Cincinnati Music Festival, Paul Brown Stadium
Cincinnati Music Festival, Paul Brown Stadium

After more than 50 years, we just call it “The Festival.” For most visitors and concertgoers, the last weekend in July is the best time to visit Cincinnati, tour downtown and enjoy some of the best R&B music of our time. For Cincinnati natives, Festival Weekend is a time to host out-of-town guests, prepare large meals, perfect our soul train line moves and create memories that our children will never forget. For us, Festival Weekend is quite nostalgic - most of us have been celebrating it for our entire lives.

As teenagers, our parents allowed us to hang-out on the SkyWalk while they were in the concert, so our curfew was always a little later on those nights. And like most families, we cherished the time with out-of-town cousins. As young adults, we invited college mates to visit with us on Festival Weekend, which was always exciting because although we were not at the concert, we were old enough to enter a bar and wear high-heeled shoes. As adults, we invited other couples to visit, and by this time, we actually attended the concerts and enjoyed the festivities associated with the event. Festival Weekend is a time of year that all of our friends and family want to visit our city. And we definitely get excited when they arrive!

Cincinnati Music Festival presented by P&G
Cincinnati Music Festival presented by P&G
The Festival has evolved over the years with quite a few different names including its original jazz festival title as it is still often referred. Recently introduced was Festival 513, parties on Fountain Square, Throwback Thursday event, and numerous after-party options. Even with all of the name changes and different venues, we still count the festival Friday in July as a vacation day. We still get excited when the line-up is announced each spring. We still invite out-of-town guests to stay with us for the weekend, and most importantly, we still wear white when Frankie Beverly performs!

Now we enjoy the Cincinnati Music Festival sponsored by P&G and look forward to what's in store for us and the more than 50,000 people who will visit our city for the weekend.

Top 5 recommendations for Cincinnati Music Festival weekend:

Crystal L. Kendrick, Cincinnati Music Festival
Crystal L. Kendrick, Cincinnati Music Festival

  1. Check the line-up. If Frankie Beverly is performing, wear your white.
  2. Swing by the Festival 513 (admission is free!) street party outside of Paul Brown Stadium, grab a bite from one of the food trucks and shop with local vendors. While you are down there, tour the new Smale Riverfront Park and see for yourself why we have some of the best parks in the country.
  3. Spend some time on Fountain Square. Enjoy the entertainment on the stage and indulge yourself in our world-famous Graeter's Ice Cream.
  4. Take a tour of downtown. Today, we have horse-drawn carriages, Segway tours, Red Bikes, bicycle taxis and walking paths that will allow you to see our infrastructure and historic buildings.
  5. Head over to MIXX Ultra Lounge after the concerts to meet the locals and learn the Cincinnati Stomp.

Enjoy your time in the Queen City and plan to stay a little longer so that you can also enjoy our amazing arts, culinary delights, parks, riverfront and maybe a Reds game. Cincinnati has so much to offer our visitors, and we hope that you will learn a little more about where we live, work, play and worship!