If you enjoy a variety of live music and don’t mind large crowds of people, the Middle of the Map Fest is the gig for you. This annual two-day jam fest sponsored by Ink Magazine happens every October and features between 50 and 100 artists playing anything from blues to pop and rock to punk. You may even hear some country or blues music here. No matter what you like, if you like music, you will enjoy this festival.
The Middle of the Map Fest started in 2012 with a handful of artists in a parking lot in Kansas City that drew a bit of a crowd. It has grown to hundreds of artists taking over a whole city block to share the unique artists in the Midwest area. Multiple venues take part in this event in Downtown Kansas City. Its sister fest, the Middle of the Map Film Fest, usually held earlier in the year, is also held nearby.
Fans are not likely to find a music festival bigger than this in the Kansas City area and none with more of a variety of diverse music. Whether you are a soft rock, soul, or punk music fan, you are going to love this fest. Not to mention that the setting is perfect in the middle of the country and is surrounded by fabulous restaurants, hotels, and bars. So, pack up the RV and head to the middle of the map.
Tickets for the Middle of the Map Fest range from about $10 for a basic single day floor ticket to over $100 for a VIP meet and greet package for the whole weekend. This is a great deal for a plethora of great jams with more than 50 bands. The VIP pass includes personal meetings with the band members as well as early admission, photos with the bands, a specially designed hat, and much more.
Middle of the Map utilizes multiple venues in the downtown area, so be sure to note if your favorite performers will be in different locations a few miles apart or not. Just a few miles from Kansas City, Kansas, 2.5 hours from Springfield, Missouri, and 3.5 hours from St. Louis, the main venue location of Crossroads KC at Grinders sits on 18th Street right off U.S. Highway 71. Being right in the middle of the country makes this an easy event to get to from almost anywhere. You may take Interstates 70, 35, 29, or 49 from your starting location.
If you have the VIP package, you get free parking right next to the Crossroads KC at Grinders. There are no limitations on height or length, so parking your RV here should not be an issue. If you do not have VIP passes, there are quite a few parking choices in the area. The closest include SP+ Parking on Grand and 19th Street, Walnut Street Parking on 19th and Walnut, and Crown Center Parking on McGee and 22nd Street. Length and height limits vary so you should check with the parking lot owners for more information.
If you are planning to leave your rig at a campsite or resort, there are several public transportation choices. The Kansas City Area Transportation Authority (KCATA) provides bus and streetcar services to anywhere in the Kansas City area and has stops in strategic places all over the city. You can also use the local cab or try a private transportation app.
Since the Middle of the Map Fest is in the middle of a large and busy city, there is no place to camp on the grounds. However, you will find dozens of campgrounds and RV resorts in the area.
Just a few miles from the fun you will find several places to park the RV for the night or the weekend. Some of these places offer their own style of camping fun, and you may want to stay even longer. Most of the campgrounds and all of the RV parks accommodate RVs and trailers up to 50 feet or more in length, so you will have options. Amenities range from basic primitive spots with vault toilets and no water access to full hookups, showers, a pool, fishing and swimming, playgrounds, and more. It is best to reserve a spot in advance since these spots fill up fast during festival weekends.
A few of the parking lots in the area provide free shuttle service. However, there are many that do not have shuttles, which means you will have to walk or call for a ride if you choose one of those. If you decide to leave your motorhome at the campsite and take public transportation, you should still be able to get dropped off near the Crossroads KC.
Kansas City in October can range from the upper 80s to the low 40s. As they say, the weather in Missouri is subject to change with no notice. Therefore, you need to pack for any kind of weather since this event takes place as fall is settling into the area. Some light t-shirts, shorts, and tank tops can be packed along with some long-sleeved shirts, jeans, and jackets. Comfortable shoes are recommended as you will probably be walking and dancing to your favorite artists.
You can bring a bag or backpack to carry a jacket, water, snacks, etc. but security at the Crossroads and the other venues may need to search it before you go into the concerts. Do not bring alcohol, drugs, or any other illegal items. You are asked not to bring a camera but are allowed to use your phone for taking pics and videos.
Wear layers just in case you need to take some off or put more on, depending on the weather. It is an outdoor festival for the most part so you may want to bring sunblock, a hat or scarf, sunglasses, and bug spray. No weapons are allowed on the grounds, but you can bring a small first aid kit just in case or leave supplies in your camper.
Cooking at your campsite depends on the amenities where you are staying, so be sure to pack accordingly. For example, if there are no hookups but they have grills, you can bring charcoal or a camp stove. Be sure to bring plenty of extra fuel and water just in case the campsite does not have hookups. While you can shop for replenishments in the area, you may find it preferable to stock up before you enter the vicinity of the busy city.
Besides Grinders that is associated with the festival, there are a plethora of other eateries to choose from in the area. Hungry travelers will find yummy and unique tacos, classic burgers, and plenty of other diverse and healthy food selections in the Downtown Kansas City area. Fill your belly, enjoy a beverage with friends, and head to Middle of the Map Fest contended, or look to enjoy a treat there as well.
Some of the vendors at the Middle of the Map Fest include Grinders, the sub and pizza bar; the Brick burger bar; the Record Bar, which serves all kinds of food from pitas to nachos; Messenger Coffee, which boasts excellent gourmet coffee and baked goods; and Songbird Café, which has artisan, vegan, and organic foods.
Security at the Middle of the Map Fest include volunteers, bouncers from local bars, and off-duty police officers from nearby stations. You will not have to worry about being hassled by either the patrons or security staff while you are jamming with the bands as they are there to support the event's success. However, if you need help and cannot see anyone nearby, you can always call 911 from your cell phone.
You never know what you are going to get as far as weather goes in Kansas City in October. It may still be summertime temperatures in the 80s and 90s, but the area could also experience an early cold front with temps in the low 40s and 50s. It is best to prepare for anything and check the local weather often in the days leading up to the festival.
There will be a first aid station nearby if needed, or you can call 911 in an emergency. If you need to make a trip to a medical facility, the closest one is the Ku Med Center General Hospital on 12th Street and Truman Medical Center Hospital Hill on Holmes Street. Pharmacy services are available within a 20-minute drive of the main venue areas.