words and interview by Thomas Michalski
Though the world’s largest music festival has come and gone for another year, that doesn’t mean the party’s over. This is the city of festivals after all, and though the options are many, there’s always room for one more, especially one with a line-up as tight and filler-free as the 1st annual Midwest Express, which takes over Riverwest’s Quarter’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Palace this Thursday. We talked to organizer Joseph Peterson to get the full story.
What was the inspiration for Midwest Express?
The main reason this started was that there’s a festival in Chicago called Bitchpork, and there’s bands coming from all around the country to play that. I’ve been thinking of setting something like this up for a long time, and this kind of worked out to give those bands another opportunity to play a show in the area. Instead of just hanging out in Chicago they can come play another show in front of different people who may not be able to get to Chicago for Bitchpork.
What was your approach to booking bands?
Most of the bands that are playing are Cooper’s (member: Warhammer 48K, Cave) friends, there’s another great band called Fungi Girls from Texas that was looking for a show on the same day, so that just kind of worked out. As far as the local bands went, they’re bands I thought would fit with the touring bands and that I really enjoyed. In the future I want to keep doing this, where I invite the bands; seek them out try and get them here, then get Milwaukee moving a little bit.
Where do you want to take the fest over the next few years?
I just have to wait until this happens to see what I can improve on. I don’t really know how it’s going to go. I’m hoping it will be successful; it’s all planned to be successful, now it just has to happen.
You’re not announcing the playing order until the day of the show. Why?
We’re doing that so people come out and maybe check out some of the bands they wouldn’t see normally, to avoid the whole “you guys play at 10:00, I’m going to come at 10:00 and leave at 11:00” thing. It’s a good way to get people there early and hopefully to stay for the whole thing.
At the end of the day, what do you want to accomplish with the fest?
My main goal is to bring music to Milwaukee that people may not have heard of and just try and broaden people’s views on what good music is. The city, I think, needs it. Things get pretty old pretty fast.
So, new blood?
New blood, baby.
The 1st Annual Midwest Express takes place on Thursday, July 14 at Quarter’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Palace (900 E. Center Street) at 6 p.m. and features performances from Busy Bodies (MKE), Fungi Girls (Cleburne, TX), Jealousy (Oakland, CA), Holy S***! (MKE), The Trusty Knife (MKE), Warhammer 48K (Columbia, MO) & Andy Cigarettes (????,??), as well as a BBQ and raffle.