515 Alive, the annual electronic and hip-hop music festival in Des Moines, is migrating.
After being held at Western Gateway Park for the past three summers, the festival announced Wednesday it would move to Water Works Park for the 2017 edition of the multi-day event. The event is scheduled to take place Aug. 18 and 19 and organizers say the move comes from the festival wanting to introduce camping, add another stage of national acts and have more time for event setup.
515 Alive, entering its 15th year, drew roughly 16,000 people over two days to downtown Des Moines in 2016, a record attendance number for the event. 515 Alive director Dan Green said he hopes to bring around 20,000 people over two days to Water Works Park this summer. A limited number of pre-sale tickets go on sale Friday at 10:30 a.m. via 515alive.com and cost $42.50 plus fees for a two-day pass.
“We knew that our plans exceeded Western Gateway; we did almost 85-percent capacity last year,” Green said. “We had all these ideas for this new year, and (no downtown locations) were feasible.”
For the first time, the festival plans to offer camping for a select number of attendees. Around 2,000 camping spots will be available, Green said. General admission camping passes go on sale Friday via 515alive.com and cost $39.50 before fees. A “premier” camping pass is available for $69.50 plus fees and includes closer access to the stages and on-site bathrooms.
A popular addition to many music festivals, camping makes sense for multi-day electronic and hip-hop events, Green said. Before spending three years at Western Gateway Park, the festival took place in Des Moines’ East Village.
“(Camping) was something I had dreamed about for years,” Green said.
Due to flooding issues, major music events have moved from Water Works Park or been cancelled in past years. In August 2015, Hinterland Music Festival, now in its third year at the Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater in St. Charles, moved from a flooded Water Works Park to the Madison County venue days before the event was set to take place. In June 2015, a country event, River Bank Bash, also cancelled due to flooding.
In previous years, Water Works Park, located just southwest of downtown, was home to annual music events such as Lazerfest and Big Country Bash. Wet ground played a major factor in past cancellations; Green said 515 Alive stages, which are built into the ground before the event, can handle adverse terrain better than mobile stages brought in on semi trucks.
“The concerns should be minimal,” Green said. “The chances of it being flooded then are super unlikely. It’s all about the river level.”
The 515 Alive lineup is due to be released in the coming days, Green said. With adding a second stage of national artists, the festival plans to bring back 80 to 100 acts across five total stages.