Midpoint Music Festival

Two weeks ago, I officially started my field research when I attended the Midpoint Music Festival in Cincinnati, OH.

I didn’t really know when I bought my ticket whether the festival would incorporate any transmedia elements, but I was really interested in attending the festival anyway for a few reasons.

First, the festival had really great free shows every Friday all summer leading up to the festival. There were four bands every week in Fountain Square in downtown Cincinnati, including performances from Camera Obscura, Why?, Neon Indian, and Cotton Jones. I had the opportunity to go one week, and it was a great vibe and really nice publicity for the festival.

Second, instead of having one large space for the festival, shows were held at 20 different venues around Cincinnati over the three days of Midpoint. This meant that over 200 bands played!

Third, the mix of bands was both local and national, well known and not, and the venues ranged from small galleries to huge tents set up in the back of bars. This range really interested me; I wondered if everyone would be at the big national sets, while the small local places stayed mostly empty. Or would local bands be discovered in this showcase?

But as the festival dates got closer, Midpoint announced a poster show that would accompany the festival- perfect! Transmedia! And once I got to the festival, I realized that at some of the venues (Fountain Square and the tent at Grammers Bar among them) projected a live stream of the twitter hashtag #mpmf on a screen/tent wall. Besides being an awesome example of transmedia, it really was a narrative of the event- even though I was only at one venue, I could read what was going on at the other 19.

At one point, Caribou was taking a long time to set up at the venue I was at (Grammers), and people started tweeting about that. It was funny to see that everyone was talking about this in person and online. Later that night, I was considering heading to a venue across the river (I was at Southgate house listening to Ted Leo and the Pharmacists), but thanks to Twitter, I knew that the headliner had kicked everyone out of the bar for their soundcheck, and there was a line two blocks long to get back in.

Overall, the festival was awesome. But overwhelming. I felt that 20 venues was too many, because I had never heard of most of the bands, and it was hard for me to pick out 2-3 places to go/bands to hear from hundreds every night. I really liked both the new media and old media integration into the narrative- the poster show was old school, but with so many performers represented, having a visual representation of many performers was engaging. The use of Twitter was great- especially with the festival going on all over the city. And it seemed that the audience used both a lot.

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