There have been multiband music showcases in Cincinnati before - musicians banding together in hopes of getting noticed by the national music industry. But it was the MidPoint Music Festival that got the attention of city government and the corporate world.
MidPoint's articulate organizers, Sean Rhiney and Bill Donabedian, both in their early 30s, brought Cincinnati City Council members and Mayor Charlie Luken on board, in what was the first official recognition of the Tristate's thriving alt-rock scene.
For a downtown reeling from the soured economy, racial unrest and reams of bad publicity, MidPoint was just what the doctor ordered. That would be Dr. Richard Florida, a professor of economic development at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University and author of The Rise of the Creative Class. The book cites Seattle and Austin as models of urban centers fueled by a young, music-and-technology-oriented "creative class."
Cincinnati had seen such a revival in the early '90s with the grassroots movement of the Main Street Entertainment District, all of it done with little or no official aid.
But with help from the city and some much-needed corporate sponsorship, MidPoint drew 10,000 people over three days and gave the city some much-needed good press.
The 2003 MidPoint should be better, as Cincinnati's powers have changed their tune - "We rebuilt this city on rock `n' roll."
CULTURE IN 2003
25 forces that will shape culture in 2003
1. The big economic squeeze
2. Clear Channel's dominance
3. Suburbanites: Will they roam?
4. The plea for racial healing
5. The media's message
6. A whole new ball game
7. Edgy art center opening
8. Tall Stacks rolls back
9. Will tourists go home happy?
10. How Fine Arts Fund carries clout
11. You can't fight City Hall
12. Laura Long: Downtown force
13. The CSO's growing empire
14. Rosenthals' big impact
15. Northern Kentucky development
16. Museum Center's main man
17. Lobbyist Weiland
18. UC at crossroads
19. The Nederlanders make a comeback
20. MidPoint: Rebuild the city on rock 'n' roll
21. The Schuster Center alternative
22. Another public art project goes to bat
23. The brain drain
24. Local film community gains focus
25. Dancing around visa problems
The wild card of 2003: War
2003 dates to keep in mind
DEMALINE: The arts
KENDRICK: Alive & Well
Get to it!