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Cover Story

All summer long


Photo by Justin Rogers

Photo by Justin Rogers

It’s time for the best season of the year in Iowa, and we ain’t talking about summer: It’s festival season. All summer long (and into the fall and winter), cities and towns all over the Hawkeye State are going to be throwing parties. Indoor, outdoor, one-day or multiple, chances to see music of all kinds will have music-lovers spinning. And whether you want to stay close to home or take a little summer road trip, we’ve got you covered on all the basics in this Iowa music festival overview.

Just a couple of things to keep in mind, however: There are several festivals in the state that haven’t listed their lineups as of press time and several others that have only made partial announcements, so we can’t necessarily tell you every band that will be playing everywhere. Also, this isn’t meant to be a comprehensive list of every festival in the state, because… come on.

Those caveats aside, here’s a look at some of the multi-band goodness happening around our beautiful state this season.



Iowa State Fair

Foreigner headlines the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 12. Photo by Albert Harring

Foreigner headlines the Iowa State Fair on Aug. 12. Photo by Albert Harring

Location: Des Moines

Dates: Aug. 7-17

Tickets: $25-$49 Grandstand; four stages free with Fair admission

Website: www.iowastatefair.org

While not technically a music festival, it would be silly to have a list like this and not include the granddaddy of them all. Having first hosted music at least 137 years ago, the Iowa State Fair has moved around several times since its 1854 inception in Fairfield but has called Des Moines home since 1879. Spanning 10 days in the Iowa heat and boasting a Grandstand that’s on the National Register of Historic Places, the Iowa State Fair provides free and paid musical entertainment each day of its run. Ticket prices for the Grandstand events vary and can be found at the Fair’s website. As of press, no free stage acts had been yet announced. We’ll get to that in a future issue as the event approaches.LOGOIowa State Fair

2014 Lineup (Grandstand only): Newsboys, Aug. 7; Happy Together Tour, Aug. 8; Goo Goo Dolls w/ Daughtry and Plain White Ts, Aug. 9; Florida Georgia Line, Aug. 12; Jake Owen w/ Eli Young, Aug. 14; Chevelle w/ Haletorm, Aug. 15; Lady Antebellum, Aug. 16; Foreigner w/ Styx, Aug. 17.


Iowa City Music Scene Showcase

Location: Iowa City

Dates: May 9-10

Tickets: Free

Website: www.iowacitymusicscene.com

Now in its second iteration, the Showcase is a celebration of great musical acts hailing from Iowa City. Splitting its stages between two Iowa City venues — Gabe’s and the Yacht Club — the Showcase features more than a dozen of the city’s finest.

2014 Lineup: Yacht Club, May 9: Milk Duct Tape, Velcro Moxie, The Treats, Maiden Mars

Gabe’s, May 9: Mad Monks, Kevin Burt, Dave Zollo

Yacht Club, May 10: Item 9 & The Mad Hatters, Zeta June, The Oculus, Flannel Season, For Richer or Poorer

Gabes, May 10: OSG, Crystal City, Unnamed Acoustic



The Offspring headlines Lazerfest on May 11. Photo by Victoria Allen

The Offspring headlines Lazerfest on May 11. Photo by Victoria Allen

Location: Des Moines

Dates: May 11

Tickets: $39.50 advance (as of press time); $150 VIP

Website: www.lazerfest.lazer1033.com

Lazerfest, along with 80/35, is one of the two biggest events in central Iowa for music fans. Unlike every other festival on the list, Lazerfest crams all of its partying and madness into one insane day, hitting Fest-goers with 15 bands and two stages of action. Traditionally the bastion of Iowa’s hard rock and metal enthusiasts, Lazerfest is currently in its 10th iteration (there were none from 2004-06 and two in 2008). The Festival routinely brings 15,000-20,000 hard-rocking music fans together and is generally regarded as one of the better times to be had, rain or shine.LOGOlazerfest

2014 Lineup: Green Death, Chelsea Wolfe, Escape the Fate, Powerman 5000, J. Roddy Walston & The Business, We Came as Romans, Thousand Foot Krutch, The Pretty Reckless, Pop Evil, Machine Head, Adelita’s Way, Skillet, Theory of a Deadman, The Offspring, Queens of the Stone Age

UPDATED INFO: LAZERfest has been moved downtown Des Moines to Wells Fargo Arena on Sunday, May 11.
Tickets already purchased for the show will be honored, plus fans who haven’t bought tickets yet will have additional locations to purchase, including all Dahl’s Foods locations and the Wells Fargo Arena Box Office.
Tickets remain on sale now through all Ticketmaster outlets.  Tickets are $49.50 with fees prior to the show. Tickets will be $60 day of show.
For more information visit www.lazer1033.com.


Tree Town Music Festival

Toby Keith headlines America’s River Festival on May 25. Photo by Lenny Francioni

Toby Keith headlines Tree Town Music Festival on May 25. Photo by Lenny Francioni

Location: Forest City

Dates: May 23-25

Tickets: $75, Single Day General Admission; $140 Weekend GA; $500 Weekend VIP; $20 Parking

Website: www.treetownfestival.com

Kicking off its inaugural season this spring, the Tree Town Music Festival is making sure it opens with a bang in an effort to bring some of country music’s biggest names to Forest City for a three-day event. Taking place within the 91 acres of Heritage Park, Tree Town lists 17 acts on two stages (as of press time). Those ticket prices are no joke, making Tree Town easily the most expensive festival in the season, but for fans of country music, the stacked lineup may be well worth it.

LOGOtree town music festival2014 Lineup: Friday, May 23: David Ray, Megan Ellis, The Last Ride, Hali Hicks

Saturday, May 24: Brantley Gilbert, Scotty McCreery, Charlie Worsham, J.T. Hodges, Leah Turner, Brad Paisley

Sunday, May 25: Big Medicine, The Last Ride, Sarah Darling, Tyler Farr, David Nail, Chris Young, Toby Keith


America’s River Festival

Location: DubuqueLOGOAmerica's River Festival

Dates: June 13-14

Tickets: General Admission $15 single day advance, $20 single day at gate, $25 advance weekend pass; Reserved Seating $30 advance, $35 day of show; VIP $40

Website: www.americasriverfestival.com

Celebrating its 10th anniversary this summer, America’s River Festival takes place each June in the historic Port of Dubuque. Drawing 15,000-20,000 people annually to Iowa’s oldest city, the festival also serves as a chance for Dubuque to show off its completely renovated Port district — 60 acres of land on the banks of the Mississippi River that houses casinos, theaters, the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, as well as historic sites like the Shot Tower.

“This year we have seen an influx of people outside the area coming in for the entire weekend,” said Keith Rahe, president of the Dubuque Convention and Visitor Bureau. “Our ticket sales (come) from people from 17 different states and 230 different communities.”

2014 Lineup: Friday, June 13: Chasin’ Grace, Parmalee, Brett Eldredge

Saturday, June 14: Dubuque Upper Main Street Jazz Band, Gin Blossoms, Kevin Costner & Modern West, Joan Jett & The Blackhearts


Bash on the Farm

Location: Forest CityLOGOBash on the Farm

Dates: June 20-21

Tickets: Free

Website: www.bashonthefarm.com

Back to Heritage Park, almost exactly one month after hosting the Tree Town Festival, Forest City plays host to the 13th annual Bash on the Farm Music Festival. Boasting a gigantic lineup, Bash on the Farm presents nearly 50 of the nation’s top Christian rock, punk, pop and gospel acts across three stages and two days of action.

2014 Lineup: Friday, June 20: Farsighted, As We Are, Break the Fall, Sweet Ascent, 7eventh Time Down, Manic Drive, Type (A) Alert, Every Knee Shall Bow, Zealot, Lessons, I Cry Wolfe, With a Voice, Nine Lashes, Children 18:3, Time Will Tell, Lighthouse Band, The Dust of Men, Dawna Johnson, Evidence of Grace, McClellan Singing Sisters.

Saturday, June 21: Echo, 412, Josh Cutter, DNA, Tru-Serva, The Elim Arrival, Marah in the Mainsail, Bethany Joy Johnson, Unscene Patrol, Todd Agnew, As Clouds Break, ChugChugWob, Correlations, Sin Eater, Archers & Illuminators, The Widow, Dividing the Masses, Righteous Vendetta, Senseless Beauty, Morgan Roberts, Jennie Stiefel, Chad & Nathan, Gloria Nihart, Forgiven Quartet, The Loynachans, Crimson River, Don Shire, Damascus Road


80/35 Music Festival

Location: Des MoinesLOGO80-35

Dates: July 4-5

Tickets: $29 single day pass; $49 two-day pass

Website: www.2014.80-35.com

The other half of central Iowa’s two-headed music fest monster, 80/35 pulls in some 30,000 music-lovers every Fourth-of-July weekend. Now in its seventh season, the event is the jewel in the crown of the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition (DMMC). A unique feature among Iowa festivals is the fact that the paid admission is only required to visually access the main stage of the event. Each year the festival boasts two free stages of entirely local and regional talent, while the main stage features mostly national touring acts with some early bird local talent opening each day. The event also features local vendors, workshops, pre- and post-festival parties, as well as events and activities for children shuffling, shaking and strolling along the blocked-off streets of the downtown Gateway district.

2014 Lineup (main stage only; schedule times TBA): Quick Piss, Raz Simone, Aquamarine Dream Machine, GoodcaT, Kris Adams, Bonne Finken, Holy White Hounds, Brother Trucker, Twins, Chicago Farmer, Shy Boys, Parlours, Max Jury, Bum Rap, Xavier Rudd, Dawes, The Envy Corps, Caroline Smith, Dr. Dog, Best Coast, Ziggy Marley, Conor Oberst


Camp Euforia

Location: Lone TreeLOGOCamp Euforia

Dates: July 11-12

Tickets: $80 Early Bird Weekend Pass

Website: www.campeuforia.com

Billing itself as “Iowa’s premier independent music festival,” Camp Euforia is in its 11th year in tiny Lone Tree, about 25 minutes south of Iowa City. Founded by native Iowa City act Euforquestra as a fan appreciation party in 2004, the event has grown into a two-day jam and funk festival. Featuring side attractions like Saturday morning yoga sessions and fresh coffee with the Grosso Family Band, Camp Euforia is your best bet for finding people with homemade hula-hoops and hemp wardrobes.

2014 Lineup (schedule TBD): Euforquestra, Keller Williams, Cornmeal, Motet, Kyle Hollingsworth Band, Juno What?!, Head for the Hills, Jon Wayne and the Pain, Night Phoenix, Funkma$ter, The Grosso Family Band, Aaron Kamm & The One Drops, Natty Nation, Old Shoe, Mr Baber’s Neighbors, Dead Larry, Dr Z’s Experiment, FireSale, The Candymakers, Chris Gelbuda, Abbie & The Sawyers


Promise Land Music Festival

Location: Ottumwa

LOGOPromise land Music fest

Dates: July 11-12

Tickets: Free

Website: www.promiselandfest.com

Now in its third year, Promise Land Fest is the baby of Nathan Grooms, who founded Promise Land Ministries in 2012. As you can probably tell from the name, Promise Land is your second chance this summer to catch Christian bands in a family-friendly environment. Featuring attractions for children as well as workshops, speakers, a variety of vendors and some surprising headliners, considering the festival’s size and location, Promise Land packs a pretty serious punch into its two-day run time and does it all for no charge.

2014 Lineup: Piercing the Darkness, As We Are, Inner Rain, The Elim Arrival, The Protest Band, What Was Lost, Crimson River, Paul “Pdub” Williams, Silversyde, Jp Roquet, Jeff Arrandale, Crosstie, Break the Fall, Chris Day, Death and Desire, Tru Serva, Katie Danielle, Lastwatch, DJ Chris Van Dam, Dawna Johnson, Nine Lashes, The RED Jump Suit Apparatus, Scott Stapp


Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival

Location: Davenport

Dates: July 31–Aug. 3

Tickets: $30 Single Event Ticket, $55 One Day Pass, $150 “Bix Fan Special”, $180 “Bix Patron”; $20 Sunday Session Ticket, $30 Sunday Session with Brunch

Website: www.bixsociety.org

Now in its 42nd year, the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival — colloquially known as the “Bix Bash” — is Davenport’s ongoing tribute to its favorite native son. The mercurial Beiderbecke died of pneumonia at the age of 28 but not before leaving behind a trove of original jazz compositions. One of the most influential jazz soloists of his era, if not of all time, Beiderbecke’s legacy is carried on by the Bix Society, curators of the Memorial Jazz Festival. Every year, Davenport becomes a jazz Mecca, as thousands of jazz fans from around the globe convene on the banks of the Mississippi to revel in the Great American Medium.

2014 Lineup: Jim Cullum Jazz Band, Banu Gibson’s New Orleans Hot Jazz, The Fat Babies, Dave Bennett Quartet, Dan Levinson’s Roof Garden Jass Band, Peter & Will Anderson Sextet, Josh Duffee & His Graystone Monarchs, Josh Duffee Orchestra, River City 6, The Jimmy Valentine Quintet, Five Bridges Jazz Band, The Tony Hamilton Orchestra, Rock River Jazz Band, Basin Street Boys, Jim Buennig & Friends, Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Youth Jazz Band


National Old Time Country Bluegrass and Old Time Folk Music Festival

Location: Lemars

Dates: Aug. 25-31

Tickets: $15 day pass, Monday–Thursday; $20 day pass, Friday–Sunday; $70 seven-day pass

Website: www.ntcma.net

I’m not going to tell anyone how to run his or her business, I’ll just say that including the phrase “old time” in the title of your festival — twice — is an interesting decision. Still, in its 39th year, the Old Time Country Festival is an absolutely mammoth undertaking. Spanning a full seven days, the festival features 10 stages and more than 650 performers. In addition to traditional folk and country acts, the festival features stages for autoharp, dulcimer, cowboy poets and Carl Sandburg readings, as well as an extensive list of “celebrities” scheduled to attend. Celebrity attendees this year will run the gamut from John Carter Cash to LuLu Roman of “Hee Haw” fame, and my personal favorite, Dr. Stuart Frank, curator of the New Bedford Whaling Museum, singing sea chanties.

2014 Lineup: Nope. Just go to the website and look for yourself. CV

Chad Taylor is an award-winning news journalist and music writer from Des Moines who would love to take his talents abroad if the rent were not so much more affordable in Des Moines.

But wait, there’s more! Not every festival had its lineup announced by the time we went to print. Here’s a brief list of some other fests to keep an eye out for:
Des Moines Arts Festival, Des Moines, June 27-29, www.desmoinesartsfestival.org
Waukeye Music Event, Waukee, July 19, www.facebook.com/waukeyemusicevent
Bushwak Music Festival, St Charles, Aug. 29-31, www.facebook.com/bushwakFEST
Maximum Ames Music Festival, Ames, Sept. 18-21, www.maximumames.com/
Iowa City Jazz Festival, Iowa City, July 3-5, http://www.summerofthearts.org/festival-menu/jazz-festival/about.aspx
Iowa Soul Festival, Iowa City, Sept. 19-21, http://www.summerofthearts.org/festival-menu/iowa-soul-festival/about.aspx


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