Organizers for downtown Des Moines’ annual music festival, 80/35, revealed the inital lineup Tuesday. Tickets start at $42 and are on sale now.
Des Moines’ summer indie music tradition, 80/35, returns for a 10th year this weekend, bringing with it a collection of must-see rock ‘n’ roll, hip-hop and jam performances.
Set to attract an anticipated 30,000 people to Western Gateway Park, the event is a bona fide buffet for music junkies, which raises the question: Headliners aside, which acts are the absolute, 100 percent do-not-miss of this year’s fest?
You’ll find below one music writer’s take on the touring acts (and one not touring but not-so-common local act) that cannot be missed during the July 7-8 event.
The Philadelphia-based outfit transcends indie rock to represent the best of garage, guitar and traditional emo rock music. Signed to Omaha’s Saddle Creek Records (Bright Eyes, Cursive), Hop Along released one of 2015’s best records — according to VICE, Consequence of Sound and The A.V. Club — in the impassioned “Painted Shut.” The album notched a 7.9 out of 10 score from indie music tastemaker Pitchfork, with the review calling the album “… visceral but ornate, outside reality but still scarred by it.”
Catch ’em: July 8 at 3:15 p.m. on the Hy-Vee main stage
Spin this track: “The Knock”
Modern Life Is War
An Iowa hardcore staple with international acclaim, Modern Life Is War marks the second consecutive year of locally raised heavy music as a marquee free stage act. Hailing from Marshalltown, the group is known for a blistering, emotional take on American hardcore music that can be heard in full display on the group’s latest studio album, “Fever Hunting.” The effort, released in 2013, was the first studio record dropped from the group since re-banding after a hiatus from 2008-12.
Catch ’em: July 8 at 5:45 p.m. on the Kum & Go stage.
Spin this track: “Health, Wealth & Peace”
Holding down the elements of bluegrass and folk known to appear regularly at 80/35, Elephant Revival bring a sense of traditionalism to the event’s main stage. The group kicks off this year’s festival in support of its latest studio album, “Petals,” which dropped in 2016. Looking for something with more jam to it? Consider investing in The Motet (July 8 at 5 p.m. on the main stage).
Catch ‘em: July 7 at 5 p.m. on the Hy-Vee main stage.
Spin this track: “Ring Around the Moon”
Milwaukee’s own indie-minded emcee heads to the 80/35 free stage fresh off the release of his debut studio album, “Daymares.” Signed to Closed Sessions — the record label Forbes described in 2016 as “restoring Chicago hip-hop” — this Midwestern torch-bearer is known in his native Wisconsin as delivering a live show featuring “offbeat charisma” and “ecstatic rituals.”
Catch ’em: July 8 at 2:45 p.m. on the Hy-Vee main stage.
Spin this track: “Intuition”
Diarrhea Planet, seriously. If the name alone doesn’t sell you enough to spend a chunk of your Saturday afternoon with this act, then the music should. A multi-guitar, six-piece garage rock act from the heart of Nashville, Diarrhea Planet pulls from the roots of punk and indie rock for cathartic, catchy tunes. The band is set to perform at 80/35 after the release of 2016’s repeatable “Turn To Gold” album.
Catch ’em: July 8 at 6:45 p.m. on the Kum & Go stage.
Spin this track: “Bob Dylan’s Grandma”
If you go to 80/35 …
Time and place: Music kicks off July 7 at 5 p.m. and July 8 at noon. Main stage gates open an hour before music starts. 80/35 takes place in Western Gateway Park.
Price: A two-day main stage advance pass costs $80; day-of tickets cost $45 for each day. The Kum & Go and Nationwide stages are free and open to the public.
What else you’ll see: Indie pop act MGMT headlines the main stage July 7 and rock outfit The Shins close the festival on July 8. Additional acts include Iowa supergroup Middle Western, Action Bronson, Radio Moscow, Trevor Sensor, MarKaus, The Vahnevants, Stutterin’ Jimmy, Dan Tedesco, prettygirlhatemachine and more. Additional performances include local youth sets at the Gen Z stage and live sessions at the Iowa Public Radio tent.
Parking: Street parking is free on Saturday and after 6 p.m. on Friday. Additional downtown parking, including free garages, can be found at downtowndesmoines.com.
More information: 2017.80-35.com.
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