MPMF, We Love You

Local and regional music lovers descend on Over-the-Rhine today for the kickoff of MidPoint Music Festival, a something-for-everyone shindig that spans multiple venues across the neighborhood and gives us all one last chance to party hard before our city’s streets are windswept with the frigid iciness of the arctic tundra again. If Bockfest celebrates the blossoming energy of spring, then MidPoint is surely the bookend in the fall and easily Cincinnati’s most entertaining weekend of the year.

As MPMF’s technology and branding partner since 2008, we’d like to take a moment to reflect on how this phenomenon has grown, and to thank all that played a part in creating the community that surrounds the festival today.

When CityBeat acquired MidPoint Music Festival in 2008, it was still just a fledgling collection of concerts with fewer than 10,000 attendees. It didn’t have an identity of its own yet, but was begging for more colorful, engaging flavor. The event needed a brand, a push away from localization and a drive to realize Dan McCabe’s vision that we could capture the magic of multi-venue, city-based extravaganzas like South By Southwest and North By Northwest right here in Cincinnati.

And so, Topic went to the drawing boards. 2009 saw the rollout of the festival’s iconic cyclops riverboat captain, Monty, and with him an entirely new brand image, voice and experience. MidPoint Music Festival was “acryonymized” to MPMF, which segued into an entirely new age of social media integration for the festival. We worked to create a page and presence on Facebook as it continued to grow, as well as build an engaged following on Twitter.

At the time, Twitter was a fledgling startup company that caught wildfire after its debut at SXSW, but Topic saw it as an excellent tool to enhance the digital presence of the festival. We built the city’s first social visualizer, an aggregate of all social content tagged with the hashtag #MPMF into an interactive display projected at most of the concerts. It connected the entire community in a moment through social media, even though the fan base was pocketed in venues across the city. It was a huge triumph for MPMF and Topic, giving us both a glimpse of the deeply engaging online relationships that exist with fans today.

Now, in this 13th anniversary of MPMF, the festival continues to grow and its technology is off the chain. Live.mpmf.com has grown from a social visualizer to an interactive web application where fans can view the lineup, build a personalized schedule, view maps and contribute to the social stream using #MPMF.

We’re proud to have served as the development and design arms of this awesome phenomenon, and the fact that we’ve helped create a community that develops and grows bigger and better every year. Thank you to all the special people that helped make this crazy ride possible – we’ve done amazing things together. Now, the only thing left to do is find the stage with your musical fix and make the most of your MidPoint moments. Cheers to Monty!