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The Sound

Little Big Fest migrates to the East Village


Angela Lee, Becky Migas and Jillian Sievel are three of the volunteers behind this year’s Little Big Fest. Go to for lineup info and tickets.

The Des Moines Music Coalition’s (DMMC) annual, jam-band showcase, Little Big Fest, is spreading the love more than usual this year. Previously housed at the Hotel Fort Des Moines, this year’s festival will take place at three different East Village venues: Wooly’s, House of Bricks and The Underground.                

“We wanted to make a little change this year,” said Becky Migas, events and festivals co-chair for the DMMC. “The committee sat down after GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and really wanted to see something different. Hotel Fort Des Moines has been great to us, and we’ve really enjoyed having (Little Big Fest) there.                

“But we wanted to bring some life to it and do something a little unique,” she continued.                

Migas said, “The multi-venue idea didn’t come about until after this year’s GDP.                

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“We realized that there are a lot of great venues out there, and we wanted to take the festival to some of them and show what we could do in them. A lot of these places open their doors to live, local music five days a week. As a coalition, a part of our job is to support our local venues as well.”                

As the third of the DMMC’s big annual festivals, Little Big Fest is devoted to showcasing jam band talent and doing so in a way that supports as many local enterprises as possible.                

“It’s almost all local this year,” Migas said. “Obviously we have our local bands, but we’re also using tikly, which is a local ticketing company. The Rooftop is going to do all of our backstage catering, one of our beer sponsors is Peacetree Brewing Company, and we’re also going to have a table for Grandview’s Seymour Art Club, and they are going to put together different Little Big Fest posters and sell them. There are just a lot of different parts of the community that we’re pulling in to showcase.”                

After working closely with project manager Amedeo Rossi on last year’s festival, this year Migas has taken the reigns and spearheaded the project on her own. But she’s quick to point out that an undertaking of this size doesn’t happen just because one person wants it to.                

“There’s a whole committee that makes it happen; it’s not just me,” she said. “I’m just fortunate to be the one heading it up, but it takes a bunch of us to do it. (Marketing and public relations co-chair) Jillian Sievel has been doing a lot, Angela Lee and (DMMC administrator) Chris Ford… It’s a mountain.”                

And the team scaling that mountain only grows on festival day.                

“On the core committee, there are 15 of us, but on the day of the show, there will be 40 volunteers,” Migas said.                

To promote the festival and the local music involved, the DMMC has teamed up with Jake Kerber and his Locusic website to create a Little Big Fest music channel. In addition, Migas has created a SoundCloud compilation stream where people can listen to and download tracks from each band.                

But this year is about the venues almost as much as the music itself.                

“We’re just really excited to be trying something new and to be able to give the community something different and showcase the venues that we have in this area,” Migas said. “We’ve got great venues. Wooly’s is fairly new, while House of Bricks has been around forever. And then we’ve got The Underground and all the work that’s being done by that team there. Really, if we can get people in to see these venues and to showcase them, that’s a success.” CV

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