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Improving the product


Lipstick Homicide is one of 18 bands that will play Gross Domestic Product on Saturday, April 12. See for more details.

Lipstick Homicide is one of 18 bands that will play Gross Domestic Product on Saturday, April 12. See for more details.

The Des Moines Music Coalition has often preached the concept of inclusion and unity — helping to promote music of all styles and genres. Then it has often turned around and continued to promote the same acts that it promoted the year before. But this year could be different. Yes, 2014 could be the year that the DMMC starts to live up to its grand and largely untapped potential.

Because this year, Chris Ford made some fundamental changes to the festival selection process, and the result might just be the greatest lineup of Iowa-based acts the DMMC has ever assembled.

Gross Domestic Product will move again, making a three-year migration from Hotel Fort Des Moines in 2012 to Java Joes and Vaudeville Mews on Fourth Street last year, to Wooly’s, House of Bricks and the Beechwood Lounge in the East Village this year. The 2014 GDP features a lineup chosen in a manner that’s seemingly counter-intuitive to silencing the DMMC’s naysayers.

In the past, the DMMC has been an openly democratic institution. Public listening parties were held where anyone could drop in and hear the bands that had submitted for each festival, and everyone was encouraged to place a vote for his or her favorite choices. This year, the DMMC removed all of that, and a closed committee selected 15 of the 18 bands comprising the lineup. Only three opened up to “community choice.”

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And while there will always be bickering about individual selections, there’s no denying one thing: This year’s lineup — Tim Stop, Media Fresh, Max Jury, Parranderos Latin Combo, Parlours, Holy White Hounds, Sky Patrol, Dylan Sires and Neighbors, Lipstick Homicide, Love Songs for Lonely Monsters, Chad Elliott, Rumble Seat Riot, Dark Mirror, North of Grand, MAIDS, Marybeth Doran, Omens and Ira Grace and the Bible Belt Prophets — adds up to be the most diverse array of acts the DMMC has ever put together. In comparison to years past, it stands as a seismic shift in the scope of acts that the Coalition has supported and promoted.

There will still be people who complain, of course — there always will be — but for everyone else, this week’s festival should stand as a giant step in the right direction and an excellent opportunity for music lovers to do what the DMMC has professed to do all along: Celebrate music in Des Moines. CV

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