How did 80/35 begin?
A decade ago downtown Des Moines was almost lifeless. Few promoters booked shows. Small venues had poor turnout. And acts simply passed by on the way to Chicago or Minneapolis.
In 2004, the non-profit Des Moines Music Coalition was founded with the goal of creating a live music economy and reenergizing the city. The centerpiece? A major urban music festival.
In its inaugural year, 2008, 80/35 placed Des Moines on the national music map as a progressive force with headliners The Flaming Lips and The Roots. Since then, iconic acts including Wu-Tang Clan, David Byrne & St. Vincent, Avett Brothers, Dinosaur Jr., Ben Harper, Girl Talk, Modest Mouse, Death Cab for Cutie and dozens more have rocked the city.
Now, nearly 35,000 music fans flock to Des Moines each year for 80/35 from places as far away as Hawaii, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Florida and New Mexico to rock with legendary acts on the main stage and to discover up-and-coming local/regional acts on two free stages.
Now downtown bustles with teens, young professionals and couples enjoying live shows. National acts are booked regularly. Regional acts stop to play. Venues have popped up. And local bands are touring Europe.
80/35 is more than a music festival. It’s a rally to celebrate the resurgence of creative inspiration in our city.
What’s 80/35 like? This year, 80/35 promises to be a fantastic musical odyssey for brave space rangers ready to explore the supersonic frontier. A progressive interplanetary party, 80/35 is a go for launch with superstar headliners, astronomical regional acts and cosmically cool local bands. The seventh annual 80/35 is set for Friday, July 4 and Saturday, July 5 in Western Gateway Park, Des Moines, IA.
In addition to the rocket-powered music, 80/35 propels sonic space travelers through entire galaxies of stellar art activities, DIY booths, meet & greet tents, a kids’ play zone and more. And music fans can fuel up and chow down on the best food and drinks from right here in Iowa.
Where is it?
80/35 is in the heart of downtown Des Moines, IA, specifically, Western Gateway Park at 12th and Locust.
Although the park is in the city, you’ll find plenty of green space for walking, relaxing or just sitting and enjoying the show.
The perfect setting for a progressive feel-good fest, 80/35 is a few blocks from the famous restaurants and bars in the Court Avenue District and just down the street from the friendly art galleries and neighborhood pubs on Ingersoll Ave.
What types of music? Brave space troopers will be launched into orbital bliss as 80/35 2014 features more than 50 superstars from around the nation—all of which will have your head bobbing, your feet moving and your boosters rocketing. From iconic indie acts and folk rock favorites, to sweet songwriters and funky jam bands, 80/35 is made for futuristic explorers of all ages and genres. And, to prove we’re onboard, much of the melodious music is absolutely free, including regional and local acts.
What’s with the name?
80/35 is the famous junction of two prominent interstates (I-80 and I-35) that meet at the corners of Des Moines. Locals call it eighty-thirty-five. We figured it’s the perfect name for a fest that brings together a variety of music genres, musicians and people.
What were previous 80/35 fests like?
In 2008 Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips crowd surfed in a ginormous plastic bubble while Teletubbies danced. In 2009 Ben Harper and the Relentless 7 electrified the main stage and dazzled fans for nearly two hours. In 2010 headliners Modest Mouse and Spoon made rain-soaked revelers happy to dance in the mud. In 2011 electrifying acts Girl Talk and Of Montreal whipped the crowd into a dance frenzy of delight. In 2012 indie darlings Death Cab for Cutie and Avett Brothers happily rocked the city under the stars. In 2013 David Byrne & St. Vincent started a love affair with our city and Wu-Tang brought out heavy-hitting beats.
In short, 80/35 will send you on a fantastic musical odyssey. Now, suit up and set a course for the stars by checking out these pictures from previous 80/35 fests.