80/35: Full lineup, festival changes announced for annual Des Moines music event
Justin Schoen, Jill Haverkamp and Amedeo Rossi remember the uncertainty of the first years of 80/35
Do you feel it still, Des Moines?
Alternative staple and breakout “Feel it Still” hitmaker Portugal. The Man co-headlines this year’s 80/35 Music Festival in downtown Des Moines. Festival organizers unveiled Tuesday a complete lineup for the July event, led by soul singer Elle King, indie staple Liz Phair, Iowa’s own Lissie, synth-pop favorite Metric and more.
In its 12th year, 80/35 returns July 12 and 13 to Western Gateway Park. Early-bird tickets start at $65 before fees and go on sale at 10 a.m. on April 5 at 80-35.com. Following the early-bird sale, ticket prices increase to $80 before fees. Single-day tickets will go on sale at a later date, a news release said.
Curated by local nonprofit the Des Moines Music Coalition, 80/35 organizers unveiled Tuesday a number of changes:
- Previously free, the Kum & Go Stage moves inside the ticketed area between 12th Street and 13th Street. Kum & Go Stage acts play in-between main stage acts, eliminating downtime in the paid area.
- The Nationwide Stage remains free, moving to the corner of 14th Street and Grand Avenue.
- A free Iowa Public Radio stage will be at 13th Street, south of Locust Street.
- The ticketed VIP area expands to accommodate more guests.
Previously starting at the corner of 10th Street and Locust Street, food, ticketing and merchandise vending moves west this year, starting at the corner of 12th and Locust Street. Additional vending can be found on 13th Street and by the Nationwide Stage on Grand Avenue.
The changes come in part because 80/35 felt congested at the corner of 10th and Locust Street, said Jarin Hart, music coalition executive director. Behind headlining pop star Kesha, the event saw an estimated 34,000 festivalgoers across two days in 2018, including 15,000 paid ticket holders.
With festival project manager and co-founder Amedeo Rossi's retirement in 2018, Hart leads a group of production, volunteer and operation coordinators — many of which started working with 80/35 in 2008, its inaugural year.
Moving foot traffic toward the John and Mary Pappajohn Sculpture Park also alleviates “festival fatigue” that Western Gateway businesses may experience during warm seasons, Hart said.
“We've been pounding Nationwide (offices) on all sides for years,” Hart said. “We wanted to be mindful of that.”
And, moving a second stage inside the pay-to-see area offers additional incentive for music fans to snag a two-day ticket, said Andy Cusack, an 80/35 booking consultant.
“(We’re thinking about) providing the best value to ticket holders,” Cusack said. “That free area is still pretty robust and is going to have music going on at all times.”
Past 80/35 acts include Wilco, Courtney Barnett, Weezer, Conor Oberst, Wu-Tang Clan, St. Vincent, the Roots, the Flaming Lips, the Shins, Cake, David Byrne and more.
The festival continues to deliver its decade-old promise of offering Iowans opportunity to discover new music and see acts that otherwise might pass over Des Moines, but “we’ve recognized the past few years that we need to draw in people with some names and music people have recognized,” music coalition board member Justin Schoen said.
Enter: July 13 headliner Portugal. The Man. The Alaskan indie rock act closes down the main stage following the wave of wildly popular 2017 single “Feel It Still,” which reached four-time Platinum status in the United States and earned the group a Grammy Award. The track comes off the band’s eighth full-length effort, “Woodstock.”
Prior to the breakout success, Portugal. The Man played Wooly’s in early 2017 and Brenton Skating Plaza in 2014.
July 12 headliner Elle King impacted the pop and rock charts in 2014 with breakout single “Ex’s and Oh’s,” a cut from her 2015 debut album, “Love Stuff.” The track earned King a pair of Grammy Award nominations in 2016 and, in 2018, the Americana storyteller debuted her sophomore effort, “Shake The Spirit.”
The bill comes filled out by Des Moines staple The Envy Corps, Iowa sludge metal outfit Druids, touring indie pop MisterWives, tenured folk group Murder By Death and more. Iowa Public Radio live sessions will be announced at a later date.
Find the full lineup below.
Hy-Vee main stage
Kum & Go stage
Murder By Death
Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal
Closed Format presents Disco Demolition
Gen Z showcase*
Hy-Vee main stage
Portugal. The Man
Sadat X & El w/ DJ Kaos
And The Kids
Kum & Go stage
Open Mike Eagle
The Envy Corps
The Other Brothers
Left Is West
DJ Raj and Friends
Gen Z showcase*
Greta & Adaline Akers
Girls Rock! DSM
DMMC Summer Camps: Hip-Hop
DMMC Summer Camps: Rock
* Denotes a free stage