Fare thee well, Des Moines3/31/2015
For nearly a quarter of a century, Cityview has been a must-read destination for Des Moines’ music lovers. And for the past three-and-a-half years, I have been afforded the great honor of being the person responsible for that coverage. It has been an amazing ride, one full of wonderful people, one-of-a-kind stories and a lifetime of memories. But now, sadly, it is over.
The landscape of local music in the capital city is changing, and Cityview must change with it. That is why the decision was recently made to halt all of Cityview’s music coverage, beginning immediately. There was some talk of eliminating the print coverage and keeping some form of music writing online, but ultimately, that, too, was scrapped. Rest assured, however, that it was not due to a lack of desire: frankly, after some hard soul searching, we came to the decision that there just would not be that much worth covering in the future.
The city’s music venue issues have been well bandied about in this forum and in social media. With the closing of the Hull Avenue Tavern and House of Bricks, coupled with the closing of Raccoon River Brewery later this spring, the options for seeing quality music in a quality setting have been greatly diminished in Des Moines. Des Moines may soon see itself with just one quality venue in the downtown corridor.
Des Moines is shifting away from local music. 80/35’s big draws are the touring acts; the new Hinterland Music Festival features nary a single local band; the soon-to-be lone dedicated music venue in town — Wooly’s — makes the vast majority of its money from national acts playing through. Events like 515 Alive, Gross Domestic Product, Little BIG Fest and the Turner Jazz Series have consistently failed to stoke the popular imagination, while venues like the Fremont, Greenwood Lounge and soon-to-be-open Lefty’s are too small and too out of the way to make much of an impression. And then there are the bands themselves to consider. When was the last time that you remember seeing fliers for local shows on telephone poles or hanging in public, or, heaven forbid, a live music ad in Cityview? Local acts feel no need to actually promote their shows anymore, so it is difficult to justify continuing to devote space toward doing the job for them.
So what will become of this space? In keeping with the times, Cityview will devote more page space to things that you, the reader, care most about. Taking a page from The Des Moines Register, Cityview’s computer experts analyzed Twitter in an effort to pinpoint the things that Cityview readers talk about most. That is why, in the coming weeks, you will start seeing the pages that are currently going to music be devoted to more Nightlife photos, more week-old movie reviews and more letters to the editor from Rick Smith. APRIL FOOLS