When the MidPoint Music Festival shifted formats in 2016 when it switched ownership, some of the venues that had participated when the fest was more of a club-hop held in several Over-the-Rhine and Downtown spots were disappointed.
Historic Arnold’s Bar and Grill was one of those longtime MPMF locations that was left with a hole in their schedule when MEMI took over operations and centralized the fest (initially on just a few outdoor stages in OTR). In response, Arnold’s launched its own mini-festival, featuring a handful of acts performing throughout MidPoint weekend.
Though MidPoint hasn’t taken place at all for the past two years (MEMI has said it will return once its riverfront music venue is up and running, although the timeline on that is vague), the free Arnold's Bar and Grill Music Fest is still going. It returns this Friday and Saturday for two nights of live music, kicking off at 7 p.m. each night.
“OK, so when Midpoint Music Festival went away a few years back we were sad,” the fest’s Facebook event page explains of its origins. “It was something we were very proud to be a part of and we just had fun having a dizzying array of bands over two nights. MPMF had to change and we understood that but even though they had moved on, we still wanted to party. The only thing we could think to do was to continue with the tradition of filling the last weekend in September with as many awesome bands as we could get.”
The festival is hosted by Ken Hanes (formerly of WNKU and now on Radio Artifact), who previously hosted the MPMF shows at Arnold’s. The bar has partnered with Knob Creek Bourbon to offer special drinks and chef Kayla Robison has created some bourbon-infused dinner specials for the weekend’s menu.
Friday’s AB&GMF headliner is the fun and funky brass ensemble The Cincy Brass; on Saturday, local Bluegrass faves Moonshine Drive headline. Rock/Funk/Soul band The Brothers Footman are coming in from Indianapolis to play Saturday night. Check out the full schedule below.
Friday Sept. 27
7 p.m. River City Roustabout
9 p.m. The Duo-Jetts
10:30 p.m. The Cincy Brass
Saturday, Sept. 28
7 p.m. Jake Speed & the Freddies
9 p.m. The Brothers Footman
10:30 p.m. Moonshine Drive