Passion for Kansas City:
A guest blog post on Middle of the Map
Passion’s a weird thing. When you love something, you never know how things will end up. Half a decade ago, an idea was born from two people who really love Kansas City: Nathan Reusch and me, Chris Haghirian. This idea, called Middle of the Map Fest (MOTM), turned into an annual three-part event that takes place every April here in Kansas City. It’s presented by Ink Magazine and curated by Nathan’s local record label, The Record Machine.
Now in its fifth year, no one could’ve ever predicted what MOTM would become. It started in 2011 as a music fest in Westport, with the idea to bring in national acts that are on everyone’s radar (think Daniel Johnston/Two Door Cinema Club) and have some of Kansas City’s best bands open up for them. The goal: Get people to the venue early to see the bands they know and have them fall in love with the local Kansas City bands that follow. Since we’re about to celebrate the fifth year of the music fest, I’d have to say the idea worked.
In 2012, we got lucky and booked a little emerging band named Fun. Their monster hit song “We Are Young” was the number one song in the U.S. the week of the festival and having them on the fest was great exposure. That year, people from 37 different states and three countries bought tickets to MOTM. THIRTY SEVEN!
Since then, the fest has grown even more, and The Forum was born. The Forum is a conference on art, tech and culture right here in Kansas City. We work with local leaders and innovators in those fields to organize panels and conversations that highlight the amazing things about this city that we all love. This year, to help grow the scope of The Forum we’ve partnered with Rainy Day Books to bring in the astounding Malcolm Gladwell, author of Blink, Tipping Point, Outliers, What The Dog Saw and David vs. Goliath.
Lastly but not least, the third part of Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest was added in 2013: The Film Fest. As movie enthusiasts, we didn’t like seeing movie trailers for great films and then having that film skip this market. So the Film Fest was born and we started chasing those films and incorporating them into our Film Fest. Additionally, we feature the directors, actors and musicians from those films at the Fest.
It’s been a crazy ride for everyone involved. From everyone at Ink, to The Record Machine and all of our amazing volunteers; from over 400 bands that have played the fest, to more than 100 people who have been panelists at The Forum and even to a few mayors who have been involved; from 10,000+ people who have come out to the fest, we all love and are passionate about the fest and the city it takes place in.
The passion of a few got us here, but the passion of so MANY good people like yourself who care about your city and think it’s important to support local arts and local business is why Middle of the Map exists and is celebrating five amazing years. If you’ve never been to the fest, we’d love to have you. THIS IS YOUR INVITATION! If you’ve been before, THANK YOU for coming and we hope to see you again over the next weeks.
Here are the vitals:
Middle of the Map Film Fest – Wednesday, April 8 to Sunday, April 12. 25+ films. 5 days.
Middle of the Map Fest – The Forum – Wednesday, April 15 to Friday, April 17 featuring special guest and best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell and dozens of panels on arts/culture/tech.
Middle of the Map Fest – Music Fest – Wednesday, April 22 to Saturday, April 25 125+ bands. 5 days. only $75. Featuring Iron & Wine, OK Go, Lord Huron, Leon Bridges and 120 other great bands.
All the info/schedule/bios/music and how to grab your tickets can be found here: www.middleofthemapfest.com.