North, South, East, and West: Weekend Road Trips for Music Lovers

by / May. 25, 2016 3am EST

It’s road trip season. Whether you’re looking to head north, south, east, or west on a weekend road trip this summer, we’ve got you covered. Each of these destinations are two to five hours away and come with a concert or festival destination and a handful of fun or tasty places to stop along the way.

 Head West  May 28-30
to Detroit for Movement Festival 

Detroit’s annual electronic music festival, Movement Festival is consistently ranked among the top music festivals in the country and it’s only five hours away. Held in Detroit’s Hart Plaza in the center of the city (and seemingly built precisely for this festival) the festival is a celebration of electronic music—specifically techno, which was born in Detroit. Artists and fans from all over the world flock to this festival, which is considered one of the essential electronic music festivals in the world. With a handful of stages, the highlights are plenty. This year, Kraftwerk headlines the main stage with their 3D concert experience, while acts like Four Tet, Caribou, Boys Noize, Big Freedia, Carl Craig, and many of techno’s originators and big shots take side stages. A good chunk of the line up is also made up of hometown Detroiters. Afterparties are numerous and excellent, and official pre parties happen across the country, from Chicago, to Atlanta, Philly, and even, for the first time this year, here in Buffalo. 

If you haven’t booked a hotel room, you might be out of luck, but chances are tickets are still available and chances are one of your friends from Buffalo has some lodging booked already and would love to split the bill.

There are two possible routes from Buffalo to Detroit; the quick route and the scenic route. The quick route will take you through Canada and customs and take a little over four hours. The scenic route scoops through Ohio and takes about an hour longer.

 On your way to Detroit stop here: 

 London Ontario’s Victoria Park 
580 Clarence St, London, ON /

If you’re cutting through Canada and need to stretch your legs, stop in London, Ontario’s Victoria park. It’s a great place to take a stroll and you’ll get to take a look at a WWII tank and feed the black squirrels that inhabit the park.

 Motor Burger in Windsor, Ontario 
888 Erie St E, Windsor, ON /

If you’re hungry and want to stop for a bite to eat and take advantage of that Canadian dollar, stop at Motor Burger in Windsor, Ontario just before you re-enter the States. If you want to get fancy, try the Peanut Butter Prochetta Motor Classic—burger, spicy pancetta, and organic peanut butter.

 Lemko Hall, The Birthplace of Superman, and the Flat Iron Cafe 
Various locations, Cleveland, OH

For those who decide to take the scenic route, there are a few places in and around Cleveland that at least merit that you slow down your car and snap a photo. Some spots include Lemko Hall, location of the wedding reception scene in the 1978 film The Deer Hunter; the “birthplace of Superman” home of Superman creator Jerry Siegal; and the Flat Iron Cafe, which is not only a spot for cheap eats, but also an architectural treasure.

 Head East  June 8
to Canandaigua to see CHVRCHES and Death Cab For Cutie

Interview by Vanessa Oswald

Chvrches have stepped into the limelight again with their latest record Every Open Eye. The band, comprised of Lauren Mayberry (vocals, synths), Iain Cook (guitar, bass) and Martin Doherty (synths, vocals), brushed off any dread when it came to putting out what many bands claim to be the “dreaded” sophomore album. Instead they returned to Glasgow, Scotland to record in Cook’s basement studio, and came out of it with a cohesive album and a much more unified tribe. The band began touring behind the album last August and now continues to make the rounds, gearing up to play several festival appearances, like U.K.’s Radio 1’s Big Weekend and NYC’s Governors Ball. Luckily, they will also make a pit stop at CMAC in Canandaigua on Wednesday, June 8 at 7pm, sharing the stage with Death Cab for Cutie. This week we spoke with Mayberry on the culmination of the band’s newest record, Prince and some of her current favorite bands.

What first inspired you to get into music when you were young?
I think for all three of us we started playing when we were quite young. I started playing piano because my mom played piano and then when I was a teenager I started playing drums. I guess it just seemed natural for all of us to join bands and figure that out. I met Iain in 2011 when we recorded an EP of my old band. Then he had mentioned he was starting a separate project with a friend of his and asked if I would do some back vocals and that’s how I met Martin and how we started the band.

What was the process like creating Every Open Eye?
We made the first and second record in the same place in the flat studio in Glasgow and we were lucky we had more options where we could’ve made the second record, but it seems like it just made sense for us to remove ourselves from the rest of the industry and just go back to where we felt comfortable. We started writing in January 2015 and finished recording in June and we did it all in that basement in Glasgow.

Every Open Eye seems to be a very transformative record and contain very personal experiences. Do you ever feel hesitant to tap into your personal life and share it with the world through your songs? Or do you find it to be beneficial and therapeutic?
I guess for me I’ve always written from a personal place. I think for me that part isn’t relevant really because the part I want people to be connected to is what we’re writing, recording and what we’ll be playing night after night. I don’t think that we’re the kind of musicians who could just play something that doesn’t mean anything to them. I think that the great thing for me about lyrics is that people can take away what they want, so the songs that I love of other artists are the lyrics that I find deeply personal and they have nothing to do with me and I really like the ability to do that.

I’ve read in past interviews that Prince is one of your big influences and that you’ve been performing a cover of his song “I Would Die 4 U.” How did you react when you found out he had passed away?
It was obviously very sad, but I feel like a lot of great artists have passed away in 2016. I feel like Prince was such a unique voice and an individual artist and you can’t really say that about a lot of people. I feel like the music industry will be worse off without him.

Which other artists have deeply influenced you lately or in general?
I think in terms of the sound of Chvrches we all share a love of stuff like Depeche Mode, the Cocteau Twins and the Cure. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Wolf Alice and the band Alvvays. We’ve played with both those bands and it’s always just great to support bands you love as well. Makes the whole process a lot more fun.

I read that you have a master’s in journalism and also studied law. What made you want to pursue journalism?
It was like a kind of multimedia master’s thing, so I kind of did that because I wanted to get into documentary film stuff. When we started Chvrches I was working as a production assistant for a film and TV company. I guess people always ask how that’s related to being in a band and I don’t think it is necessarily, but I think it was an understanding of media that we might not otherwise had.

You’ve obviously been very outspoken about women’s rights and feminism. What would you say is the biggest problem facing women today?
There are a lot of issues. I guess the only thing people can really do is try to be more aware of those things and make changes in the small part of the world that they live in and just try and be aware of the struggles other women face as well.

Can you tell me a little bit about your grassroots feminist collective?
It’s a thing called TYCI and I started it with some friends in Glasgow. We have a podcast, events, and run a blog. The whole thing is to shed light on great female artists that are working within the industry.

 On your way to Canandaigua stop here: 

 Indian Falls Log Cabin Restaurant 
1227 Gilmore Rd, Corfu, NY /

Have lunch at the Indian Falls Restaurant in Indian Falls just passed Akron. This restaurant sits at the top of Indian Falls where the Tonawanda Creek flows over and features a large outdoor patio. So to recap: log cabin, waterfall, outdoor dining. What’s not to love?

 Twisted Rail Brewing Company 
169 Lakeshore Dr, Canandaigua, NY /

Just this week Twisted Rail Brewing Company  opened a new location in Canandaigua, not far from the Cmac Performing Arts Center. This state-of-the-art brewery sits along the Finger Lakes Beer Trail and is a great place to learn a little bit about your favorite beverage. Sample away.

 Head North  June 13-19
to Toronto for NXNE Festival 

Our neighbors to the North (er, North West) have a lot going on. Toronto has become a major music festival destination and this year is no different. Highlights include the Way Home Festival, which features LCD Soundsystem, Arcade Fire, and The Killers, and Bestival, which feature Tame Impala, the Cure, and Jamie xx. But Toronto’s NXNE festival—their answer to Austin’s SXSW festival—is the most unique. Where Way Home and Bestival take place in one place over one weekend, NXNE takes place all over the city of Toronto over the course of six days.

The festival has gained more notoriety over the years as it’s grown from a local “discovery” festival into a headliner-heavy destination event. This year features headliners like L.A. rapper Schoolboy Q, folk rock star Father John Misty, emerging jazzist Kamasi Washington, and Wu Tang Clan’s Ghostface Killah.

The drive is around two hours if traffic is reasonable, but if you’re leaving early morning or the day before the festival, here are a few great places to stop along the way.

 On your way to Toronto stop here: 

 Dillon’s Distillers 
4833 Tufford Rd, Lincon, ON /

Not far from St. Catharines sits Dillon’s Distillers, crafters of small batch liquors from rye whiskey, to vodka, and gin. We recommend the vapor-distilled absinthe, made with homegrown wormwood, however. It’s strong.

 Cascades and Waterfalls of Hamilton 
Hamilton, ON /

About an hour from Buffalo is Hamilton, Ontario which sits along the Niagara Escarpment. Thousands of years of slow erosion have created a landscape marked by more than 100 waterfalls, which are explorable by way of a series of trails.

 Tremendous Chinese Restaurant 
3550 Wolfedale Rd, Mississauga, ON /

A great spot to stop on your way to Toronto for a quick lunch or if you end up making a late night drive back to Buffalo, the Tremendous Chinese Restaurant in Mississauga has all the dim sum you can eat. Try everything.

 Head South  June 6
to Pittsburgh to catch M83 at Stage AE 

Pittsburgh’s Stage AE is the equivalent of Buffalo’s Artpark or Canalside. It’s a beautiful outdoor stage which features a stacked line-up of well-known bands. There’s even some overlap as far as the acts that are booked. Of course there are a bunch of acts playing Stage AE that you won’t be able to catch in Buffalo this year including Haim, Alice Cooper, Macklemore, A$AP Ferg, Slayer, Modest Mouse, Brand New, and M83, who recently released a summer-jam record, Junk, full of yacht-rock grooves and disco throwbacks. His theatrical live show is a must-see and this is about as close to Buffalo as the trending musician will come this summer. It’s easy to forget that Pittsburgh is just over three hours away and with all of these concert choices, a road trip to the Steel City might be in order.

 On your way to Pittsburgh stop here: 

 Primanti Bros. 
Various locations in PA /

Everyone who has ever had a sandwich knows of the legendary Primanti Bros. Famous for their mile-high stacked sandwiches—usually pastrami or corned beef with a mound of coleslaw and a pile of french fries plopped on top—there are 17 locations south of Buffalo so you’re bound to find one along the way.

 Andy Warhol Museum 
117 Sandusky St, Pittsburgh, PA /

The most comprehensive collection of Andy Warhol artwork in the world sits in the Andy Warhol Museum in the artist’s hometown of Pittsburgh. Catch the right exhibit and you may view artwork that’s never been shown anywhere else before.

 The Duquesne Incline 
1197 W Carson St, Pittsburgh, PA /

Here is a scary thought: the Duquesne Incline, a cable car system that takes passengers up to the top of Pittsburgh’s Mt. Washington was built in 1887. If that doesn’t scare you off, be sure to take a ride on these old-fashioned wooden cable cars. The ride is fun and the view is worth the cost of admission, but there is also a museum of Pittsburgh history near the top.