Well before CityBeat acquired the MidPoint Music Festival (MPMF) in 2008, when it was mostly focused on unsigned artists, I vividly recall a close friend responding to my query about his possible attendance with a curt, “No, not going. Never heard of any of the bands.”
My head spun. This was within the first few years of the now 12-year-old festival and I’d just spent a couple of weeks listening to all of the MPMF performers and writing short descriptions for our annual MidPoint guide. There were some clunkers back then, but I relished discovering dozens of great, mostly unknown artists prior to MPMF, then catching them live during it.
I shot back at my friend with an equally curt, “Uh, that’s the whole point.”
It wasn’t the first or last time I’d use those words.
It’s mind-boggling to me that there are still people who dismiss MPMF outright because they aren’t previously familiar with enough of the artists on the bill. It’s gotten better over time, as many music lovers have gradually come to understand that, especially in the past five years, MidPoint has become the place to discover new music. Just as you would online, using “discovery apps” and websites. MidPoint is the live music equivalent of those tools — you just can’t lie on your couch in your underwear while you do it.
As for those who think MidPoint doesn’t cater to their musical tastes, I challenge you to find a genre of music not represented this year. Maybe you can find one or two — sorry, Polka fans — but you really have to grasp at straws to do so.
MidPoint returns this Thursday-Saturday to the venues of Over-the-Rhine and Downtown Cincinnati with its strongest top-to-bottom lineup yet. Booking mastermind Dan McCabe (here) has built extraordinary lineups for every stage. Though the headliners are still top notch, this year’s MidPoint has the strongest “undercard” since CityBeat took over the festival. If you love Warpaint (here) — or The Breeders or Cody ChesnuTT (here) or any of the other headliners — there are dozens of other artists playing MPMF that are right up your alley. You just need to be willing to take a chance, something most MidPointers have embraced.
Dig deep and I promise you won’t be disappointed.
There is also more than just live music at MPMF. The Box Truck Carnival, food, vendors, performances and other activities, like the unveiling of the new interactive music biz e-Book Musicians’ Desk Reference (here) and the fest’s first family-friendly “KidPoint” afternoon (Saturday from noon-4 p.m.), will have the free MidPoint Midway (12th Street, between Vine and Walnut streets) hopping all three days. And there are numerous “unofficial” events scattered across the area throughout the extended weekend, like the live concert photo exhibit, Reverberation (here), more performances and much more (see Spill It here).
To keep up with the latest breaking news (cancellations, additions, etc.) and get reports from the fest grounds, be sure to follow MidPoint’s various social media sites, like Facebook (facebook.com/midpointmusicfestival), Twitter (@MidPointMusic) and Instagram (@MidPointMusicFestival).
You can walk up and buy tickets, but you’ll save a few bucks by getting them in advance (at mpmf.cincyticket.com). At $69 (in advance) for a three-day wristband, it’s easily the best music fest bargain in the Midwest. Just do it before Thursday. The price goes up to $79 during the fest.
Throughout this issue, you’ll find show previews, interviews and more relating to the fest to give you a little guidance if you’re totally lost. Also, be sure to grab a copy of the official MPMF guide (available everywhere throughout the festival), which features previews of all of the 175-plus performers. Visit mpmf.com for the digital version of the previews and more. And build your own schedule through the web app (mobile and desktop functional) at live.mpmf.com.
Hope to see you out there this week, exploring your hearts out and finding your new favorite bands.
Access our entire MidPoint package here, or check out the articles below:
Soul Under the Chesnutt Tree
Paint It Black
The Teeth and Nothing But the Teeth
Interactive Music E-Book to Debut at MPMF