Cincinnati’s MidPoint Music Festival comes of age in 2011 as the festival marks its 10th anniversary Sept. 22-24. Expecting to exceed last year’s attendance of 20,000-plus, the festival will be adding new venues and expanding into more all-ages and daytime programming.
MPMF has grown and evolved in so many ways since the first festival in 2002. The event’s founders, local musicians Bill Donabedian and Sean Rhiney, started with a staunch “independents only” policy (no label acts allowed) and built MPMF to help artists showcase their music and learn the tools of the trade from professionals and insiders at daytime panels and conferences.
When CityBeat took over MidPoint in 2008, producer Dan McCabe (long one of Cincinnati’s most vital booking agents for underground and up-and-coming musical acts) added some established acts to the lineup while retaining a large dose of local musicians and other independents. Suddenly MPMF became something huge for the fans as well as the artists.
The independent bands weren’t brushed to the side, though — they remain a huge part of MidPoint. And with more people attending MPMF to see artists they might be familiar with, chances are those indie musicians benefit even more.
After 10 years, MidPoint has developed a reputation as the place to find the next big thing. Many of last year’s performers made year-end lists for Best Album or Best New Artist in major music publications such as SPIN, Fader, Pitchfork, NME, Filter and Rolling Stone. The list of recent MPMF performers include Best Coast, Phantogram, Surfer Blood, Caribou, A Place To Bury Strangers, Holy F*ck, Fang Island, +/-, Colour Revolt, Cults, Justin Townes Earle, Jessica Lea Mayfield, Candy Claws, Brighton MA, Drink Up Buttercup, The Strange Boys, Felice Brothers, Javelin, Heartless Bastards, The Do, Chairlift, Micachu and the Shapes, Sarah Borges, Wussy and Buffalo Killers.