Rolling Out

Chaka Khan, Babyface, Toni Braxton to kick off inaugural Midwest Music Festival

Midwest Music Festival Poster with Artist

Look out Essence Fest and Macy’s Music Festival, aka Cincinnati Jazz Fest! There’s a new kid on the block and he’s coming out the gate swinging.

June 6–7 marks the debut of the Midwest Music Festival in Louisville, Kentucky. The two-day event will feature the best in R&B, funk, and neo-soul at the KFC Yum! Center, a venue Rolling Stone magazine calls one of the 10 best concert venues in the country.

Some of the biggest names in music, including Chaka Khan, Babyface, Toni Braxton, Charlie Wilson, Anthony Hamilton, Avant, Lyfe Jennings and Keke Wyatt are scheduled to take part in the weekend’s festivities.

Festival organizers, which include former Los Angeles Laker Norm Nixon, hope to make the event one of the leading annual destinations for music lovers across the country, especially those in the surrounding Midwestern cities such as Chicago, Indianapolis and Cincinnati. “Those cities are all within a 3½-, four-hour drive,” said booking agent Geno Shelton, “but it had to be something big, because people aren’t going to drive to Louisville from Chicago unless it’s something special.”

With a good mix of contemporary and classic R&B artists, Shelton’s hope was to have a little something for almost everyone.

“Acts like Avant or Keke Wyatt definitely relate to 18- to 25-year-olds, but then you have Charlie Wilson, who has been doing it for 40-something years,” Shelton said. “It’s a mixed spectrum, but also some of the biggest names in urban music right now.

Tickets can be purchased via

For additional information about the Midwest Music Festival, please log on to

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