Talking Shop

MPMF opens the floor to a Saturday afternoon conference

After a one-year absence in 2008, the MidPoint Music Festival has brought back the daytime “music conference,” with useful panels and discussions about a range of topics of interest to all types of independent musicians. All panels are Saturday afternoon, so pace yourself Friday night — the first two are at the Garfield Suites Hotel, MPMF.09 headquarters, and the final one takes place at the Contemporary Arts Center.

All MPMF performers are encouraged to attend and mingle with your fellow musicians. The panels are also open to three-day wristband holders and non-musicians alike.

Be sure to check for the latest updates — everything, as they say, is subject to change and more panelists could be added.

Scene Summit

12-1 p.m. Saturday Sept. 26
Garfield Suites Hotel, Vine Street & Garfield Place, Downtown

Hey Ohio! Come on Kentucky! Hear, hear Indiana! Let’s go Midwest! Let’s start a conversation between artists across our region by identifying current needs and opportunities to raise the profile of the original music scene.

This in-the-round session will include concert promoters, label folks, retail representatives, new media types and other movers and shakers … along with you, the artists. The “town hall” meeting hopefully will set records straight, clarify the unclear and define the path forward for artists and institutions in the new music economy. Topics will include media, stage opportunities, circuit-building tours and whatever else artists think is worthy of their time.

Panelists: Dan McCabe, Executive Producer of MPMF (that's him in the photo peeking into the future); Darren Blase, Shake It Records; Jim Bosken, President of QCA; Jerry Dirr, Phratry Records; Steve McGann, Peloton Records; Ryan Williams, Indianapolis Music Net

Demo Derby

2-2:30 p.m. Saturday Sept. 26
Garfield Suites Hotel, Vine Street & Garfield Place, Downtown

You know the “Demo Derby” drill: Musicians bring the music, and panelists discuss which songs rock/suck and why. But why stop with your song? Show your Web site, your one sheet, your press mailer and get honest feedback from reviewers, critics, PR professionals and indie label folks. This popular panel will provide a close-up look at “first listens” by the panel. See how effectively your whole package reaches the professionals you rely on for exposure.

Panelists: Josh Asbury, 3rd Silo Records; Brian Baker, CityBeat music writer; Sean Cannon, Editor-in-Chief of; Abe Morris, Secretly Canadian PR; Erwin Muspar, The Bamboo Room Producer/Engineer; Jeff Smith, President of Crash Avenue Publicity

Albums in the 21st Century

4-5:30 p.m. Saturday Sept. 26
Contemporary Arts Center, Sixth & Walnut Sts., Downtown

So what’s a record or album in the age of iTunes and torrents? Globally-acclaimed Cincinnati-based experimental music hero C. Spencer Yeh will discuss his WHAT THE …? Records project, a vinyl-only private press label focusing on small-run handmade editions. Originally inspired by art-object records and live bootleg label culture, WHAT THE…? is run anonymously with little promotion or exposure. In the last couple of years, Yeh has been collaborating with artist Paul Coors, growing WHAT THE…? into an experimental intersection of artistic and commercial considerations, issues and fetishes.

New Media label “The All Night Party” takes a digital approach. The label’s Dave Davis (an occasional CityBeat contributor) will show some alternative visions from a research project from the University of Cincinnati’s Digital Design program and show off some commercial “state of the art” examples of records made for a dawning new era. At the end of the discussion, panelists will open the floor to the room to discuss what what an album is or can be.

Panelists: Paul Coors, artist; Dave Davis, The All Night Party; C. Spencer Yeh, What the …? Records