Well, it's here again. For the sixth year, the MidPoint Music Festival returns to the streets of Downtown and Over-the-Rhine for three nights (Thursday-Saturday) of independent, original music showcases. I've spent the past several days preparing the massive MidPoint guide, which includes blurbs on all 240 bands performing, a feature about this year's new elements by Danny Cross and a run-down of the industry panel discussions. As it has been for the past five years, putting that guide together is truly an exhausting feat — by the end of it all, I start to feel a little like Martin Sheen in Apocalypse Now when he's going nuts in a hotel room. But then I remember the hassles the actual organizers of the event have to go through and just put my head down and blurb my brains out.
Between our coverage and the official MidPoint pull-out, you should be able to find every single detail about the fest in this issue. Just 'cause we can, here's a few more:
· "What's with all the Dutch bands this year?" is probably a common question raised while thumbing through the lineups of this year's MPMF. Dutch record producer Erwin Musper has facilitated an "International" stage this year (with help from local sponsor ICB Audio & Video), drawing on his overseas connections to bring in 11 bands from Europe. Musper, who now runs the Bamboo Room studios in Kentucky (where he's doing some recording with a few of the overseas visitors), says all of performances from this year's international stage (located at the Know Theater) will be recorded for TV broadcast back in their home countries, while other Dutch radio and TV are also covering the Dutch invasion. The bands range from Metal to Hip Hop.
Personally, I found most of the foreign bands to have an unusual time-warp quality, sounding like the Dutch music industry is stuck in 1988 or something. But we Cincinnatians are welcoming types, so we'll give 'em a shot this weekend and make them feel at home.
· Some cool, well-designed T-shirts for the festival have been made by local company natievolvement.com. The groovy, artsy and stylish tees are available at Park + Vine Downtown, Karisma Klothing in Hyde Park and different locations at the festival this weekend.
· With venues spread a little further out this year, organizers have brought back the MidPoint shuttle, so you don't have to hoof it from, say, Kaldi's to the Poison Room and risk missing any of the action. Well, on Saturday you can do that, at least. That's the day the "Downtown HopAround" trolley will be available for MPMFers to ride the MPMF loop for free. The trolley will make stops all along the areas where MidPoint venues are situated.
· Organizers hosted an MPMF video contest this year. The artist who has their video ranked the highest will have their clip shown on the giant screen at Fountain Square at the kick-off party Wednesday. Get some visuals of a few of the performing artists at youtube.com/group/MPMF. Local showcasing artists like Ill Poetic, Beau Alquizola, Diet Audio, The Elliott Ruther Trio, johnnytwentythree and Joe Hedges (one of three finalists in the contest) are featured on the site.
· The aforementioned kick-off party happens practically all day on Fountain Square this Wednesday. All events are free and all-ages. At 11:30 a.m., take a lunch down to the Square and catch sets by Joe Hedges, Staircase, Graze and other MPMF performers. At 5 p.m., Goose, Exit 31, Touchin' Tongues and others will keep the party going.
Well, sorta. It would seem crazy to book a music festival in Over-the-Rhine during MidPoint, right? Organizers of the Washington Park Music Festival (WPMF) avoid stepping on toes and offer some nice synergy with their fest, holding the event at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in Washington Park (1203 Elm St., Over-the-Rhine) across from Music Hall. The event runs until 6:30 p.m. and features an amazing bill of local acts — Pearlene, 500 Miles to Memphis, The Sundresses and Bad Veins.
The concert is a benefit for the School for Creative and Performing Arts, which will soon be relocating closer to the park. Admission is $5, but those with a MidPoint wristband can get in free (though, really, why not support the cause anyway?).
For more info on WPMF, check myspace.com/wpmf.
CONTACT MIKE BREEN: mbreen(at)citybeat.com