a production of and fundraiser for Stuart’s Opera House, a non-profit historic theater and performing arts center in Nelsonville, Ohio. Stuart’s Opera House is the cornerstone of the Nelsonville Historic Art District and lovingly restored theatre that first welcomed audiences in 1879 when it was home to classic vaudeville and melodrama shows. Stuart’s now hosts over 75 events every year and is Southeastern Ohio’s favorite place to experience live performance.

All proceeds raised at the festival support not only NMF, but year-round programming at Stuart’s Opera House, including its tuition-free Arts Education programs. Our dynamic and accessible arts programming and educational outreach keep us heavily involved with the underserved population of Nelsonville and surrounding communities through cooperative participation in and preservation of the arts.

Learn more about Stuart’s



The goal of our Arts Education department is to offer affordable, accessible broad-based programming focusing on visual and performing arts to people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds in our region. We are passionate about inspiring, engaging and nurturing our students and audiences, through creative explorations. ​Through cooperative participation in and preservation of the arts, we can activate members of our community to be better listeners, critical thinkers, and positive contributors to our Appalachian community.

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Afterschool Music Program Poetry Out Loud Nelsonville-york Drama Club Audio Production Program Happy Hollow Hootenanny Summer Arts CampPAINT AND POUROpen Mic Night



Arts Education Program Spotlight

Afterschool Music Program (AMP)

Stuart’s Opera House’s Afterschool Music Program (AMP) supports and fosters young people ages 11-21 who are interested in learning how to play a variety of instruments, form bands, and write songs. Students typically focus on the genre(s) of music they personally gravitate toward, such as rock, pop, r&b, folk, hip-hop, country, electronic, or experimental music. Students are provided instruction in guitar, bass, vocals, keyboards, and drums with potential for additional instruments. The program meets September-May and culminates with a performance showcase in the theater at Stuart’s Opera House at the end of the school year, plus a set at the Nelsonville Music Festival during the summer.

AMP provides crucial out-of-school arts enrichment that incorporates musical components with other artistic disciplines. A place for young adults to gain confidence and build skills through music, all levels of musicianship are welcome as students explore all instruments related to the genre(s) of their choosing in a group setting. The program’s goal is to provide an enlivening opportunity to work together as a team, celebrate diversity and creativity with kids by teaching basic music skills, and giving them hands-on experience with all instruments.