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515 Alive expands dates, appeal

Many Iowa festivals have seen big attendance this year, but 515 Alive is looking to double the number of fans who showed up in 2014.

It helps that the festival is expanding from one day to two.

“When I took over (starting in 2013), I assumed at some point we would naturally go to two days,” said festival organizer Dan Green. “But I wanted a couple years under my belt, first.”

Green wanted to make sure he put together a festival that would be worth people coming to both days of, so he upped the budget and went for the festival’s biggest headliners to date: Waka Flocka Flame, Eoto and The Floozies.

EDM acts have never drawn as well as bands in Iowa, but Green tried to find headliners who would appeal to electric music and live music fans.

“Iowa really likes live instruments,” Green said. “Jam bands do well here, and Eoto is made up of two members of The String Cheese Incident (Michael Travis and Jason Hahn). Their show mixes electronic music and live instrumentation, all improvised on the fly.

“Waka Flocka Flame is known for hip hop, but he’s really tuned into the EDM world and has worked with Tiesto and others big acts. His rap is still the main focus, but he’ll play a lot of electronic music.”

“The Floozies are kind of in the same boat as Eoto, with live instruments, but their music is not improvised. ‘Future funk’ is what they call it. They’ve always done well when they come to Iowa.”

For DJ fans, there are still plenty of options, like Snails, Manic Focus (who is also doing an after party Friday at Wooly’s), BTSM, G Jones and others.

515 Alive will feature four stages of music, as well as a silent disco. In that, attendees are given special two-channel headsets which allow them to switch between DJs mixing on stage.

With two days in the mix, Green hopes to keep growing the festival, drawing in bigger headliners and creating more impressive stages for the acts to play.

“The EDM world is so innovative and creative with its live shows, five years from now I can’t even imagine what stages will be like at festivals,” Green said. “I want to keep moving forward with every aspect of the event.”

515 Alive

When: 3 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday

Where: Western Gateway Park, downtown

Cost: $40 for both days, $25 for Friday, $30 for Saturday