What Does the Future Hold for 80/35 Music Festival?

DES MOINES, Iowa -- The 80/35 Music Festival has been going strong for over a decade, but since then, so much of the city has changed.

“The first year of 80/35 the Wellmark building wasn’t here, the Kum & Go building wasn't here, they were still just finishing redevelopment on some of the buildings that house restaurants along Locust Street,” said Justin Schoen, a board member of the Des Moines Music Coalition.

In the truest sense, 80/35 has grown up with the city.

“That was really the goal of 80/35. We wanted to make it an urban music festival. We wanted to showcase the redevelopment of downtown,” said Schoen.

So, what comes next? With major strides in terms of downtown redevelopment, and with 80/35 bigger than ever, does the future of the festival remain in downtown Des Moines?

“There are no plans [to move] in the works, but anything is possible as we re-evaluate every year. For right now we're really excited about holding this downtown. A lot of the sponsors who support the festival are our neighbors here with Nationwide, and Kum & Go, and Principal, and Meredith and so they really like having us right down here in the middle of where they're located centrally and where their employees are,” said Schoen.

Some of those employees say the same thing.

“Everyone at Nationwide loves getting events like this because we can go out and get food opportunities. That's actually why we were out for lunch today is looking to see if the vendors were open yet. They weren't, we were bummed, but it's a good opportunity for downtown people for sure,” said Megan McGuire.

“We normally walk around the free stages, kind of walk around, just enjoy the environment that it brings to downtown,” said Angel Handy.

While the festival has grown, organizers say they don't see it growing enough to the point where headliners would bring more fans than the area can handle.

“I really don’t anticipate us ever having a Jay-Z or a Beyoncé headlining an event like this; it's just not in our DNA and honestly it's not cost effective for us to do that. We try to put on a quality music show that you're going to come to, you're going to learn about great live music from outside of Des Moines but then also the local musicians. We really try to curate and cultivate that experience,” said Schoen.

Recently, 515 Alive Music Festival moved from downtown to Water Works Park.

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