The Daily Iowan

Hinterland on the horizon

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Contributed

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Naomi Hofferber, [email protected]

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Americana, indie, and country bands will flock to St. Charles, Iowa, this weekend for the fourth year of the Hinterland Music Festival.

Created by Sam Summers to fill his desire for a music festival that featured gritty Americana music, Hinterland is a two-day, single-stage experience in which people camp on the rented surrounding farmland to immerse themselves in the festival.

Headliners for this year include Sturgill Simpson, Band of Horses, Nathaniel Rateliff & the Night Sweats, and CHVRCHES, and because of the single-stage format, festival-goers won’t have to pick and choose among their favorite bands.

“We’re a single-stage festival, so I look at it more like a concert in that everyone’s chimed into what’s going on the single stage; [we’re] featuring the lineup from start to finish,” Summer said. “It’s just like a really long concert with all complementary bands, and you’re not running around between stages.”

Hinterland likes to strive for transparency, he said, and because of this, the festival releases its lineup as soon as tickets go on sale, unlike many festivals, which do blind ticket sales.

“I think that’s why we have a really positive vibe at the festival; everyone wants to be there, they bought the tickets because of the lineup,” Summers said.

Organizers also try to communicate well with the audience members leading up to the festival, he said, through Facebook Live events and Reddit AMAs.

In the past, the festival’s biggest year was in 2016, when Willie Nelson headlined, but this year, Summers said, the festival is set to blow that attendance out of the water, with Saturday being the biggest day of the festival so far.

Along with its highest attendance yet, new to the festival this year will be a vendor row, akin, Summers said, to what happened at Grateful Dead shows back in the day, when people sold handcraft or tie-dye out of their car.

Because there is no major company, conglomerate, or big sponsor behind the festival, Summers said, in order to grow the festival, organizers try to keep a slow and natural growth in what they put on each year.

“We started small with Edward Sharpe and Old Crow Medicine Band,” he said, noting that now, the event gets more mainstream names than in the beginning. “Growing slowly and not trying to be something bigger than the state of Iowa can support is important … Get your toes wet with something small and slowly grow into it.”

While two-day VIP tickets are sold out, tickets are still on sale for single-day Aug. 3 and 4, and general admission two-day passes are available for $49, $59, and $95.

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