5 Best Moments –

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“You can’t sleep on our city,” declared Mayor Aftab Pureval at a press conference at the local Hard Rock Casino, hours before the 2023 Cincinnati Music Festival was officially set to begin. “This is what makes Cincy so special … showcasing our strength as a cultural center.”

His statement, met with excited applause from local media, traveling press, and corporate sponsors set the tone for a weekend of celebrating culture.

Cincinnati Music Festival

Since its inception in 1962 as the Ohio Valley Jazz Festival, the annual event certifies the summer in Queen City. Now referred to by locals as simply the “jazz fest,” the stage has hosted iconic performances from the likes of Aretha Franklin, Whitney Houston, Common, Janet Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Usher, and more. 

This year’s event continued the lineage of R&B, Funk, Soul, and Hip-Hop greats.

Crowd at Cincinnati Music Festival

Cincinnati Music Festival

Thousands of ticketholders flocked to the Andrew J. Brady Center and Paycor Field, to see performances from Babyface, Snoop Dogg, Slick Rick, and more. The arena served as a playground for Chicago steppin’ crews who traveled by the busload to represent in color-coded t-shirts, a whimsical backdrop for couples rekindling romance, and an electric dance floor for Baby Boomers and Generation X to relive their prime. 

Vendors selling everything from sea moss smoothies and Adinkra symbol-adorned jackets to catfish plates and waist trainers lined the streets, keeping the bustling crowd busy as the humid afternoons transformed into breezy, moonlit evenings. Each night as the sunset over the Ohio River, the party began.

P-Funk Connection performing

Cincinnati Music Festival

For three days, legacy acts certified their status as not only chart-toppers but live performers. Each act proved its showmanship with shining colors—top-notch instrumentation, choreography, crowd control, and of course, vocals.

From the stadium-freezing notes emoted by Jill Scott and Avery Sunshine to eye-catching, interactive sets from P-Funk Connection and Jodeci, to the passionate artistry shown by Norman Brown, CMF delivered.

Read below VIBE’s recap of the 5 best moments from the 2023 Cincinnati Music Festival.

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Written by: Soft FM Radio Staff

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