Dog is one of 15 bands slated to play the
Lot Dog Music Festival in the East Village
on Saturday, Aug. 27, along with Particle
and Tea Leaf Green.
By Michael Swanger
Three years ago, 29-year-old musician and graphic
designer Steve Pellow left his native San Francisco
to move to Des Moines to tend to his ailing
mother with the intention of staying a few months.
Three years later, he remains here by his mother's
side, but along the way he has since formed
a popular local jam band, Omega Dog; met a girl;
established a network of like-minded musicians;
and created a production company that will launch
a new music festival in Des Moines this weekend.
On Saturday, Aug. 27, Pellow's Omega Dog Productions
will host the first annual Lot Dog Music Festival
from noon to 11 p.m. at his Northland Studios,
621 E. Des Moines St., in the East Village.
The outdoor/indoor event includes performances
by 15 national and local jam bands like Particle,
Tea Leaf Green and Floodplane on three stages,
as well as a live art show, food and an after-party
at People's Court.
"Me and the drummer got an itch to start
a festival, then everybody grabbed onto the
idea, and it took off," said Pellow, who
credits the assistance of a small core group
of people for helping him to organize the event.
"At first, we thought it might attract
a couple hundred people, but now we're looking
at as many as 1,500 people."
Lot Dog, which Pellow says will cost about $48,000
to produce, is just one result of his boundless
entrepreneurial spirit and energy. While touring
with his band, Omega Dog, he has met and aided
several musicians within the friendly jam band
scene throughout the Midwest, helping them to
secure gigs in Iowa for a nominal fee. Along
the way, he has also formed a production company
to promote local groups like Floodplane, Mr.
Baber's Neighbors and The Workshy.
"Our goal is to bring more attention to
the Des Moines music scene. There are a number
of talented local bands that people need to
know about, and we want to bring in some big
name national acts to perform," he said.
"We're trying to lift everyone up in the
Beyond booking bands, Pellow wants to help develop
them. From designing their websites and arranging
promotional materials, to building a recording
studio and launching an independent record label,
Pellow has big plans. Meanwhile, he's searching
for a building in Des Moines big enough to accommodate
"Right now, we're looking at buying a building
where we can house everything and make sure
that business-wise everything is taken care
of," he said. "We want to give bands
resources to help themselves."
Along the way, Pellow plans to give back to
"Right off the top, we're donating $5,000
to VSA from proceeds from Lot Dog," he
said. "Our production company is also going
to donate money to benefit no-kill animal shelters."
Later this fall, Pellow adds, he hopes to bring
the popular jam band Rusted Root to town for
a concert. Next year, he hopes to expand the
Lot Dog Music festival into a two-day camping
music event at the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
"We're going to stay here and continue
to grow," he said. CV
Lot Dog Music Festival
When: Saturday, Aug. 27, noon - 11 p.m.
Where: Northland Studios, 621 E. Des Moines
Tickets: $30 general admission, $50 VIP at
ODP Stage: The Sheet (12:45 p.m.), Shoeless
Revolution (3 p.m.), Stoney Holiday (5 p.m.),
The Workshy (6:30 p.m.). Omega Dog (8 p.m.),
Tea Leaf Green (9:30 p.m.), Particle (11:10
MoRub Stage: Blue Martin Tribe (noon), Heatbox
(1:30 p.m.), Truth Be Told (4:15 p.m.), Mr.
Baber's Neighbors (5:45 p.m.), Mooseknuckle
VSA Stage (free): Still Shine Railroad (2 p.m.),
Geoffrey Stafford (4 p.m.), Floodplane (6 p.m.)
After-party: On the Run performs at People's
Court. Free to VIPs, $5 for ticket holders,