The MidPoint Music Festival has gradually taken steps in its 10-year history to offer the region’s younger music aficionados the opportunity to experience as much of the three-day event as possible. Since the first, mostly bar-centered MPMF in 2002, all-ages shows have been presented at Fountain Square, the downtown library and other small venues — but this year there are more opportunities than ever for the 20-and-under set to get in on the MidPoint experience.
The most crucial factor in MPMF’s youth outreach this year has been the fest’s new partnership with the School for Creative and Performing Arts. The first public K-12th grade arts school in the country opened in its new building last year on Central Parkway (smack-dab in the middle of MPMF’s main neighborhoods, Over-the-Rhine and Downtown). This year, the school’s two amazing state-of-the-art performance spaces — the Corbett Theater (750 seats) and the Mayerson Theater (350 seats) — will be used to present MPMF performances by some of the fest’s most anticipated acts, including Mates of State, Kaki King, The Seedy Seeds, Toro Y Moi, The Low Anthem and The Album Leaf.
The shows at SCPA, of course, will be open to all ages, but the relationship with the festival extends beyond borrowing some space. Select SCPA students will be allowed to earn some hands-on experience by helping out behind the scenes, learning some of the ins-and-outs of concert production and what it takes to put on an event like MidPoint.
The school has also coordinated with MidPoint to present a few “master class” workshops with this year’s performers. The sessions, for select SCPA students only, are scheduled to feature Kaki King and Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Booker T. Jones (of Booker T. and the MGs fame), who will discuss their careers and offer advice to the young aspiring artists, performers and musicians.
Under-21 MPMFers can check out live music on four stages: the two SCPA theaters, Media Bridges (just across the street from SCPA on the Race Street side) and the CAC singer/songwriter stage on the MidPoint Midway. Those 18-and-up can attend MPMF shows at the Cincinnati Club.
Opening MidPoint up to more young fans is a priority for organizers, so expect this year’s moves to be just the latest in ongoing efforts to make MPMF more accessible to all dedicated music lovers, regardless of what year they were born.