Festival goers listen to a set performed by Toomey at Blue Moose during the Middle of Nowhere Festival on Saturday Sept. 2, 2017. The Middle of Nowhere Festival is a new music festival in Iowa City meant to showcase electronic dance music in Iowa and the Midwest. (Nick Rohlman/The Daily Iowan)

There’s no place like the Middle of Nowhere


The Middle of Nowhere Festival resonated with the sonorous echoes of DJs all over the city.

By Travis Coltrain


Sparks flew as electronic artists illuminated Iowa City’s weekend at the first-ever Middle of Nowhere Music Fest. The festival showcased the hub of electronic music this area used to be, and still can be, resonating with the echoes of DJs all over the city.

The new festival accompanied aspects of the famous South by Southwest Festival in Austin, Texas.

The Middle of Nowhere fest followed in South by Southwest’s footsteps by incorporating a multi-venue stage set-up. This not only made the festival itself seem bigger, it gave concert goers a chance to explore the city.

The festival featured venues such as Gabe’s, the Mill, Blue Moose, and Trumpet Blossom. While I ventured through these venues, I also found myself enjoying the city a way I hadn’t since I first arrived here. The city seemed to have the shimmer that it had the first night I was here.

From SassyBlack’s soulful performance at the Mill to Daedelus’ explosive show at Blue Moose, the festival was full of artists who demanded attention to the subgenres of electronica.

However, the pure talent hidden in electronic music was really shown through the experimental artists at the Trumpet Blossom showcase.

RELATED: Electronic music fest comes to IC

Throughout the night, most people watched the performers come and go at Trumpet Blossom; each of them as unique as the last, but none forced people out of their seats. 

The night ended on a different note thanks to Purcha$e, a local performer. He took to the stage, and suddenly, the crowd members took to their feet. While Trumpet Blossom itself isn’t a venue made for dancing, that didn’t stop any of Purcha$e’s fans. 

While performing original tracks, Purcha$e had a projector playing various images such as changing shapes and scenes from the 1988 animé movie Akira. Purcha$e’s performance seemed to revive the very aspect of electronic music the festival organizer’s were trying the create. 

I even got out of my seat and danced to his music. It was almost as if the vibrations of his beats were pulsating through my soul. As I watched the visuals to Akira, his music seemed to send me back to not only the very first time I saw the movie, but the very first time I heard electronic music.

While Purcha$e might have ended the festival at the same time as the headliner, Daedelus, Purcha$e put on a performance that rivaled and possibly even topped Daedelus’ despite playing for a smaller venue and crowd. Purcha$e, while just a regular performer, took away the festival for me and created the sound festival-goers were looking for.

Overall, the Middle of Nowhere fest revived the lost electronic scene in Iowa City for a weekend. While it still has a lot of growing to do, Middle of Nowhere went above and beyond my expectations of a first-year music festival.

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