80/35 Music Fest

First of all, if you didn't buy tickets for the 80/35 Music festival, then you missed out on a great fest. And thanks for supporting the local live music scene, assholes. Des Moines' live music scene hasn't been successful because of you.

So now that that's out of the way. 80/35 was excellent for its first year. Des Moines made a huge effort to pull this thing off and it really showed. Thanks a ton to the organizers and everyone who supported it. I can't wait for next year.

The bands I saw...
  • Andrew Bird - Not really my kind of music, but he was pretty good. He seemed to have a lot of fans, which is important.
  • Flatform - A couple local DJ kids. Finally. This scene is creeping into Des Moines. I run with kids/DJs like this when I visit Chicago. Someone start a rock bar or 2 and let kids like this DJ. Liars Club? Everyone's expecting you to be different - here's your chance to start a new/awesome local hipster scene.
  • Flaming Lips - I only really knew a handfull of their songs, so I wasn't super geeked to have them as a headliner, but man... Amazing show - perfect headliner. I don't care if you like (or even know) their music or not. If the Flaming Lips are in town, go see them.
  • Gaiden Gadema - I've seen him quite a few times, but if you haven't, he's a great local hip hop artist. Check him out if you get a chance.
  • Dirty Little Rabbits - Local alternative/hard-rockish band with a chick on lead vocals. I didn't know this kind of scene was still around. Not really my thing, but talented for sure. Plus they seemed to have a good solid fanbase.
  • North of Grand - 2nd time I've seen them. They're a good local punk-ish band. Good show, good music. They seem to play at lots of local dive bars, check them out sometime.
  • Touchnice - Local club DJ and DJ for Aeon Grey and Maxilla Blue. I couldn't stay too long because we had to let the dogs out, but his set was good... plus he let Luke rap for a couple tracks.
  • Black Francis - frontman of the Pixies. Good stuff. I need to pick some up.
  • Maxilla Blue - newish great local hip hop group with Brandon J Atlas, Touchnice, and Aeon Grey. Live set, great turnout.
  • Radio Moscow - geez man. How can you not like these guys? Talented as hell. Jimi Hendrix rock and roll.
  • Yonder Mountain String Band - My buddy Josh really likes this band, so I had to go check them out. Bluegrass, hippies everywhere, but they're pretty good. I can see myself totally being into this show in Josh's presence.
  • DJ Diverse - my neighbor, ha ...and also the best DJ in the state, hands down. Great set. This kid can move a crowd like none other. Liars Club, if you take my advice from earlier in this post, make Diverse your resident DJ.
  • The Roots - 2nd time I've seen the Roots live. The Roots are obviously amazing. Great show. Great headliner.
The Festival...

The first thing I noticed was that less of the Gateway park area was used than I expected. I thought the fest would go from the Library to Meredith... but apparently not. I mean... I guess there were just 2 paying stages, but still - it seemed small inside. I hope next year they can do 3 or 4 paid stages and maybe 2 free stages. I wonder what the ratio of paying/not paying patrons were. It seemed like there were a ton of wristbands, which is exciting.

Outside of the paying area they had tons of vendors and 2 free stages. Great way to promote local artists, and also a great idea by putting the vendors in the free part. It's sort of like how on websites, if you're not a paying member you're bombarded with ads. Bombard those cheap people outside with vendors. Make them buy something. It was also smart to have covered fences around most of the paid area. Encourage people to pay/support the festival rather than watching from the fence. The gates were also much better than I expected they would be (though they were kinda small). I expected the gate keepers to be nazis - searching everyone, making entrance a hassle, ya know... but they were surprisingly really cool.

80/35 did a great job on all accounts. Excellent band divserity, things were setup well, good price point, and way to use a local brewery. It was hard to tell that this was the first year for the festival.

Some things that would be cool to see for next year...
  • Real wristbands, not paper ones. Not that big of a deal, but the plastic souvenir ones are a little nicer to wear.
  • More midsized acts/acts that may not be too expensive but everyone will love. 80/35 did a great job with the headliners... but think about people like Ghostland Observatory, Ween, LCD Soundsystem, The Black Keys, Rhymefest, Common, Lyrics Born, Kill Hannah, Kid Sister, Blackalicious, Queens of the Stoneage, Reverend Horton Heat, etc, etc. Keep an eye on other festivals, see who they're bringing. Bring in a celebrity DJ or 2 (Steve Aoki, DJ AM, etc). Or even a house DJ from a Chicago club. Those kids know how to do it. Then a local club can pick them up for an afterparty as well. Double whammy.
  • Screen(s) beside the main stage(s) for the short people/people not in the front row. This will require a camera crew too... but it really is nice for everone to get a good view of what's going on.
  • Spread the paid stages out a little more so that the acts on 1 stage don't have to wait for the acts on the second stage. Actually, both stages could've been playing at the same time. I don't think the fest crew understood that they wouldn't drown each other out too bad. People close to the DJ stage would hear dance, peeps close to main stage would hear main stage. Lollapalooza has so many acts going at the same time.
  • More food vendors. I realize we only ate like 3 meals there, but a couple more vendors would've really been nice. Maybe use Raccoon River for beer next year?
  • Put lights on the DJ stage. I know they didn't play too late, but it was a little tough to see what was up toward the end of the last set. Plus DJs are usually in clubs, stage lights just seem natural.
all my pics

We specialize in admission control Plastic and Vinyl wristbands in may colors. We can custom imprint them with your Logo and text plus any security additions needed.

Have a good one!

Bobj posted

Howdy! My hubby and I are considering being a food vendor at the 2010 80/35 fest and would like some feedback from the masses on what kind of food you'd like to have there. We will be serving terriyaki beef and chicken shishkabobs...along with all veggie kabobs. As for pricing, we're thinking $5 a kabob? You'd get at least 1/2 a pound of meat on a kabob,along with onions and peppers and a crap ton of veggies on the veggie kabob. Any suggestions would be helpful...after all, you are the reason we're in business! Again, we're not 100% sure we're gonna do this....it's crazy expensive for food vendors. You can email me at [email protected] with any suggestions...and thanks in advance!

Christina posted

won't be shared or displayed