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Sound Circuit

Staying downwind


Seth Anderson and The Downwinders play Hull Ave Tavern on Monday, Aug. 11.

Seth Anderson and The Downwinders play Hull Ave Tavern on Monday, Aug. 11.

Even if you don’t know Seth Anderson personally, you’ve probably witnessed the fruits of some of his efforts.

Originally born in Nebraska, Anderson’s trekked around the country, with stops in Kansas and Chicago most notably before settling down here in Des Moines. Now Anderson busies himself with a litany of music-related projects ranging from volunteering with the DMMC (he and his son ran the “Generation Z” stage at 80/35) and Civic Music Association, to running his own company, 515 Sponsorships.

“My first client was KFMG,” Anderson said of his sponsorship work. “I’ve also worked with the Waukeye Music Festival, and informally with some other bands and venues around town to bring in sponsorship money and to promote arts and cultural events in and around the city.”

But for as much effort as he puts into promoting other people’s music and artistic endeavors, every once in a while Anderson has to do something for himself. And whenever he’s able, that comes in the form of The Downwinders.


“We formed as a power trio in 1998 in Chicago,” Anderson said. “Originally it was just my buddy Jeff Smith and I. Then we lined up our friend Kevin Esterling to play drums.”

“We cut one CD, and we ended up playing some pretty decent shows,” he continued. “Our biggest crowd was the Chicago Marathon, where we played for 3,000 people. They were all running by, but still.”

Eventually, like the vast majority of bands that get formed every day, The Downwinders time came and went. The guys in the band got older and started putting down family roots. Anderson eventually moved to Des Moines, Smith relocated to Nebraska, and Esterling went far afield, moving to California. But every year or so, the guys feel that itch and get the band back together.

“We’ve done a couple (reunion shows) in California, where Kevin lives,” Anderson explained. “This year Kevin reached out to Jeff and me and said, ‘We really should do another reunion.’ Since we flew out there last time, it was just a question of Omaha or Des Moines.”

None of the men in The Downwinders has any latent aspirations. These shows are always one-offs when the three friends feel like getting together. But for a man as passionately involved in the Des Moines local scene as Anderson is, it’s a nice way to pound some beers and become an on-stage member of the brotherhood of musicians again, if only for a little while. CV

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