UPDATE: Fantasia has canceled her appearance at the festival because of illness. Here's what she posted to Twitter:
Founded in 1962 by Dino Santangelo and legendary Jazz promoter George Wein as the all-Jazz Ohio Valley Jazz Festival, Cincinnati’s popular “Jazz Fest” has gone through a lot of changes in its 50-plus-year history. It moved locations from the Carthage Fairgrounds to Crosley Field to Riverfront Stadium before shifting to its current home at the Bengals’ Paul Brown Stadium.
Before claiming the Cincinnati Music Festival moniker a few years ago, it had undergone numerous name changes over the years, largely reflecting sponsorships, like Ohio Valley Kool Jazz Festival, Coors Light Riverfront Stadium Festival and the Macy’s Music Festival.
Though early on it began to feature a mix of Jazz and R&B — for example, 1972’s event included everyone from Ike & Tina Turner, The Staple Singers and B.B. King to Thelonious Monk, Cannonball Adderley and Nina Simone — Jazz eventually took a backseat to Soul and Funk. Still, to this day, it’s most commonly referred to as Jazz Fest.
This year, Cincinnati Music Festival’s lineup is especially strong. After a lower-key opening Thursday night that features MC Lyte and DJ Jazzy Jeff, Friday’s lineup is loaded with the kind of performers that have become the event’s bread and butter, with legacy acts Boyz II Men, Charlie Wilson (of The Gap Band), After 7 and XSCAP3 (plus Fantasia). Saturday’s lineup includes fest favorites The O’Jays and Keith Sweat, as well as Hip Hop/Neo Soul pals The Roots, Common and Jill Scott. Cincinnati’s own Bootsy Collins also performs Saturday.
7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. $50-$100. Paul Brown Stadium, Downtown, cincymusicfestival.com.