20,000 to invade small town Iowa for Willie Nelson-led fest
Five facts you might not already know about Hinterland Music Festival 2016 headliner Willie Nelson.
St. Charles plans to transform from a small, rural south-central Iowa town to the musical epicenter of the state Friday and Saturday for the second annual Hinterland Music Festival.
Organizers estimate that 20,000 people will attend the two-day event — nearly triple that of the estimated 7,000 who attended in 2015 and well beyond the 600 or so who populate St. Charles. With a range of music from indie rock to folk to roots to old fashion country-western, the festival is expected to draw people from 38 states, Canada and Guam.
“My conservative guess is (Hinterland will bring in) about 10,000 people a day,” said festival organizer Sam Summers. “It’s picking up a lot more than it did last year.”
With anticipated performances from Ray LaMontagne, Willie Nelson, Cold War Kids and others, two days of camping, a slew of food and art vendors and more, here’s what the Iowa festival lover can expect when stepping foot into the 2016 edition of Hinterland.
It’s all about the music.
Songwriting staple Ray LaMontagne headlines night one festivities and American music legend Willie Nelson headliners the main stage Saturday. Other scheduled performances include Grace Potter, Lake Street Dive, Cold War Kids, William Elliott Whitmore and more.
Whitmore, an acclaimed songwriter in his own right, said sharing the stage with Nelson for the first time means a lot to him.
“I’ve never played with him. I’ve seen him play a couple times,” said Whitmore, from rural Lee County in southeast Iowa. “My earliest memories of hearing recorded music is of Willie Nelson. He’s a living legend.”
Tickets to Hinterland cost $95 in advance for a two-day pass, $49 for an advance Friday pass and $59 for an advance Saturday pass.
Don’t want to drive? Pack a tent.
Camping passes cost $25 per person and the Hinterland camping site opens at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday. Campers are not allowed to park cars in the camping area, but a designated parking lot for campers is located on festival grounds.
Campers are welcome to bring their own food and drink into the campgrounds, per the Hinterland website, but glass and styrofoam items are prohibited and recycling is encouraged. A general store, open until 2 a.m. both nights of the event, is located on the festival grounds for “odds and ends” items that may have been left behind when packing.
Campers must be off the grounds by 11 a.m. Sunday.
Camping comes with extra music.
New to this year’s festival is a “campfire” stage, bringing after-hours entertainment for those who don’t want the music to stop after the headliners finish performing. The lineup for the campfire stage, which is exclusive to those camping, features local offerings the likes of Dustin Smith, Dan Tedesco and more. See the full lineup below.
11 p.m.: James Biehn
11:45 p.m.: Some Friends
12:45 a.m.: Snuckle
11 p.m.: Dan Tedesco
11:45 p.m.: Dustin Smith
12:45 a.m.: The Cardinal Sound
Pro tip: Not camping? Consider taking the free shuttle.
Summers recommends festival attendees not camping invest in taking a free festival shuttle from Des Moines to St. Charles. The Des Moines shuttle pick-up/drop-off site will be at the Sears parking lot of the Southridge Mall at 1111 E. Army Post Road. Shuttles will run from 3 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Saturday to 1 a.m. Sunday.
Those wishing to drive to St. Charles and park can purchase a $15 parking pass in advance for two-day parking. Day-of parking at Hinterland costs $10. The general admission parking lot for Hinterland is located just under a mile from the festival grounds and shuttles from the lot to the grounds plan to run throughout both days of music.
Summers said the field the public can use to park is just west of St. Charles.
“Last year, obviously, people were parking on the roads and all sorts of things,” Summers said. “If we want to stay in St. Charles, we have to find legal places to park.”
Everyone needs fuel.
No festival is complete without serving up multiple food offerings. Here’s what Hinterland plans to offer: Karam’s Grill, Campbell’s CornDogs, Hawaiian Grill, The Outside Scoop, MoRub, Gusto Pizza Co., Caribbean Kitchen, Gastro Grub, Dumpling Darlings, Local Burrito, and Thelma’s.
A Hinterland Tap Trailer with rotating craft beers will be on festival grounds for those wanting an alcoholic beverage. Offerings include brews from Boulevard, Boone Valley, Peace Tree, New Belgium and more. Canned domestic, imported and local craft offerings, as well as wine and mixed drinks, also plan to be available throughout the festival. Non-alcoholic drinks include water and Pepsi products.
What you can and can’t bring.
Everyone attending Hinterland will be subject to a security wanding and bag searches. Items not allowed include drugs, weapons, laser pointers, pets, fireworks, professional cameras and more. Allowable items include empty CamelBaks, sunscreen, backpacks, bug spray and more. Re-entry is allowed. See a full list of what is and isn’t allowed at hinterlandiowa.com.
Don’t forget the sunscreen.
Weather.com predicts morning thunderstorms for Friday with a high of 84 degrees. Saturday's forecast calls for a mostly cloudy day with a 20 percent chance of rain and high of 83 degrees. Summers said if severe weather, such as high winds or a thunderstorm, rolls through during the festival, music will “pause” during the duration of the storm. The event is listed as rain or shine.
“Weather looks good, ya know?” Summers said. “I have been looking but I usually tell myself not to pay attention until the Monday of (the festival). I think we’re in a good place.”
Bringing the kids? There’s an area for that.
Want to bring your kids? That’s totally cool, the Hinterland website says. Children age 12 or under get in for free. The festival provides a kids’ entertainment section on the grounds, appropriately called “Hinterkids.”
A coloring station — featuring a special edition coloring book by Des Moines-based artist Ramona Muse Lambert — and other activities are scheduled from 5-8 p.m. Friday and noon-8 p.m. Saturday at the Hinterkids site.