This weekend thousands of music fans from around the Midwest will descend on Cincinnati for the annual MidPoint Music Festival that started in 2002. The music festival has been grown over the last three years by its new organizers Dan McCabe. This year’s festival will showcase over 230 performances at venues throughout Cincinnati’s center city.
While much of the focus is on the music, and rightfully so, Cincinnati is also on display showcasing its galleries, restaurants, and other offerings to the thousands of music fans. For those who may be unfamiliar with MidPoint, or Cincinnati’s center city, we have put together a comprehensive guide to the 10th annual MidPoint Music Festival.
Music starts at 7pm each night of the festival and is scheduled to last late into the night. As a result, many festival-goers will be searching for food options. Since last year’s festival many new offerings have sprung up in the areas surrounding the performance venues.
Cincinnati’s many food trucks will be on the move throughout the weekend, Mr. Sushi has late night offerings on 6th Street, Senate is now open and serving gourmet street food in the Gateway Quarter, Joe’s Diner has reasonably priced diner fare just off of Main Street in Over-the-Rhine, and a variety of existing establishments like Shanghai Mamas, Lucy Blue Pizza, and Gilpin’s Bagel Deli will be serving late into the night. Festival organizers also say that many of the MPMF venues will be serving food as well.
Festival organizer Dan McCabe has also been able to take advantage of several new venues now open for this year’s three-day event. Located downtown on W. 6th Street, FB’s will be new to this year’s festival. In Over-the-Rhine, Neon’s Unplugged will be another new venue and will also be the host for the Gold Star Chili Artist Clubhouse. Nearby MOTR, owned by McCabe, will be the other new venue and will continue to offer live music daily without a cover charge after the festival is over.
While MPMF is a bargain with three-day wristbands costing just $39 (available up through the start of the festival only), one-day passes at $20, or a cover charge at each venue, there are also plenty of options for folks to enjoy the festival at no cost. One such opportunity is the festival’s new partnership with the public library. Free live music will be offered on Fountain Square each night starting at 7pm. A free poster expo will be held at 5pm each day at the Know Theatre as a way for local artists to showcase their artistic talents.
Other Downtown Happenings:
Aside from MPMF, there are a plethora of other activities happening in the downtown area this weekend including the Final Friday gallery walk in Over-the-Rhine, Atomic Number 10’s one-year anniversary party, The Lackman’s grand opening, and the University of Cincinnati Bearcats football game against the Oklahoma Sooners at Paul Brown Stadium.
More than 230 performances in three nights can be difficult to plan for, even for the most ardent music fan, so here are a few strategies to think about heading into the weekend:
- Get a Pass: If you missed out on the opportunity to purchase a three-day wristband, or are unable commit to the whole weekend, buy a one-day pass for $20 at any venue throughout the festival. Not only will it allow you the opportunity to explore different venues, but it also provides the opportunity to ride the free Metro Hybrid Shuttles.
- Be Curious: Much of the fun at MPMF can be had by checking out new places and new bands that you may not have known. There are a total of 25 venues this year that will provide ample opportunity for even veteran Cincinnati music fans to experience music in new and interesting ways.
- Support Local Artists: While the festival is a showcase for many artists outside the region, there are others that are a part of the Cincinnati scene which are worth seeing, especially if you have not seen them before. There are too many to name, but here are a few: Pomegranates, The Seedy Seeds, Wussy, You You’re Awesome, and Chocolate Horse.
- Seek Out National & International Artists: While the local scene is key, MPMF provides bands from outside our region the chance to come in and play to a large crowd. It also provides fans the opportunity to sample some of music’s biggest up-and-comers. Again, there are just too many to name, but here are a few must see performances this weekend: Caribou, Phantogram, Surfer Blood, Best Coast, and Male Bonding.
The 2010 MidPoint Music Festival will be the biggest, and looks to be the best, one yet. Organizers and businesses expect downtown Cincinnati to be packed and turn into a giant playground for music fans.