Sunday, July 6, 2008

Summer Music Festivals Rock!

Des Moines, you outdid yourself this time! Okay, Des Moines Music Coalition, YOU did outdid yourself. But without the support of the city it would have failed. It says a lot about the the city that it'd back such a huge event in the heart of the city. It should go far toward your goal of attracting and retaining young professionals in the state. Okay, enough of the serious stuff.

80/35 Music Festival was outstanding! This 2 day music festival took place in the Western Gateway Park in Des Moines and it was the perfect setting. The big green space with the Des Moines skyline in the background and the clear blue skies overhead were wonderful and added to the already cool vibe of the event. The mainstage occupied the majority of the green space in the park, but there were a variety of vendors along the side streets as well. The mainstage was for ticketholders only but the two side stages and all of the outside events and vendors were free to the public.

Also in the mainstage area was a DJ stage that featured a variety of DJs during and in between shows on the mainstage. The diversity in the musical acts at the festival provided entertainment that would appeal to almost anyone. Jamgrass (Jam Band + Bluegrass = Jam Grass), Hip Hop, eclectic rock, indie, jazz, etc. Also adding to the fun was the people watching that was awesome due to the variety of people drawn to the festival by the diversity of the acts.

Oh, but one of the greatest things about the festival is something that other festivals around the country could learn from. Reasonable prices! First of all, they didn't sell shitty beer. They sold only beer from Olde Main Brewing Company in Ames, IA. One quick note...micro brews all day will mess you up. But it's a sneak attack. I was all good all day....then I had that one last Scottish Ale and it pushed me right over the precipice from tipsy to wasted. In talking to some other friends of mine, they had some similar experiences. Which, actually, isn't a bad thing. It would take me a whole lot of $5 Bud Light 16oz beers at most festivals to even hit the tipsy stage. The first day of the festival, I spent $20 on 6 beers and that's all I needed. It definitely snuck up on me though. Anywho, the moral of this story is that 3 for $10 beer, $1 water, huge pulled pork sandwiches for $4, much needed popsicles for $1, the list goes on. They didn't price gouge the festival-goers like most festival organizers even though with blazing sun and minimal shade they could have easily scored lots of cash from dehydrated people. The simple fact that people could afford the festival made it that much more appealing. A two day pass was only $40 and I managed to make it through both days with food, beer, and CDs and only spent $60 more. That to me is a successful event. Oh, and they let us bring in our own bottled

Even pale redheaded people can have fun at outdoor concerts. Thanks to diligent sunscreen application, I walked away with only minimal sunburn! Not bad for someone that can fry in 10 minutes outside without sunscreen. :) The photo on the left is of me (bottom) and my friend Jess. This was on day one before we had spent much time outside, but I ended the festival only slightly more pink than I started. Good times had by all!

Overall, the festival was fantastic and I look forward to the 2nd annual festival next year. Great Job Des Moines Music Coalition! I'm excited you guys got such a huge turnout and I'm excited to see what you guys come up with for next year!

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