Here in Missouri, the summer festival has vanished. Downtown Kansas City used to be the destination for the Middle of the Map festival—a whirlwind weekend and urban fete featuring local, regional and national acts. And, of course, LouFest met its demise last summer a few days before the festival was set to kick off.
With two Missouri summer festivals disappearing from the musical landscape, there are plenty of festivals to road-trip to. Downtown Des Moines has consistently put together a two-day line-up of amazing bands with the 80/35 festival. Past headliners include Phantogram, The Shins, MGMT, Weezer, Wilco, Nas, The Decemberists, Courtney Barnett, Car Seat Headrest and Wolf Parade.
This year’s lineup is just as strong as years past and features Portugal. The Man, Elle King, Metric, Misterwives,Yungblud and Liz Phair. The festival boasts five stages, three of which are free to the public and feature up-and-coming artists: Nationwide Stage, Gen Z Showcase and IPR (Iowa Public Radio) Live Sessions. With 37 bands over a two-day period, there’s plenty to keep you enthralled.
Last year when we covered 80/35, we were blown away by the organization of the event. Everything from the tactical set-ups of the stages, the plethora of food trucks, and the way the city and region embraced the festival made first-time visitors to the Iowa metropolis questioning why we’ve never visited before. The 340-mile jaunt to Des Moines from STL is a breeze, and the festival’s bookings are top-notch. A two-day pass is a mere $80—which wouldn’t even get you in the gate for one day at Lollapalooza.