• Review

REVIEW: Stereo 23' DJ Festival

Scorching weather and sweltering, thick heat did not stop people from attending the very first DJ festival in Cincinnati. This was a journey into sound, and attendees were ready to celebrate 50 years of hip hop’s anniversary weekend.

As afternoon turned to evening a nice breeze came off the Ohio River. The Andrew J Brady Music Center's ICON Festival Stage at Smale Park was the place to be on Saturday.

“I need y’all to clap for yourselves for coming out tonight. This is–and I’m going to speak this into existence–the first annual STEREO ‘23. So next year will be STEREO ‘24. We are celebrating all the DJs today. It’s the theater of hip hop. A special part of hip hop is the DJs and that's what we're (celebrating) right now. We have 26 DJs, all creeds, all colors, all ages, all walks of life cuz hip hop has no color, no religion, no creed, no nothing, ok? Hip hop is everything, hip hop is a walk of life.”

People were hyped and in festive spirits. People brought chairs or blankets and posted themselves in a spot on the lawn. Little kids darted across the grass. A group of ladies celebrating a friend's 50th birthday. Moms, Dads, friends, families, singles, pets–inclusivity was the vibe of the night.

The festival offered a range of local, national, and international talent showcasing their best skills on the 1s and 2s.

DJ Queen Celine’s Afro-Carribbean beats caused a spontaneous line dance. She was best female DJ in Cincinnati 2021 and 2022.

NoahIMean?’s song choices such as “Dejavu” by Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz and “Party Groove Bass Mix” by Showbiz & AG displayed his signature turntablism skills.

DJ Masterfresh’s mix of dancehall and reggae was elevated with LJ Rap’s “Pimp Daddy,” an early 90s Cincinnati club classic.

While the sun set and the summer breeze off the Ohio River hit DJ Guy Wes dropped the beat on Afrika Bambaataa & Soulsonic Force’s “Planet Rock” and transitioned to “Trans-Europe Express” by Kraftwerk.

The highlight of the evening was headliner and festival creator DJ Vader’s set. From light rain droplets he took us from “Perculator” to a full on downpour. A few of us took advantage of dancing in the rain and ended the night with Ashanti’s “Rain On Me,” while others chose to dance under cover. A memorable ending to an epic night.


  • Preview

Stereo '23 DJ Festival

Stereo ‘23, A Celebration of DJs, is an all-day festival at The Andrew J. Brady Music ICON festival stage at Smale Park, this Saturday.