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Roadmap to 80/35


The rains and gloom of spring have passed us by, and summer is now in full swing. That means it’s time once again for the flagship event from the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition (DMMC) — 80/35 Music Festival.

Now in its sixth year, 80/35 has become a destination event not just for the fans of indie and pop music throughout the Midwest, but for the artists, too.

“We’ve been able to build up the 80/35 brand really well,” said Jill Haverkamp, owner of entertainment promoter On Pitch. “People who’ve moved away make plans to come home to Des Moines for 80/35. It’s a huge social event. It’s so much more than just the music.”

True to that statement, there’s a lot more to this year’s 80/35 than just the bands. Artists, vendors, food and workshops all await the estimated 30,000 people who’ll make their way to Western Gateway Park this coming weekend. But make no mistake: The music matters. From the main stage headliners down to the opening free-stage acts, it’s the music that — quite literally — sets the tone for each year’s festival. We’re here to break each day down for you and give you the five Ws of each stage so you don’t miss a thing. But we’re not going to stop there. We’ll guide you through everything this year’s festival has to offer, from opening workshops to after parties. See you there.


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Wu-Tang Clan

The Wu-Tang Clan requested to be on this year’s line-up, scheduled to headline on Saturday.

The Wu-Tang Clan requested to be on this year’s line-up, scheduled to headline on Saturday.

Founded in 1992, Wu-Tang Clan is generally regarded as the greatest rap group of all time. It has helped launch the careers of scores of other rappers, and Wu-Tang’s surviving members — RZA, GZA, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa (Ol’ Dirty Bastard passed away in 2005) — have gone on to score, write, produce and star in films, television series and video games both independently and as a group, making Wu-Tang a bona fide multi-media juggernaut.

The clan has earned the right to pick its own spots, and in recent years has done so with extreme prejudice. For 2013, Wu-Tang Clan has only four concert dates on its schedule. So how did Des Moines make the cut?

“It was them contacting us,” said DMMC board president, Justin Schoen. “Their agent contacted us and said, ‘We want to play this date: how can we make this happen?’ ”

From there it was just a matter of negotiating terms, and everything else fell into place relatively quickly.

“It’s a testament to what 80/35 has become,” continued Schoen. “We’ve developed good working relationships with several booking agents, and the festival has grown into an event that bands want to come play.”

One concern that festivals of all sizes contend with, especially when groups as large and as busy as Wu-Tang are involved, is making sure everyone actually shows up. It’s something that 80/35 coordinators are all too familiar with, especially after Public Enemy, tabbed as headliner in 2009, showed up without Flavor Flav. But 80/35 staffers are confident 2013 will not see a repeat of that disappointment.

“We’ve contracted to have Wu-Tang Clan play, and Wu-Tang is all of the surviving members,” Schoen said. “We will see all of them.”              

Showtime: Saturday, July 6, 9 p.m.

Song to watch for: Wu-Tang Clan Ain’t Nothing ta Fuck Wit” is the anthemic single off their debut album, “Enter The Wu-Tang Clan”, but 2001’s “Gravel Pit” is the group’s most successful single.

David Byrne and St. Vincent

David Byrne and St. Vincent headline on Friday night.

David Byrne and St. Vincent headline on Friday night.

Friday’s headliners span two musical generations. When St. Vincent (Annie Clark) was born in 1982, David Byrne’s Talking Heads were already at a midpoint in its career and were in the studio working on the “Speaking in Tongues” album. By the time St. Vincent joined the Polyphonic Spree in 2004, Byrne was a Rock-and-Roll Hall of Famer with Grammy, Golden Globe and Academy Awards on his shelf.

The two artists paired up in 2012, releasing the collaborative album “Love This Giant” that summer. Since then, the duo has toured on and off and released the EP “Brass Tactics” this past May.

While Wu-Tang Clan reached out to 80/35, it was the festival that contacted Byrne’s people about booking the duo.

“We had (them) on our radar as something that would be exciting for Des Moines,” explained Schoen. “(But) a lot of it has to do with who’s out on tour (at the time). A lot of it is the reputation that we’ve built with the agent.”

While Byrne is the big-name draw, Schoen feels that the duo’s collaboration will win people over.

“Obviously St. Vincent and David Byrne come from two different musical timeframes,” he said. “But they’re making really interesting music, and we’re excited to have them headlining the festival’s first day.”

Headliners are normally booked well in advance, and the DMMC typically likes to remain tight-lipped on the festival’s lineup until about a month before the actual show. Headliners and touring acts are announced with relative fanfare, with the rest of the lineup rolled out over the next couple weeks. But this year, Friday’s headliner was announced well before any of the others.

“We’d been told by David’s publicist that he was going to list his full tour schedule on his website, so we knew that 80/35 would be part of that announcement,” Schoen said. “(But) when David Byrne says he’s going to send an email to his fan club, that’s just what he’s going to do.”

Showtime: Friday, July 5, 9:15 p.m.

Song to watch for: “Who” was the first single released off “Love This Giant,” but the crowd will be keeping an ear out for Talking Heads songs, and “Road to Nowhere” was the band’s biggest worldwide hit.



Tea Leaf Green

San Francisco-based jam band…Formed in 1998…prodigious music catalogue with eight studio albums, seven live albums and one compilation.

Showtime: Friday, July 5, 5 p.m.

Song to watch for: “Taught to be Proud”              


Psychedelic pop band out of Brooklyn, N.Y.…Founded in 2006, the band is already a festival veteran, with Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, Austin City Limits, South by Southwest, Coachella, Bonnaroo, Sasquatch and Bumbershoot under its belts.

Showtime: Friday, July 5, 7 p.m.

Song to watch for: “O.N.E.”



Dylan Sires and Neighbors

Waterloo-based power-pop trio…winners of the DMMC’s and Iowa Public Radio’s 2013 80/35 Play-In Contest.

Showtime: Saturday, July 6, 12 p.m.

Song to watch for: “Pictures of You”

Mr. Baber’s Neighbors

Bluegrass five-piece from Des Moines…veteran of 2012’s Little BIG Fest, this is the band’s fourth 80/35 Festival (2008, 2009, 2011).

Showtime: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

Song to watch for: “Sugar”


Surf rock trio from San Diego…2010’s “King of the Beach” was named one of the best albums of the year by Spin and Pitchfork magazines, hitting No. 3 on the Billboard Heatseekers chart.

Showtime: Saturday, 3:30 p.m.

Song to watch for: “Post Acid”

Umphrey’s McGee

Prog/jam-rock act out of South Bend, Ind.…often considered the spiritual successors to Phish, the band is extremely fan friendly, often giving bootleggers free tickets in exchange for sharing recordings with the public.

Showtime: Saturday, 5 p.m.

Song to watch for: “Hajimemashite”


Atlanta, Ga., indie five-piece…2010’s “Halcyon Digest” was named one of the five best albums of the year by Pitchfork and Exclaim! magazines…Deerhunter went on hiatus in 2009, while drummer Moses Archuleta went to culinary school.

Showtime: Saturday, 7 p.m.

Song to watch for: “Revival”



Admission to the main stage is $39 in advance or $45 on the day of the festival, with two-day passes selling for $65 in advance or $80 day of. Advance tickets can be purchased at Zzz Records or through



One of the benefits of a relatively concentrated, outdoor festival is that even people who aren’t standing right in front of the stage can still hear and enjoy the main-stage acts from outside the gates. However, there’s also plenty of free entertainment to be had, for the more cash conscious, because 80/35 features two free stages, with 37 local and regional acts performing on one stage or the other over the festival’s two days.

Hy- Vee Free Stage (Friday)

Emperor’s Club: Iowa City five-piece; first 80/35; 5 p.m.

Dustin Smith and The Sunday Silos: Des Moines rock five-piece; second 80/35 (2012); 6 p.m.

Maxilla Blue: Des Moines hip hop power trio; fourth 80/35 (2008, 2010, 2012); 7 p.m.

Euforquestra: Colorado-based jam band, originally founded in Iowa City; second 80/35 (2008); 8 p.m.

The Other Elements: Cedar Rapids-based hip hop; first 80/35; 9 p.m.

M34N STR33T: Hip hop trio out of Omaha; 80/35 debut; 10 p.m.

Richie Daggers w/ Gadema: Des Moines-based rap/DJ combo; second 80/35 (2010); 11 p.m.                

Kum and Go Free Stage (Friday)

Annalibera: Des Moines alt/pop four-piece; 80/35 debut; 5 p.m.

Kitty Pryde: Inexplicably popular Florida-based rapper; 80/35 debut; 5:45 p.m.

Roster McCabe: Minneapolis electronic rock act; 80/35 debut; 6:45 p.m.

Menomena: Portland, Ore., indie outfit; 80/35 debut; 8:15 p.m.

SUBliminal Chaos: Des Moines dubstep DJ; 80/35 debut; 9 p.m.

Jesse Jamz: New York-based techno DJ; 10 p.m.

DJ Bui: Des Moines dance DJ; 11 p.m.

Hy- Vee Free Stage (Saturday)

Mighty Shady: Des Moines alt/reggae four-piece; 12 p.m.

Uniphonics: Iowa City hip hop group; 1 p.m.

H.D. Harmsen: Ames singer/songwriter; 2 p.m.

SP3: Michigan-based hip hop trio; 3 p.m.

Tires: Ames noise rock trio; 4 p.m.

Trouble Lights: Ames electro-pop duo; 5 p.m.

The River Monks: Des Moines folk conglomerate; second 80/35 (2011); 6 p.m.

Mumford’s: Ames party rock mainstays; second 80/35 (2012); 7 p.m.

The Pines: Minneapolis roots rock; 8 p.m.

I AM ZERO: (Intro) Des Moines DJ; 9 p.m.

PATIENT ZERO: Des Moines heavy metal; 10 p.m.

I AM ZERO: (Outro) 11 p.m.               

Kum and Go Free Stage (Saturday)

Gloom Balloon: Poison Control Center’s Patrick Tape Fleming; fourth 80/35 (2008, 2009, 2011 with PCC); 12 p.m.

Prissy Clerks: Minneapolis hipster sounds; 12:45 p.m.

Escondido: Nashville pop duo; 1:45 p.m.

Water Liars: Oxford, Miss., rock duo; 2:45 p.m.

The Homemade Jamz Blues Band: Mississippi-based blues trio; 3:45 p.m.

Apollo Brown and Guilty Simpson: Michigan rap duo; 4:45 p.m.

Strange Names: Minneapolis alt-poppers; 5:45 p.m.

Jon Wayne and the Pain: Minneapolis reggae-rock trio; 6:45 p.m.

House of Large Sizes: Cedar Falls alt-rock icons; second 80/35 (2009); 8 p.m.

DJ Cosmo: Des Moines house DJ; 9 p.m.

Sphere: Des Moines trance; 10 p.m.

DJ Flash: Des Moines house DJ; 11 p.m.


Non-music activities

YPC Do More Village: interactive exhibits and demonstrations showcasing organizations and non-profits on Locust Street.

Maxilla Blue plays the Hy-Vee Free Stage on Friday at 7 p.m.

Maxilla Blue plays the Hy-Vee Free Stage on Friday at 7 p.m.

Meredith Kid’s Zone: free activities for children of all ages from 5-7 p.m. on Friday and 12-7 p.m. on Saturday. Kid-friendly activities include inflatables, face-painting, hula hooping, arts and crafts, as well as water rocket experiments with the Science Center of Iowa. Des Moines Onstage will perform musical numbers at 6:15 both nights. Located at 13th Street and Grand Avenue.

#thisis8035 Photo Project: A photographic compilation of the thousands of individuals in attendance at the 80/35 music festival. The project aims to capture the authenticity and individuality found in the masses of a two-day gathering in the heart of Iowa.

DMMC Booth: The Greater Des Moines Music Coalition (DMMC) will host meet-and-greets with 80/35 performing artists, as well as give out a free local music compilation featuring the Iowa bands of 80/35. The DMMC will also provide information regarding the festival and its other programs. Located on 12th Street.

Mediacom Meet ‘n Greets: Meet and get autographs from 80/35 bands at the Mediacom Meet ‘n Greet tent on 12th Street. Schedule and participating bands TBA.

Drake University Startup Central: An interactive networking hub organized by Drake and the University’s Pappajohn Center for Entrepreneurial Outreach, Startup Central will focus on idea generation, networking opportunities, entrepreneurial mini-workshops and other interactive activities. Located on Locust Street between 10th and 12th.

Jesse Jamz hits the Kum and Go free stage on Friday at 10 p.m.

Jesse Jamz hits the Kum and Go free stage on Friday at 10 p.m.

Music University: a free panel for those interested in the world of touring as a performing artist. Marc Hogan (music writer for Spin, Pitchfork and Paste) will moderate a discussion with Tom Carlson (tour manager for David Byrne and St. Vincent), members of Roster McCabe and Patrick Tape Fleming (Poison Control Center, Gloom Balloon) on Friday, July 5 at 4:30 p.m. at Ritual Cafe.

U.S. Cellular Loyalty Lounge: Current customers can receive loyalty points and non-customers will have the opportunity to check out all that U.S. Cellular has to offer by browsing phones and learning about loyalty rewards. In addition, festival fans will have the chance to charge their cell phones, play games for rewards, pose for photos and enter into special giveaways for U.S. Cellular merchandise. Located on Locust Street, west of 10th.

Aerial Dance Performances: The Goddesses and the Flying Eagles Acrobalance Troupe will provide aerial dance entertainment on the Kum and Go Stage throughout the festival.

Live Art Installation: local artists will do live paint art installations featuring 80/35 acts on Locust St. between 10th and 12th streets.

Body by Svec: local artist Emily Svec turns the human form into a body of art.

Mist Tent: A water-misting tent will cool down festival-goers all weekend, located on Locust, west of 13th Street.



For those who just can’t stop when the Festival does — or who want to get the party started early — Maximum Ames Records and the DMMC have teamed up to present a litany of party options in and around the downtown area. All of the following are free to 80/35 ticket-holders, and many are completely free to the public as well.               

Thursday, July 4:

Vaudeville Mews PBR Bar: Land of Blood and Sunshine, Christopher the Conquered, Is Home Is and Diamonds For Eyes, 4 to 9 p.m. All ages show.                  

Friday, July 5:

Vaudeville Mews: The Wheelers CD-release show with Kiriko and Wolves in the Attic, 11 p.m.; 21+.

Gas Lamp: Peace, Love and Stuff, Rebel Creek and Lesbian Poetry, 12 p.m. to 4 p.m; all ages.

Wooly’s: Yeasayer’s Chris Keating (DJ Set), 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.; 21+.

The House of Bricks: I Am Zero, 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.; 21+.                  

Saturday, July 6:

Vaudeville Mews: Poison Control Center, Pure Gut and Ramona and the Swimsuits, 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.; 21+.

Exile Brewing Co: Los Parranderos, 10 p.m. to 12 a.m.; 21+.

Raccoon River Brewing: Joel Baker, The Host Country, Holy White Hounds, Brave Youth and Bright Giant, 7 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.; 21+.

So there you have it, a complete run-down on where to find everything at 80/35 and what to see once you get there. The festival may not have music to suit every taste under the sun, but with plenty to see and do, and with the Western Gateway Park and downtown Des Moines as the backdrop, there is still a litany of reasons to spend your weekend taking it all in. 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.

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