Rock and Roll Hall of Fame President Terry Stewart once said, “There are three cities that have a rightful claim to be the birthplace of rock: Memphis, New Orleans, and Cincinnati.” Sixty-eight years after King Records helped create rock, the MidPoint Music Festival continues to reclaim the city’s place as a music destination. Now in its 10th year, MidPoint has steadily nurtured local acts, booked up-and-coming bands, and given fans a chance to discover burgeoning talent. Bill Donabedian and Sean Rhiney founded the fest in 2002, and when CityBeat acquired it in 2008, Dan McCabe took over as executive producer. With 200 acts—including acclaimed Australian dance group Cut Copy and chillwave superstar Washed Out—scheduled to perform at venues throughout Over-the-Rhine (including McCabe’s MOTR Pub), the milestone year promises to trump previous editions. “We’re delivering a festival this year that you would expect would be 10 years old,” McCabe says. “It’s an escalation.” MidPoint has seen attendance increase steadily from 10,000 in its first year; with the addition of the School for Creative and Performing Arts as a venue, McCabe is expecting 30,000 this year. The fest is known for introducing fans who are hungry for something different to unknown artists. “[MidPoint] is on the radar now as a stop for young bands, and Cincinnati is becoming an adventurous place where music lovers go out and explore,” says McCabe. “I think young artists are starting to understand that Cincinnati is a fun place to play because people are up for trying something new.”
Sept 22–24Various venues in Over-the-RhineTickets: three-day VIP pass $125, three-day pass $49mpmf.com
Photograph by Nathan WindOriginally published in the September 2011 issue
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