What event has a greater economic impact on the city than the Flying Pig Marathon and Western & Southern Open combined? That would be the Cincinnati Music Festival.
Drawing in more than 83,000 attendees last year—80 percent from out of town—the festival brought $107.5 million to the city. That’s a lot of green, much more than the rest of the city’s staple events, according to a study published by the UC Economics Center earlier this year. That news came as no surprise to Fran Santangelo DiBattista of the Santangelo Group, which has put on the event since its inception. “I think our secret sauce for this festival is that it’s tradition for so many people,” DiBattista says. “We sell most of our tickets before we even announce our lineup. That shows it’s more than just the music.”
The Cincinnati Music Festival dates back to 1962, when it was originally known as the Ohio Valley Jazz Festival. Over the years it has changed names, including a run as the Kool Jazz Festival and The Macy’s Music Festival, before taking on its current name in 2015 when Procter & Gamble became the presenting sponsor. Now in its 56th year, DiBattista says the 2018 festival is on track to be as big as 2017’s, with headliners including Boyz II Men, Bootsy Collins, Jill Scott, Common, and Charlie Wilson.
Cincinnati Music Festival, July 26-28, Paul Brown Stadium, cincymusicfestival.com