80/35 is a yearly 2 day music festival held downtown Des Moines at the Western Gateway Park and it will be held on July 7th and 8th this year. With both free and paid stages, you’ll easily find something you’ll enjoy. The following are reasons for those who have never been to 80/35 to consider giving it a try.
- People Watching- It will truly be shocking to see so many types of people that are drawn to this festival. There’s former/current hippies, there’s electro music fans, men with ironic beards and men with just beards. This is the second best place in Des Moines behind the fair to people watch because you will truly see every type of person there. The fashions will vary from the every day nothing special to elaborate homemade outfits. Even if you don’t like the music, you will at least see interesting people.
- The Music- the 80/35 organizers really make an effort to bring in popular bands as well as those who aren’t as well known. This year has The Shins and the MGMT scheduled to perform at the main stage. Former acts to play at 80/35 include the Flaming Lips, Modest Mouse and Weezer. Each year has only gotten better with booking popular artists and as this event grows we’ll attract more and more of them.
- Des Moines is showing we’re not a bunch of fuddy duddies- The festival brings in roughly 30,000 people to it each year. That’s helping Des Moines and Iowa be known to those outside of our state that we offer cultural events worth driving to Des Moines for. Let’s be honest, when you think of Des Moines, you don’t think of electro music or a music festival that would attract quite that many people. Festivals like this give Des Moines and Iowa something else to be known for besides being the first caucus state in the nation every 4 years.
- The festival is nearly 100% volunteer operated- What other large festival like this is completely run by volunteers who love music enough to work in the heat of July for free? The Greater Des Moines Music Coalition organizes the event and is a 501(c)(3) non profit whose purpose is to bring more diverse live music to Des Moines. Everyone who is involved in organizing and running the event are doing this for the sheer love of both music and Des Moines.
- This year has a Fantastical Music Wonderland- They aren’t giving much clues as to how this theme will be played out during the festival but it’s safe to assume they’re going to go all in for making this rival the recent Alice in Wonderland movies.
- Mainstage tickets are cheap- A two day pass costs $80/per person. A single day pass costs just $45. Just to give an idea of how much nearby festivals are charging, the Basilica festival in Minneapolis charges $60 a night and $100 for both nights. The Eaux Claires Music and Arts festival charges $135/two day pass. We have as good if not the same performers as these festivals and they’re charging more to see them plus you have to worry about driving to Eau Claire, Wisconsin and all of the expenses that go with a road trip.
For more information about 80/35, click here.