If you thought Middle Waves was big last year, wait until you see what’s in store for Sept. 15 and 16, 2017.
“We’re kind of ramping everything up. We have more national acts this year than we did last year,” spokesperson Emma McCarron said. “We’re taking everyone’s comments from last year and just building on top of it to make it even better.”
Guests will see improvements this year to the building blocks of an event — safety, infrastructure and accessibility — as well as to the VVIP (very, very important person) experience, which this year will include dinner both evenings from the Deck, drink tokens, a “swag bag” and a better viewing area of the stage, McCarron said.
The third stage will also be larger for 2017 and there will be more experiences and art installations that people can interact with for free, she said.
“A lot of people last year didn’t realize two-thirds of the festival was free,” McCarron said.
In addition to experiences and art installations, there will be two stages, food trucks, vendors and opportunities for adult beverages in the larger community area.
Those two stages will include national as well as local acts, McCarron added.
“Anywhere around the festival you’re going to have a good time. … We just want everybody to come down, no matter what you want to do or what you want to pay,” she said.
Headlining all the acts is Grammy-nominated American psychedelic rock band MGMT.
Though some may be surprised a band this big would appear in Middle Waves’ second year, McCarron said people too often sell Fort Wayne short for big-name acts.
“Fort Wayne is a bigger town than people assume. Fort Wayne is already cool enough to have these kind of things; you just have to believe it and it happens,” she said.
The festival will also feature a slew of local bands, none of which are repeats from the 2016 concert, McCarron said.
“We have an amazing music scene here. We have so many different bands. Last year was just the tip of the iceberg,” she said. “We aren’t even going to be able to cover all the Fort Wayne bands in the second year.”
While Middle Waves strives to focus on non-Top 40s bands, the genres have a good range, from “folk to soul to pop rock, hip hop, electric, metal [and] punk,” McCarron explained.
“We just wanted to highlight as much local talent as we could because there’s so much of it in so many different genres,” she added.
Overall, the goal of Middle Waves remains the same: highlight the momentum going in Fort Wayne.
“We want Fort Wayne to be a destination that people aren’t going to just drive by on their way from Indy to Detroit, Chicago to Cincinnati. … We can be a destination for all these bigger acts,” McCarron said. “In our reviews from last year, [people were saying] I’m so proud to actually live in a place where people are committed to making it better and more fun and an exciting place to live and we strive for that.”