I was sitting on a folding chair downtown on the final day of Oktoberfest. The sun was setting, bathing the office towers along Fifth Street in bright orange.
I squinted as I surveyed the scene toward the west. The sky was bright blue, people milled around, music wafted in from several places and the smell of grilled sausages and tangy barbecue was everywhere.
I closed my eyes and inhaled the scene, literally and figuratively. I remembered back to 1985, just after my move to Cincinnati on a Labor Day weekend, and the first of my Oktoberfest memories.
Then someone interrupted my daydream, asking, “So what’s this MidPoint thing all about?”
I was manning the CityBeat booth in front of the Procter & Gamble building near the games and rides, and we were promoting this weekend’s MidPoint Music Festival. I stood up and started talking about local music and bands with a young couple.
They’d been out to see local original bands before, and they knew a few of the musician names on our promotional MidPoint postcard. So I said MidPoint was like any of those other nights they ventured out to see a band except now it’s 180 bands in 17 clubs over three nights, all for one price (a three-day wristband) and mostly all within walking distance.
I told them how CityBeat had taken over MidPoint after its first six years and was now trying to attract a wider audience by booking some national acts and all the best local bands.
The idea was to continue growing the festival each year until maybe it rivaled Oktoberfest on the city’s social calendar.
At least it could create fun back-to-back weekends of food and family fare at Oktoberfest and music and youth culture at MidPoint. It’s something to shoot for, anyway.
The young woman and man sounded excited and promised to check out the Web site (mpmf.com). When I got home later that night I finally watched a bit of the VH1 top 20 video countdown show I’d taped last week, the one filmed in Cincinnati. The hook was that the popular 3 Doors Down video for “It’s Not My Time” had been shot here, mostly in Over-the-Rhine and downtown, and the VH1 host came to town to explore the video’s backstory.
The city looked pretty damn good, with beauty shots of Fountain Square, Great American Ball Park, the riverfront on both sides of the Ohio River and much more. All because music and musicians put Cincinnati on the media map and because a small group of people at Metaphor Studio, particularly Buz Buse, knows Cincinnati has a creative story to tell and enticed VH1 to come see it for themselves.
And now it’s your turn to come see the story for yourself this weekend. While the throngs of people you’ll encounter on Walnut and Main streets downtown or at the Southgate House in Newport won’t compare to Oktoberfest, you will get caught up in an amazing energy and excitement.
Start telling your own stories and making new memories at MidPoint and help us grow it into the city’s other big September street festival.
CONTACT JOHN FOX: firstname.lastname@example.org