DIY festival Midnitefest showcases local Los Angeles musicians

Four different musical artists in three hours, each with uniquely different audiences and indie and alternative sounds, for the purpose of showcasing local talent– this is Midnitefest.

Midnitefest was a DIY festival created by musicians Miles Platt and Jacob Rodier and performed at Hollywood’s Bourbon Room. It took place on Dec. 22, 2022, and showcased performances from four artists/bands: True Jackson, Smilley, Skirtboy, Monday at Midnight. The idea for Midnitefest first appeared in June 2021 when Platt pitched the idea to Rodier. The festival lay dormant and went on a brief hold as both Platt and Rodier were in college.

“After we went on a mini-break for college, Jacob came back to me with the idea that we should move forward with Midnitefest as a fun event during winter break that all of our friends could come to since everyone would ideally be back in LA for the holidays,” Platt said. “Jacob and I spent months working out all of the details.”

 

The first artist of the night to perform was indie and pop rock artist True Jackson. Platt reached out to Jackson through social media and asked her if she could perform. She “loves shows,” so she obviously agreed to play at the festival.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity. I also thought that the set up of this event was very smooth and I wanted to be a part of it to bring it to life,” Jackson said.

Next to perform was indie-bedroom rock artist Smilley, which is Platt’s solo project. Following him was the 4-piece band Skirtboy, composed of Bennet Wyler, Genu Lee, Jo Catt, and Jahvon Morse. Finally, Monday at Midnight, composed of Platt, Rodier, John Hogan, and Ben Gold, took the stage to give the festival a memorable ending.

Jackson’s favorite moment of her performance was playing her new song, “Maybe I Don’t Wanna Know.”

Similar to Jackson, Rodier and Skirtboy band member Wyler said that performing their new and unreleased songs were the highlights of their performances.

“My favorite moment was when our [Monday at Midnight’s] singer and rhythm guitarist, John Hogan, jumped into the crowd during our unreleased song ‘Sunburnt.’ The audience joined him in a mosh pit as he danced around while the rest of our band was playing the instrumental break section of the song,” Rodier said. “The energy of that moment was insane and seeing the crowd interact with us and our music like that was amazing to see.”

While Platt does not have a single moment that stuck with him from his performance, he was proud of his ability to overcome technical difficulties while on stage. He also enjoyed interacting with the audience and making the members feel part of the show, not simply observers.

“I fully believe that audiences should feel like they’re part of the show, or at least feel seen when attending a show, so I love including the audience in banter and in the show,” Platt said. “Every set, I have a moment while introducing ‘The Siren Song’ where I split the crowd into three sections and have them layer harmonies repeat-after-me style. It’s always a great time and the crowds are always really great at singing and catching on, which is always fun.”

While Platt and Rodier both had performance highlights, their favorite moment came from being the organizers of the event. This moment was seeing the “Welcome to Midnitefest” graphic lit up as the backdrop to the stage.

“My favorite, overall moment was when I walked into the main stage room and saw the graphic we made programmed into the LED screen on the back wall of the stage. Seeing the full set up of the stage and room was such a gratifying and fulfilling feeling because it made me realize that Midnitefest actually went from just a random idea to a full-fledged, real event,” Rodier said.

Along with seeing the graphic, Platt was excited to finally have his dream pre-show playlist be heard in a concert setting. He made the playlist in 2019 when he first realized that he wanted to pursue a career in music.

“As the years went on and I kept pursuing music, I also kept adding to that pre-show playlist and it kept growing. On the night of the show, I gave that playlist to the sound guy and that playlist that was once only a fantasy became a reality,” Platt said. “I had a moment backstage of ‘Oh my god, you really did it. That dream you had as a fifteen-year-old really came true and it’s happening right now. You did it.’”

Platt loved organizing the event and plans to do more in the future, continuing to foster and be in a supportive environment for local musicians. To him, the show was a “dream come true.”

“I felt very lucky to be in such a supportive space that I could share with other artists and people who love alternative and indie music. I love giving people a spectacle and I hope they left that night with an experience they wouldn’t forget and I love giving other bands a platform to perform and spread their art on,” Platt said. “All in all, it was a 10/10 experience for everyone.”

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