Friday, February 29, 2008

Midpoint Breaks
After six years everything changes...

The news in Cincinnati right now is that the 2008 Midpoint Music Festival could see some big changes. Here's the article from Mike Breen's Spill It site:
MidPoint Music Festival 2008: Under New Management
If you went to the Web site for the MidPoint Music Festival over the past few weeks, all you saw was this cryptic message: "After six years, everything changes."
So what's the big change? CityBeat is now the proud operator of MPMF, which will return Sept. 25-27. A huge overhaul of the event is underway. Over the course of five years, MidPoint founders Sean Rhiney and Bill Donabedian developed their labor of love into one of the preeminent showcases for unsigned bands in the country. Their dedication to the up-and-coming artist should forever be commended as it has helped Cincinnati's profile as a "music city" in the midst of our current musical renaissance period.
CityBeat will keep true to that initial spirit and also work to broaden the appeal of the fest overall. Unsigned bands will still be a large focus of the event. Any and all artists interested in performing can submit starting later today (or early tomorrow at the latest) at the MPMF Web site.
No more industry panels (at least this year), just music. Over the next few weeks we'll be making further announcements about the fest (keep an eye on this blog), culminating with an event at Below Zero in Over-the-Rhine (the former Alchemize and Cavern locale) on April 9. The Omaha-based band Cursive, members of Connor Oberst's Saddle Creek Records family, will perform at the April 9 launch event.
We would love your input. As a fan/attendee, what would you like to see at MidPoint this year? As a performer/participant, do you have suggestions? Please leave your comments below and help us take MidPoint to the next level.
— Mike Breen

During the whole hooplah earlier this year about musicians complaining that the festival needed a change, I guess I was always in the boat of folks who thought it was pretty damn fun the way it was.
Midpoint remains the only Midwestern music festival where unknown bands can perform in front of hundreds of interested people. You go to the other ones and you're faced with disinterested rooms with three people drinking Pabst that didn't even realize there was a festival going on. This is what Indiana's Midwest Music Festival has often turned into - mostly because they put unsigned bands up against national bands. Why go see The Loyal Divide when Brian Jonestown Massacre is playing three blocks away?
But my worry about all festivals is that they risk becoming scenester back-patting events.
Festivals organized by dudes who have been a part of the local music scene a long time.
They have friends in bands who have been involved in the local music scene a long time.
They put on a festival and invite all their friends bands who have been in the music scene a long time.
Most of these are bands that do one show a year, at most, yet get the best gigs in town.
Cincinnati's definitely been guilty of this stuff in the past.
Meanwhile all the great new bands either have to kiss ass or mope about not getting in.
So please, CityBeat, just promise me it will not turn into this and I will try to remain open-minded...

1 comment:

Breen said...

Promise, Christopher. I think you'll be pleased with what we come up with. And, besides, all of our friends are in GOOD bands :)

Thanks for the mention and good points.