Take a road trip this weekend to the 80/35 Music Festival in Des Moines, featuring Wilco, Weezer and more
You wanna get out of town? This weekend, Des Moines is offering Midwestern music lovers the perfect excuse. The 80/35 Music Festival, now in its eighth year, kicks off tomorrow, Friday, July 10, with a dreamy lineup — including headlining spots from Wilco and Jenny Lewis. On Saturday, the fun continues with Weezer, Run the Jewels and the Orwells … and more than 20 other bands. It’s a festival that’s so enticing, the only way it could get better is if it weren’t a three-hour drive away from us.
But 80/35 organizer Jill Haverkamp believes that the distance is more than worth it, considering the bill. And the point of holding the festival in Des Moines, she says, has always been to bring more attention to the so-called flyover country.
“The festival was initially started by a nonprofit called the Des Moines Music Coalition, and its purpose was to grow the progressive music culture in Des Moines,” Haverkamp says. “We wanted bands who drove through on the I-80 and the I-35 to stop in town instead of just drive through, and we figured the best way to do that was to invite them ourselves.”
The 80/35 Festival features three stages: The Hy-Vee Main Stage, the Kum & Go Stage and the Nationwide Stage. Only the main stage requires a ticket — the other two areas are free and feature a mix of national, regional and local acts.
“To get a real flavor for the Des Moines talent, we’ve got a whole stage — the Nationwide stage — that’s dedicated to local acts,” Haverkamp says. “We have a wide variety of genres that are showcased on that stage, from Latin to rock to indie — it’s a good mix, and it definitely allows people from beyond Des Moines the chance to dig in to some of our local scene.”
If you’re thinking about a short road trip, Haverkamp adds that accommodations shouldn’t be hard to find.
“I haven’t looked at what hotels are booked up, but the nice thing about Des Moines is that everything is accessible,” she says. “Even if there’s not hotels available nearby [the festival], there are definitely a lot of options to choose from. Plus, we have Ubers, and it’s pretty easy to find parking nearby.”