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Headlight Rivals

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MidFest 2022

The official summertime festival of Manhattan!

Our Publisher, Tyler Jackson, spoke with Odanov Eric Martin, the Executive Director of MHK Music Scene, about MidFest 2022, the music, art, an culture festival happening on July 21 - 23. 

How did the MidFest come about?

It came about as pretty much as something to do over the summertime. There was a complaint about a lack of festivals in Manhattan. No one in the immediate circle wanted to go out and patronize Country Stampede when it was at Tuttle Creek. So, MidFest came about basically just as a group of friends putting on a live music event in a friend’s backyard for other friends bands. The first year was 2016. 

Tell us about your partnership with Arts In The Park?

Our partnership with Arts In The Park came about in 2019, where they were looking to spice it up and do something different. We presented to them some R&B and Hip-Hop type talent, which they were interested in. So we had our first Arts In The Park arrangement for June of 2020, which we all know what happened then. We’re just grateful and thankful to work with the City of Manhattan, and the Arts In The Park team. It allows us to bring different types of live music to Manhattan, Kansas that’s inviting to all walks of life and different genres of people. 

What are you looking forward to most at MidFest 2022? 

I’m looking forward to people having a grand ole time! People being able to enjoy themselves comfortably, safely, and without worries. Seeing the children’s reaction to some of the bands, and some of the events that they attend is great. Whether it’s live music, or an art exhibit, or comedy at the Wareham, or the bands performing on 12th Street between Kite’s & Auntie Mae’s on the 23rd, I love it all. We even have some belly dancers (Lisa Jean) this year! I look forward to people coming out in droves! We feel that music and/or the arts is a platform that has a universal language associated with it that is inviting to anyone and everyone. I’m excited for it all. 

What are some of your favorite acts, and a few of the unknowns that might surprise us? 

I can't say that I have a favorite other than ALL of them! This year, we predicated our schedule on helping those that have been tucked away for the last two years come back in a comfortable, safe environment to perform, and to let people know they exist. This ranges from bands like Headlight Rivals, the Blackbird Fields, Part Time Heroes, Philosophy of Lions, the Manhattan Mob, the Box Turtles out of Council Grove. Ultimate Facebook, our headliner. They were a late 90’s/early 2000’s grunge band, signed with Sony. Frogpond out of KC. Ashtray Babyhead. Jeremy Ricci and Mary Renne, the comedians. They’ve really helped comedy shine bright across the community. The plethora of talent across the board in this town of all genres of the arts is amazing. 

Who would you like to thank for helping put this on? 

We want to say thanks to Finn’s Neighborhood Pub, our 2022 presenting sponsor. Flight Crew coffee, the Wareham, Tallgrass Tap House, Kite’s, Auntie Mae’s, and JJ Kuntz at Bluemont Hotel. That’s where we started! Also, thank you to Dennis Cook from the Aggieville Business Association, and to Gina Snyder from Downtown Manhattan. Also, a big shout out to Molly and Arts In The Park staff. We’re just grateful and thankful to be working with all these amazing individuals. 

What is the goal of the festival for the Manhattan Community?

The goal of the festival for the community is to let people know they are welcomed with open arms to participate! Be encourage everyone to be a part of our board, or planning committee, or bring any insight or volunteer partnerships and the like. This is a community festival  based on music, arts and culture. And the culture that surrounds Manhattan is a melting pot in itself. With it being such a melting pot, that is something within our coordinated efforts to “put heads in beds, and butts in seats” That’s why we appreciate Karen and Jason from Manhattan CVB & also the Chamber of Commerce for their support this year. They have helped us find key allies and supporters. Outside of them, we’re appreciative for the university. People tell me they’re their own world, but they support the arts just as much as the locals. They have welcomed us with open arms! We have a great partnership with UPC and the Student Union. Also with Career Services, as our internship program is going into it’s 7th year. We’re also thankful for the Journalism and Mass Communication Department, and the guidance of Steve Smethers, who recently retired. He’s a great mentor and advisor to our organization. We’re so appreciative and grateful for so much. Come one, come all! 

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