By Naomi Hofferber
This weekend, downtown Des Moines’ Gateway Park will be home to a variety of musical talent, from high-school musicians to headliners Kesha and Phantogram.
The 80/35 music festival was started 10 years ago by the Des Moines Music Coalition in order to “spark growth in the city’s live-music economy,” according to the official 80/35 website.
Jarin Hart, the Des Moines Music Coalition executive director, said that each year, organizers strive to enhance the experience for everyone at the festival.
“I think the reason 80/35 is so special is that it truly is a community event; we get everyone together in the heart of Des Moines. It’s accessible for everyone,” she said. “I think that’s what makes it so magic.”
This year, the festival will feature four separate music stages, live sessions with Iowa Public Radio, and an after-party with CupcakKe at the Des Moines Social Club on the night of July 7. The Gen-Z Showcase stage offers a unique experience for local high-school and middle-school students to perform, which Hart said she thinks really sets the festival apart from the rest.
“It’s important to nurture young bands and young artists and give them exposure at a young age,” Hart said.
An additional stage will be set up on Locust Street for performing-arts acts, such as belly dancing, burlesque, and improv.
The festival will also feature art installations by local artists Rachel Buse, Jackie Servellon, and Jessica Villegas, as well as a Kids Zone for children from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday and 1 to 7 p.m. Saturday.
80/35 this year touts Kesha, Phantogram, Courtney Barnett, and Atmosphere as top headliners, as well as featuring local artists such as Elizabeth Moen, Karen Meat, Telekinetic Yeti, and Closet Witch.
Hart said that booking big acts such as Kesha had been in the works for a while, and it was lucky they could book her this year.
“It’s always great to book a strong, female act,” she said.
Kesha is coming from her most recent release, Rainbow, her release in five years, which features popular hit songs “Praying” and “Woman.”
While tickets are required for Hy-Vee Main Stage performances, the vast majority of performances and activities are free to the public. Free street parking is available after 6 p.m. July 6 and all day July 7.
Doors will open at 4 p.m. July 6 and 11 a.m. July 7, and the festival runs until 11 p.m. each day. Two-day passes are still on sale for $85, VIP passes for $195.
Follow @dailyiowanarts on Twitter and daily-iowan.com for 80/35 coverage this weekend