Ames music scene a culture of Ames


Photo: Caitlin Ellingson/Iowa State Daily

Mumford’s Nate Logsdon leads the band during Maximum Ames. Maximum Ames lasted from Sept. 20-23; more than 130 bands performed at the festival. 

Cole Komma

To some, Ames is a small town, but this small town has a large music scene that can make any newcomer to Ames feel right at home.

Some new students believe that Veishea is the only time of the year when music can be heard in Ames, but with research one can find that there are concerts almost every weekend for little to no cost.

Nate Logsdon, Maximum Ames Records owner and new manager of local bar and venue, DGs Tap House, states he has had many life-changing moments while attending Iowa State through music.

“It definitely changed my life,” Logsdon says. “When I went to Iowa State, I was studying literature so I was gearing my life to having a more academic career, but putting on shows, going to shows, knowing musicians and being in bands. … Now I have a job in the music industry in town and am professionally employed so it completely changed my life … and it was just through meeting musicians and going to shows that’s all it was.”

Logsdon also is co-founder of the annual Maximum Ames Music Festival, which this year will bring in bands such as the Zombies, the Meat Puppets and Murder By Death. In addition to the larger acts, many local bands will be returning to play Maximum Ames, such as Terror Pigeon Dance Revolt, Mumford’s and H.D. Harmsen.

Chris Ford, director of Maximum Ames Records and frontman for local Christopher the Conquered, also states similar experiences while attending Iowa State.

“It was my entire life really, it was a huge part of my life. It kept me connected to the outside community rather than being isolated in the ‘ISU bubble,'” Ford said. “ISU really does have a bit of a bubble because you could really go to school there [and get] your entire education career and never walk off campus even. But it’s really much more enriching and valuable to be a part of the community, and be a part of something that is larger than yourself.” 

Ford found a personal stress reliever in the music scene.

“In terms of my school, it definitely helped me keep things in perspective, Ford said. “People of all different ages, from different places in life and a lot of people that weren’t going to school express themselves creatively. And to be a part of that creative and progressive piece of culture in our community, it helped give me a lot of perspective and not get super stressed out.”

Logsdon and Ford both believe it is very important for ISU students to attend local shows.

“Demographically [it’s] a really important part of Ames. Half of Ames is Iowa State just populationwise,” Logsdon said. “It’s also really important because students come to Ames to go to Iowa State, and if they have amazing cultural experiences here and they have amazing entertainment experiences here. … They will always associate Ames not only with the little town they went to school that was kind of cute, but also has a very unique culture that people outside of Ames probably don’t know about it at all.”

For those looking for shows on weekends, Logsdon says they have to be prepared to look.

“You have to be someone who wants to have those experiences and if you do want to have those experiences and love music, and having unique experiences with other people through music, art and culture, [then] there is a whole world of culture in Ames,” Logsdon said.

Ford also gives some helpful advice to new students. 

“If you’re wrapped up in that bubble of school you kind of lose sense of your priorities. I think you do better if you have a little more of a world view, it really helps you stay balanced,” Ford said. “That would be my advice to anyone that’s  going to college is to find a way to do something that’s not connected to the school so that you can keep that perspective and have some balance in your life.”