The next big holiday on the calendar is Independence Day and officials in Iowa’s capital city are preparing for a big music festival that weekend. The first annual 80/35 Music Festival is scheduled for July 4 and 5 in downtown Des Moines.
Forty bands will play on four stages. The highlights include the country-rock sounds of the Drive-By Truckers, funk-infused hip-hop from The Roots, and alternative rockers The Flaming Lips. The city of Des Moines and community organizations have given the non-profit Des Moines Music Coalition roughly $400,000 to book and organize the festival.
City council member Michael Kiernan says entertainment options like 80/35 could help keep more young people from leaving Iowa after high school or college. "That is the goal – to showcase Des Moines and the state of Iowa, and show that we have a world class city that offers diverse cultural, entertainment and recreational experiences. This is a place young people will choose to live based on that environment and that will help us attract and retain new and existing companies," Kiernan said.
Organizers of 80/35 are hoping the event will eventually rival annual multi-day music festivals in cities like Chicago and Milwaukee that draw tens of thousands of fans and pump loads of money into the local economy.