OK Go, Los Lobos, Talib Kweli, Hi-Tek, Nikki Giovanni, Bootsy and the Symphony, Opera and Ballet Set to Help Reopen Fountain Square
Fountain Square officially comes back to life Oct. 14 with an entertainment lineup that emphatically announces a new direction for the city’s highest-profile public space. 3CDC, which is organizing the event and managing Fountain Square for the city, is set to unveil a two-part schedule featuring official remarks and arts programming in the afternoon and concert performances in the evening.
The evening’s concert features Cincinnati-based DJ Hi-Tek and influential Hip Hop artist Talib Kweli at 6 p.m., followed by Grammy Award-winning Los Lobos and capped off by the buzz Pop/Rock band OK Go. Rozzi fireworks round off the night. All for free.
Earlier in the day, Bootsy Collins hosts an afternoon session that features a poem written and read by Cincinnati native Nikki Giovanni and performances by the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra, Cincinnati Ballet and Cincinnati Opera, among others. The Tyler Davidson Fountain will also be unveiled in its new location.
Bill Donabedian, hired by 3CDC to bring new energy and a new sense of inclusiveness to the reconfigured square, certainly is starting his tenure on the right foot: By celebrating the city’s strong arts scene along with local artists who are well-known nationally and then bringing in diverse national music acts, 3CDC is offering something for everyone — a good omen for a city that needs some positive vibes right now.
“I wanted to accomplish a lot of things with this event,” Donabedian says. “I wanted a more formal ceremony that culminates in the fountain reveal, but I wanted to have fun with it, too, which is why Bootsy is hosting the afternoon session. Then at night I just wanted to have great original music that people will get excited about.”
Donabedian declines to say how much 3CDC is spending on the Oct. 14 celebration, other than to say “I’m putting this on for a lot less than people imagine.” Now that 3CDC has its own Fountain Square staff and permanent sound equipment, he’s basically paying just for the musical acts; he says most of the other expenses have been covered by donations, corporate sponsorship and a small grant from the city of Cincinnati.
“It’s only been a year since we closed the square, but it’s been a grind for everyone, with all the construction and road closings,” Donabedian says. “So we need to do this reopening right. We’ll only get one shot at this kind of attention.”
— John Fox