A popular outdoor entertainment venue in Iowa’s capital city isn’t getting much use this summer because of flooding. The Simon Estes Amphitheatre is located in downtown Des Moines on the banks of the Des Moines River. Amedeo Rossi books most of the acts and says only a few shows have taken place there this summer.
“I think we’ve had five events (at the amphitheatre) and we’ve had to move nine,” Rossi said. “We’re just about to move number 10, 11 and 12.” Tonight’s concert, featuring the band Old 97s, is being moved to the Walnut Street bridge – near the amphitheatre. Saturday’s show, Devo, and next Thursday’s act, the Barenaked Ladies, are also being moved to the bridge.
Rossi says moving shows to the bridge raises costs and cuts into revenue. “We have to bring in a stage and power…those things that are actually provided by the amphitheatre,” Rossi said. Moving shows also hurts attendance. There are still three more shows that could be held at the Simon Estes Amphitheatre in August and early September.
Those acts include The Black Crowes, Government Mule and Adam Lambert of American Idol fame. Rossi claims the amphitheatre might not be flooded if the Army Corps of Engineers would change the way it handles Saylorville Reservoir – which drains into the Des Moines River.
“It seems to me we have a giant dam north of town and every time it rains, they open it up and let the water come flooding down,” Rossi said. “I don’t know what the purpose of a dam is when it’s managed in that way.” It doesn’t appear flooding has impacted too many other outdoor entertainment venues in the state – at least according to calls from Radio Iowa placed to city officials in Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Iowa City, Clinton and Davenport.