Usher, Mary J. Blige to headline the Cincinnati Music Festival
Courtesy of Capitol Records

The Cincinnati Music Festival Presented by P&G is set to take place July 27-29 at the city’s Paul Brown Stadium; that’s where the NFL’s Cincinnati Bengals play. The festival began in 1962 as strictly a jazz festival and has in the past presented legendary performers like Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and Stevie Wonder to name but a few. Now one of the country’s leading urban music events, this year’s Cincinnati Music Festival line-up features headliners Usher and Mary J. Blige along with event host Doug E. Fresh, the rapper and producer that’s widely credited as being the first human beatbox. Here’s a closer look at who’ll be appearing:

July 27

This Thursday night event is a soft opening for the festival and is a co-production with Vibe Cincinnati. Billed as a Party with a Purpose, the event is a fundraiser for charities in the Cincinnati area and will star host Doug E. Fresh along with Kid Capri, the DJ and rapper who has his own show, “Kid Capri’s Block Party,” on the Sirius XM Fly channel. Also appearing will be Rob Base, who along with DJ E-Z Rock had the platinum-certified hit “It Takes Two.”

July 28

The headliner spotlight will be on Mary J. Blige this evening. Named after the album she released earlier this year, Blige is in the middle of her “Strength of a Woman” tour, a jaunt that has already seen her play in Australia, Japan and Europe. The European leg of her tour is about to wrap up and this show will actually be the soulful singer’s first US show after her return from the Continent. One of the warm-up acts for the evening will be the multi-talented KEM who is currently working on a new album for release later this year, so fans may get treated to some brand new music. Also appearing will be hit makers SWV, En Vogue and Bell Biv Devoe.

July 29

Usher is the headliner this evening, and to paraphrase a lyric from his hit “No Limit,” he intends to put a tingle in your spine. And hey, the guy has a full line of sexy scents too; splash on a bit of Usher cologne or perfume pre-show and take that tingle straight back home to the bedroom. The warm-up acts are impressive as well; scheduled to appear are 2004 “American Idol” winner Fantasia, platinum selling singer Anthony Hamilton, classic funk stars Con Funk Shun and Ro James, who’ll give you “Permission” to have an excellent evening.

For additional information on the Cincinnati Music Festival go here.

For ideas on other fun things to do in Cincinnati before or after the festival go here.