Locals at MidPoint Music Festival 2016

Plus, Wussy celebrates a great year with two hometown shows at The Woodward Theater and Arnold's offers some free counter programming during MidPoint.

click to enlarge The Harlequins play Saturday at the MidPoint Music Festival. - Photo: Jon Flannery
Photo: Jon Flannery
The Harlequins play Saturday at the MidPoint Music Festival.
The MidPoint Music Festival returns this weekend for its 15th-annual event. This year, the fest (which runs Friday through Sunday) has a new layout: As opposed to using a dozen or so clubs and stages throughout Over-the-Rhine and downtown, there will be four outdoor stages along Sycamore Street in OTR, and though there are some higher profile acts, there are a few less performers than in previous years. But organizers didn’t forget about Cincinnati’s rich music scene — you can still catch several of your favorite local acts this weekend. And in some cases, you can do so without a ticket (daily tickets remain at ticketmaster.com, but three-day passes are no longer available).

The Eli’s BBQ Stage at 14th Street and Sycamore is free and open to the public all weekend. The stage features some of the bigger-name bands, including Aloha, Russian Circles and Into It. Over It., as well as other touring acts, but local music fans can also witness plenty of Greater Cincinnati performers. SMUT kicks things off Friday on the Eli’s Stage at 3:45 p.m., followed by fellow locals Royal Holland, The Slippery Lips, Leggy and Pluto Revolts. Saturday, the Eli’s Stage has Cincy rockers Smoke Signals…, Knife the Symphony, Mala In Se and Honeyspiders. Us, Today, Coconut Milk and Darlene play the free stage on Sunday. (Music begins at 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.)

Cincinnati artists will also be featured on the other three stages, which are all located around Sycamore and 12th streets. On Friday, catch Molly Sullivan and Injecting Strangers on the Skyline Stage and PUBLIC and Joesph on the Elliot Stage. “Garage Jazz” ensemble Animal Mother plays the Skyline Stage on Saturday, with The Harlequins, Orchards and Multimagic playing the Elliot Stage and Ryan Fine & the Media performing on the WNKU Stage. Sunday’s lineup includes great local bands like Alone at 3am on the Elliot Stage and Modern Aquatic and Young Heirlooms on the WNKU Stage.

You can plot out your own personalized schedule and bring it with you by using the mpmf.com site and the MPMF app. Visit citybeat.com and follow all of CityBeat’s social media sites for updates from MPMF.

More Local Notes

• Cincinnati Indie Rock sensation Wussy had a phenomenal year in 2016. Capitalizing on the success of — and widespread critical acclaim for — its Forever Sounds album, the band toured throughout the United States this summer and had a string of shows in the U.K. in the springtime. 

This Friday and Saturday, the band is taking a hometown victory lap with shows at the Woodward Theater (1404 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, woodwardtheater.com). Friday’s openers are local acts The Yugos and Lung (whose Kate Wakefield will play cello with the headliners). Washington, D.C.’s The Paranoid Style and Cincinnati duo Dawg Yawp, whose Tyler Randall will sit in with Wussy on sitar, open the Saturday night. Showtime is 9 p.m. both nights and tickets are $18 in advance (through cincyticket.com) or $22 at the door.

• Arnold’s Bar and Grill (210 E. Eighth St., Downtown, arnoldsbarandgrill.com) was a mainstay MidPoint Music Festival venue throughout the history of the event. With the festival switching formats, the club’s services were no longer needed, but the legendary local watering hole decided it still wanted to have some fun this weekend. In response, the free inaugural AB&GMF (that’s Arnold’s Bar & Grill Music Festival, for those bad with acronyms) is being launched, bringing several local acts together for performances Friday and Saturday. 

For Friday’s AB&GMF festivities, Arnold’s hosts New Orleans-style Cajun Jazz crew The Hot Magnolias at 7 p.m. and funky brass band The Cincy Brass at 9:30 p.m. on Friday. Saturday offers some excellent Folk/Americana with The Willow Tree Carolers (7 p.m.) and Wonky Tonk (8:30 p.m.), and Reggae from True Believers to close out the night at 10 p.m. Arnold’s is also teaming with West Sixth Brewery to offer a dozen of its beers throughout the weekend. 

CONTACT MIKE BREEN: [email protected]

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