2017 Live Music Lineup
Live music on the Hy-Vee Main Stage and the Acoustic Stage presented by Meredith are FREE to attend because of great partners like Hy-Vee and Meredith.
Friday, June 23, 8:30 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
Passion for eclecticism has always been at the heart of Saint Motel, a band founded by front man A/J Jackson and guitarist Aaron Sharp: film-school classmates whose longtime friendship had its roots in a shared appreciation of obscurest cinema and mutually adventurous musical tastes that include everything from Imperial Teen to Beethoven’s 7th Symphony, 2nd Movement. After bringing bass player Dak Lerdamornpong and drummer Greg Erwin into the fold, the band released their debut EP ForPlay in 2009 and began hosting a series of “experiential concerts” with such themes as Zombie Prom and Judgment Day.
Thanks in part to one-of-a-kind live shows—and to their critically acclaimed, independently released 2012 full-length debut Voyeur—Saint Motel steadily built up a devoted underground following throughout their early years. Releasing the My Type EP in summer 2014, the band saw their fan base grow exponentially as the title track became a top 10 alternative radio smash, with both the song and its companion video (directed by Jackson himself) each collecting streaming figures in the tens of millions, and counting.
Now set for a summer tour—with their past tours including support slots for Arctic Monkeys, Imagine Dragons, Band of Skulls, and Weezer —Saint Motel have discovered a new outlet for their boundary-breaking brand of artistry. With plans of creating virtual-reality-enhanced videos for tracks from their most recent EP, saintmotelevision, the band hopes to offer an even more immersive way to experience what Nylon recently referred to as “a bright, dreamy sound that transports listeners to another time and place.”
BIG HEAD TODD AND THE MONSTERS
Saturday, June 24, 8:30 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
Since their formation in the mid-’80s, Big Head Todd & the Monsters have continued to evolve and explore, moving beyond their Colorado club circuit roots to become one of the most adventurous, respected and durable bands in America. Through constant touring and a zeal to travel down new musical avenues in the studio, BHTM (as their dedicated fans call them) have honed their collective stew of influences into a trademark hybrid sound that’s immediately recognizable.
Beginning with Another Mayberry in 1989, critics noticed what audiences at BHTM live shows already knew. But it was the follow-up, 1990’s Midnight Radio, that truly established the band as a creative force to be reckoned with. Its popularity led to a major label contract and the release of the platinum-selling Sister Sweetly in 1993. With subsequent albums such as 1994’s Strategem and 1997’s Beautiful World, the band earned a place among the top names on the jam band circuit, solidified by 1998’s Live Monsters, the band’s first official concert recording. Riviera was released in 2002, followed by 2004’s Crimes of Passion, 2007’s All the Love You Need, 2010’s Rocksteady, 2011’s 100 Years of Robert Johnson, and their most recent album, Black Beehive.
With all of that history behind them, it would be easy for Big Head Todd & the Monsters to play the nostalgia card and fall back on past glories, but that’s of no interest to them. BHTM still performs, and devoutly loves, the material that first brought them to their fans – material they now approach with a fresh, seasoned perspective.
Saturday, June 24, 8:30 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
Celebrated singer/songwriter Joe Purdy is more aptly described as a troubadour. Purdy understands that his own live music tradition has as much to do with commanding captivated, pin-drop silence as it does prompting roars. Because in those hushed moments, a solemn and crystal-clear voice, the resonance of acoustic guitar strings into the reverberant din of a music hall, his stories are being heard. It is a pure experience. It’s about Joe and his audience.
This direct communication with his fans has translated from the stage to the further dissemination of his folklore. Purdy has chosen to release his albums on his own independent label, Mudtown Crier Records, and with the help of national TV placements and that constant conversation with a strong and ever-growing fan base, he has been able to sell a staggering 1 million direct track downloads in the US on iTunes without ever signing to a label. Joe and those people, all over the country perpetually willing to hear his stories.
Purdy’s last album, This American, is rich with imagery, haunting and utterly unique, filled with warm American folklore and real storytelling. Reflections of moving about underscore more of the ‘travelogue’ motif.
Friday, June 23, 8:30 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
Rising out of the prairies of the Midwest, The Pines are one of the most distinct and powerful indie-rock/Americana groups to hit the national scene in years. Emerging from the same Minneapolis music world that spawned such notable acts as The Jayhawks, The Replacements and Bob Dylan, The Pines have gathered a stunning line-up of musical talent, in both their live shows and on record, that has gained them a faithful and growing following. Frontmen Benson Ramsey and David Huckfelt share a common musical language rooted in the songs and songwriters of their native Iowa, while each bringing a distinct voice and sensibility to the sound that Rolling Stone senior writer David Fricke called “quietly gripping” stark-country. The mysterious sound of The Pines fuses Benson’s ethereal, otherworldly, heart-piercing songs with David’s earthy, darkly romantic and rough-hewn visionary tales. With masterful guitar work, beautiful vocals and the graceful keyboard and vocal additions of Benson’s brother Alex Ramsey, the core of The Pines’ sound captivates and elevates with rare intimacy. Various touring configurations keep The Pines live show fresh and dynamic, from the full band with rhythm section to the versatile essence of the Ramsey, Huckfelt, Ramsey trio.
SIRES is presented by Iowa Public Radio
Friday, June 23, 7:15 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
SIRES is a three-piece power pop group from the heartland. Drenched in nostalgia, they reinvent the sounds of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s in a contemporary fashion. Known for their high-energy shows, they will make you believe in rock and roll again!
Friday, June 23, 3:10 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
Gaining in popularity over the years, especially since the release of their newest album, The Maytags have drawn attention from many and received countless outstanding reviews. Juice Magazine commented, “Fast-forward to a year later and it’s clear that that band is just wildly talented, not a wild card.” Another review, from VICE, stated “The Maytags’ music swings. It differs from all of the Des Moines’ other retro offerings by its sheer vibrancy—there’s just warmth lining every note.”
ABBIE & THE SAWYERS
Saturday, June 24, 7:05 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
Abbie & The Sawyers' original Americana folk serves up earthy soundscapes, soulful hooks, and lilting harmonies rooted in the Iowa prairie. As described by dsm Magazine, their "unique blend of backwoods Appalachia and Midwest charm creates a sound that is stunningly intimate."
Based in Des Moines, Abbie & The Sawyers has played festivals and venues across Central Iowa since 2013. Band members are Abbie Sawyer (vocals/guitar), Alex Clemons (double bass), Lorin Ditzler (vocals, banjo), and Chris LoRang (vocals, guitar). Their debut album, "Shine," released in late 2016. It features crowd favorites "Sunday Morning Truth,” “Everything Seems Bad, "Ain't No Mountains Here” and “Keen on You.”
JAMES BIEHN BAND
Saturday, June 24, 7 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
James M. Biehn has been playing since he picked up a trumpet at the age of 10. He studied music under the direction of Grammy-nominated Phil Mattson and in college performed with his first band, the McKenzies. James has continued to play live as a solo performer as well as with bands such as the Nadas, the Jeff Banks Band, Hyde Park, and Soapbox Prophets. He is a first-call studio musician in Iowa and has contributed to albums by the Nadas, Bonne Finken, the Josh Davis Band as well as various commercial works. He has opened for countless national touring bands such as Blues Traveler, Sonny Landreth, Gov’t Mule, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, King’s X, and many more.
In 2005, James was the winner of Lazer 103.3’s “Guitar Battle,” which earned him the opportunity to play onstage with the band Tesla. For two years running he was the regional winner in Guitar Center’s King of the Blues guitar competition.
Saturday, June 24, 3:30 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
Hailed as "the best currently active rock band in Iowa" by the Iowa Informer, indie rock outfit Halfloves offers a variety of songs on their self-titled debut album made with renowned producer Brandon Darner (Imagine Dragons, The Envy Corps). Halfloves mixes pop sensibilities with heady textures and space to create an emotionally charged sound.
Saturday, June 24, 5:55 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
Dawg Yawp is a folk-based duo that combines sitar, guitar, synth and drum samples alongside beautiful harmonies. Tyler Randall and Rob Keenan are lifelong friends that attended Berklee together, only to return to their native Cincinnati to focus on the project. Their debut EP Two Hearted quickly earned them acclaim and radio play, addition to several festival and national support slots. Their debut self-titled LP, released 10/14/16 via Old Flame Records, has started generating national praise from NPR to WXPN, Consequence of Sound and beyond.
Saturday, June 24, 4:20 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
GoodcaT is an up and coming group of talented musicians that each creatively combine their individual breadth of musical knowledge into an engaging and passionate ensemble experience. The pet project of songwriter Nels Dovre-GoodcaT brings to the table a collection of sounds created with a deep longing to connect with the perceiver. GoodcaT's depth of sound ties percussive acoustic guitar, wistful melodies, pulsating grooves, lush instrumentation, and soulful vocal hooks together through honest songwriting about the human condition. Prepare to experience music geared for introspection, movement, and smiles.
NELLA THOMAS BAND
Saturday, June 24, 2 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
Singer and songwriter, Nella Thomas, is a proud Iowa native who captures her midwestern roots through song. Her music, best described as alternative-folk, borrows the iconic sounds of many genres including country, bluegrass, and pop. Nella enjoys collaborating with some of Des Moines finest musicians, many of whom can be heard in her album, "Yonder Woods." Nella began her singer/songwriter career as a solo musician and now performs as a 5-piece band.
Sunday, June 25, 11 a.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
Rob received his musical education in the barrooms on Forest Avenue in his home town of Des Moines, Iowa. Rose Marie Webster, Luther Allison, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee were some of the musicians that let him sit in.
During the ’80s he barnstormed the Midwest in The Wapsie River Band. Then in 1990 went back to playing solo. Opening up for Lyle Lovett, The Band, John Hiatt, The Austin Lounge Lizards, Dan Hicks, Jerry Jeff Walker, Norman Blake, Steve Forbert, Leon Redbone, and dozens of Blues acts. This, coupled with a legendary weekly gig at Flanagan’s, lead to recording three CDs on the Hot Fudge label. Also being a part of the trio Two Bobs and a Babe that included label-mates Bob Dorr and Molly Nova.
Rob is an honorary member of the Central Iowa Blues Society, the Iowa Blues Hall of Fame and has participated in Blues in the Schools programs with Fruteland Jackson, and Billy Branch.
NOLA JAZZ BAND
Sunday, June 25, 12:15 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
The current iteration of the NOLA Jazz Band has been playing regularly since March 2015. On that date the band started their ongoing monthly “New Orleans Jazz Party” every first Friday of the month playing to packed and many times sold out shows. All band members have a common love for the sound and “feel” of both traditional and current New Orleans based music – real, gutsy, raw, heartfelt, and entertaining.
The NOLA Jazz Band has recently played alongside a number of well-known traditional jazz and music groups including Davina & The Vagabonds from Minneapolis, and Bria Skonberg from New York City. Band members have also shared the stage with Vincent Gardner, Maynard Ferguson, Benny Goodman, Kurt Elling, and many others. NOLA Jazz Band members have also been inducted into the Iowa Jazz Hall of Fame, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Friday, June 23, 1:35 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
Not one to be lost in the fold of other bearded troubadours and poets of his ilk, Luke Fox has blurred the lines of modern folk for quite some time as a solo performer. Sharing with his listeners every footstep of the journey which has led him to this moment, his debut album, “A Still Between Echoes” provides an experience that he hopes is both cinematic and moving to his listeners.
GIRLS ROCK!DES MOINES
Sunday, June 25, 2:10 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
The mission of GR!DSM is to provide programs that enable girls to collaborate creatively in an environment of mutual respect and positive self-expression and to build self-esteem through music education, creation, and performance.
GR!DSM provides workshops and technical training, creates leadership opportunities, cultivates a supportive community of peers and mentors, and encourages social change and developing life skills through music performance and education. GR!DSM is committed to ensuring ALL gender non-conforming, transgender and self-identified girls, have access to the organization’s programming. In support of that, no music experience is required, and no girl will be turned away for inability to pay for program participation.
GR!DSM is a non profit organization, with its Summer Day Camp modeled after the original Rock ‘n’ Roll Camp for Girls. In its first year of programming, four years ago, GR!DSM held one summer day camp session and served 23 girls. In it’s second year, GR!DSM held two summer day camp sessions and served 35 girls and has provided over $7000 in scholarships. In 2015, the Summer Day Camp program served 43 girls and the organization piloted its first Overnight Songwriting Camp. As the organization continues to grow, community partnerships and support will enable program expansion and growth to meet the needs of girls across Des Moines and surrounding areas.
CENTRAL IOWA MUSIC LAB
Sunday, June 25, 3:30 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage
AARON EARL SHORT
Sunday, June 25, 3:30 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
Growing up in the Midwest, Short wrote and played rock and roll, folk, Americana, blues, country and roots, landing where he is today: a music mutt. Now emerging with his full solo sound he has recorded his new album, Watchlist. This is Short’s latest collections of personal politically charged songs to be released spring 2017 followed by an album release tour through the summer. Performing live is a committed passion that not everyone has the road weary troubadour nature to pursue, but for Short, it is a great fit. Performing live and entertaining audiences is what he is built for. With a large repertoire of cover songs and very relatable likable solo material, he is able to keep his dream of performing alive and well.
Sunday, June 25, 2 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
Gloom Balloon is the debut solo project by Patrick Tape Fleming, the founder of the indie rock band The Poison Control Center. That band has played over 1,000 shows, released 3 critically acclaimed records, opened for Jeff Mangum, Pavement, and Of Montreal, toured with Apples In Stereo, and was named 2011 Live Act of the Year by Steven Hyden at the AV Club. He has written, recorded, produced and released over 100 songs since the year 2000. Gloom Balloon will release their sophomore album, "Drying the Eyes of the Goddess of Gloom, Underneath the Stars and the Moon." in fall of 2017
Sunday, June 25, 12:30 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
The old saying ‘walk before you run’ would be an apt description of Iowa native Marc Bailey’s time in music. “The first 10 years or so I was really focused on putting together instrumentation and studying how everything interacted together,” says Marc. “Each project I worked on taught me something new in terms of dynamics and creating songs. Then I flipped everything upside down by picking up a new instrument and immersed myself in songwriting as a whole.”
“By no means am I reinventing the wheel, but every person has their own experiences and perspective so that naturally lends to a different take on things. I really dig getting lost in songs and finding my own meanings, my hope is that people can do the same with the songs I write.”
Saturday, June 24, 5:45 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
Saturday, June 24, 3:55 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
Matt Hannah is a Michigan-native and Minneapolis-based folk Americana singer-songwriter. His music has been heard on KCMP The Current (MPLS) and 100 other radio stations around the country, and he has performed throughout the midwest including at the Mid West Music Fest. His sophomore album Dreamland debuted in February 2017.
Saturday, June 24, 2:35 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
"From Des Moines, Iowa, Ethridge writes sappy, raw songs about his wife and kids and about growing up playing music in the family band. Ethridge was raised a musician in a musicians home and is now carrying on the tradition."
Saturday, June 24, 1:10 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
Dang Felton is a Des Moines based singer songwriter who's style relies heavily on intricate and complex finger style guitar playing. Often compared to songwriters such as Nick Drake, Jose Gonzales, and Ray Lamontagne his writing style gives each song a vivid little world to lose yourself in.
Friday, June 23, 7:15 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
Friday, June 23, 5:45 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
Ryne Doughty is a roots-americana musician out of Des Moines, IA, whose music is deeply rooted in real life stories of love, loss, work, and play. His stripped down, earthy sound is directly influenced by the small, rural town where he was born and raised. The hard-working, simple living, and friendly way of life of the Midwest shines through his music that is understated yet complex and rich with beauty and realness.
Playing behind his third studio album, “Under the Willow Tree”, Doughty is back in Iowa after a few years in the mountains of Colorado. With solid finger-style guitar picking and a rich baritone voice, he brings a dynamic of warmth and richness to the stage. Doughty’s performances are always passionate and full of energy and songs that tell real life stories. His live performance and studio albums alike will not leave you wanting. Doughty’s main passion in life is to share his music with the very people who help influence it; the real, hard working, everyday people that make this beautiful world go around.
THE DEAD LINE STRING BAND
Friday, June 23, 4:05 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
Come and ride the rails with The Dead Line String Band from Des Moines, Iowa! Members are Nick Loffredo ( mandolin, vocals) Charlie Formaro (banjo, dobro) Bob Rice (bass, vocals) Ryan Moffitt (guitar and vocals). We started in February of 2015. Our style of music would probably be considered jamgrass, bluegrass, folk, rock. We cover The Grateful Dead, Moe, John Hartford, Greg Brown and many others as well as originals. We try to balance our shows with half originals and half covers. We've been privileged to play for the 80/35 festival along with some of the great music venues around Des Moines. We are currently working on an album "Simulated Intoxication". Which should be ready by the fall of 2017.
Friday, June 23, 3 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
In the constantly changing world of popular music, Lily DeTaeye is an ever-evolving creative mind. The 19 year old folk singer-songwriter hailing from Des Moines, Iowa recorded her first EP at the age of 15. Now, a freshman at the University of Iowa, she’s been signed by Station 1 Records and is making her own changes to the musical landscape of the Midwest. With a powerful, soulful voice reminiscent of Caroline Smith, and a diverse musical ability spanning folk rock to pop comparable to The Lumineers, she’s an absolute delight leaving audiences reeling. Whether she’s up on stage with her guitar and band, serenading passersby at the piano, or sitting on the riverbank with her ukulele, you’ll know she’s truly something special, and you’ll always stop to listen just a little while longer.
Friday, June 23, 1:40 p.m. on the Acoustic Stage
Singer-Songwriter, Isabel Daza, will be performing an hour set at the Des Moines Arts Festival on Friday, June 23rd @ 1:30. Isabel (more commonly known as Daza) is a local artist who takes inspiration from personal experiences and the unique perspective of a teen with a old soul. Daza aspires to reach the audience on a new level. Although she is only 17, everyone has something to say and her deep tone and soulful belter sound help convey her message.