For the fifth year in a row, Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest will bring more than 120 bands to Kansas City. But for the first time, the festival, which runs April 22-25, will spread over four days.
The first two days of the festival will feature shows at the Uptown Theater. Wednesday night, OK Go will headline a bill with the reunited Republic Tigers, who have not performed in almost four years, plus an opener to be named later. Thursday night, Iron and Wine will headline a bill with Strand of Oaks, Madisen Ward & the Mama Bear and Sean Rowe.
Friday and Saturday nights, the festival moves to Westport, where more than 100 bands will perform at an outdoor stage, the RecordBar, Ernie Biggs, the Westport Saloon and the Riot Room and Riot Room patio.
Among the bands and artists performing in Westport: Atmosphere, Lord Huron, Peter Hook & the Light (performing Joy Division’s “Unknown Pleasures” and “Closer”), Murder By Death, Ben Kweller, Magic Man, William Elliott Whitmore, the Slackers, Open Mike Eagle, Four Fists, Phox and Shiner, who has not performed in Kansas City in 12 years.
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A limited number of four-day passes is on sale now at middleofthemapfest.com. A regular four-day pass is $75. A four-day VIP pass is $125. It includes access to a preferred viewing area at the Uptown and the outdoor stage, plus other amenities. If the four-day passes don’t sell out, single-day tickets will be available at a later date.
The move to the Uptown was a matter of logistics, said Nathan Reusch of the Record Machine, a Kansas City record label that is one of the festival’s curators.
“We really loved using the Uptown Theater when we had Grizzly Bear in 2013 but felt like it diverted our flow from Westport shows,” he said. “We wanted to try it again, so we wanted to approach things differently this year with having things kick off at the Uptown and then return to Westport on the weekend.”
It is among several changes for the festival. Nearly three-fourths of the lineup has not performed at Middle of the Map, Reusch said.
“We really have made an attempt to push ourselves to not just try to re-do the same lineup every year,” he said. “We have over 70 percent new bands this year.
“We expanded our hip-hop lineup from last year. We added Atmosphere to the main stage and have acts like Open Mike Eagle and Four Fists, who will be one of those things that only happen at Middle of the Map Fest. It is the side project of P.O.S. (of Doomtree) and Astronautalis that has only played a handful of times ever.
“We added a day and did our best to add in even more music to consume. At $75 our ticket for four days really is a value. Not too many other festivals in the USA have 120-plus bands and that cheap of a ticket.”
A complete lists of bands is available at middleofthemapfest.com. A schedule of times and venues is forthcoming.
A limited number of four-day passes to Ink’s Middle of the Map Fest are on sale now. A regular four-day pass is $75. It includes admission to the Wednesday and Thursday shows at the Uptown Theater plus all shows in Westport on Friday and Saturday. A VIP four-day pass is $125. It includes admission to all shows, plus preferred viewing at the Uptown Theater and the outdoor stage in Westport.