The complete guide to Ames entertainment

Julia Ferrell

As the semester begins, students may find themselves overwhelmed with classes and living in a different city. But have no fear, the Ames entertainment life is always available to help ease the stress of a new year.

Local Music

The Ames music scene is establishing itself as a go-to performance location in the Midwest. With plenty of venues and a range of bands, as well as our own music festival, Ames is making its mark in the music industry.

Ames has several bars and performance venues, including the Maintenance Shop, The Space and DG’s Taphouse, among many others. Bars like DG’s host live performances during open hours, and the Maintenance Shop, located in the Memorial Union, offer drinks and food while students listen to their favorite bands. The Space, located a few blocks away from campus on Hayward Ave., is used as a music venue, as well as a workshop space and a gallery.

Local musicians Nate Logsdon and Chris Lyng formed the first annual Maximum Ames Music Festival last year, and the four-day event featured 127 bands, Lyng said in a previous interview. Headliners for previous year’s festival included The Mountain Goats and Someone Still Loves You, Boris Yeltsin.

This year’s festival will take place between Sept. 26 through Sept. 29.

Campus Music

The music department is also beginning its season of choir, orchestra, jazz and percussion performances. Music can be heard regularly at the Martha-Ellen Tye Recital Hall, located in Music Hall, for affordable ticket prices.

Students can audition for a variety of musical groups, including vocal choirs, percussion ensembles, marching band, jazz bands and instrumental groups. More information on auditioning for groups can be found in the Music Hall office or on the music department website.


The Ames theater life also offers plenty of performances throughout the year. ISU Theatre performs several plays, and the occasional opera, in Fisher Theater every year. The theater season also includes the annual Stars over Veishea musical in the spring, as well as the student-produced play at the end of the year. Auditions for the spring productions will be coming up shortly. Information can be found in the theater office on the second floor of Pearson Hall or online at the department’s website.

Stephens Auditorium, located across Lincoln Way from Maple-Willow-Larch, also provides musicals, plays and other entertainment groups throughout the year.

The Ames area also provides several community theaters. While there are many local theaters throughout the county, Ames includes theatrical troupes ACTORS and the Story Theater Company. ACTORS auditions are held throughout the year, and offer rehearsal schedules flexible with Iowa State students. The Story Theater Company performs children’s theater throughout the year, and workshops are held throughout the summer.


Iowa State also provides dance groups for a range of genres. Hip-hop group Dub H began in 2001, and performs in both fall and spring semesters. The group has previously performed for the Minnesota Timberwolves, including two halftime performances.

Groups Orchesis I and II perform throughout the year as well. Auditions for Orchesis I are held each year and are in Studio 196 in the Forker Building. Each year, Orchesis I performs at the Octagon Art Festival, and also hosts two shows of its own. In the fall, the team performs the annual Barjche modern and contemporary dance production. Orchesis II, however, is a non-audition dance group, and performs a range of dances including jazz, tap, modern and hip-hop.


Several art galleries are located around the ISU campus. Morrill Hall, located north of Beardshear Hall, is home to the Christian Petersen Art Museum. The museum features art from Iowa State’s former artist-in-residence. The exhibit is located at 1017 and 0003 Morrill Hall.

The Memorial Union is also home to several art galleries. The Gallery and the Pioneer Room, both located on the third floor, are often used as art exhibits, showcasing both regional and student artists. New exhibits are displayed every four to six weeks, according to the gallery website.

The building also houses the Workspace, where students can take classes to make their own art. The Workspace, located in the East Basement, holds numerous classes throughout the year, including sewing, jewelry making, dancing and sculpting.

The Brunnier Art Museum, located in the Scheman Building in Iowa State Center, displays various art exhibits throughout the year. The museum emphasizes decorative art, and exhibits often include glass and stone, as well as textiles, carpets and furniture.

Students can also venture off campus to find more art exhibits. Located on Douglas Avenue, the Octagon Center for the Arts, provides exhibits and classes throughout the year.


If students are looking for a laid-back evening, Ames also provides two movie theaters near campus.

Cinemark Movies 12, located at 1317 Buckeye Ave., provides new releases and midnight showings of big films. Movies 12 shows films several times throughout every day of the week.

In North Grand Mall, Cinemark North Grand 5 also shows films throughout the week. Although the films shown have been released for several weeks prior, North Grand 5 sells tickets for as cheap as a dollar.


In April, all of Ames entertainment comes together in the annual celebration of Veishea. The weeklong celebration is meant to showcase the ISU community, and both local and national entertainment are featured throughout the week.

During the week, student events and contests feature a range of entertainment talents. Cyclone Idol, a singing competition, is hosted by a celebrity singer and Veishea Says I’m Funny showcases stand-up comedians on campus. MuSE, the Music Showcase Extraordinaire, held in the Maintenance Shop, includes performances from both students and local bands.

On Central Campus, various national entertainment acts are performed, including juggling as well as professional regurgitating.

On Friday and Saturday, the Live@Veishea concerts are held. Each year, national acts perform in the parking lot outside of the Molecular Biology Building. Last year’s concerts featured Easton Corbin and B.o.B as headliners, and also included performers like Grouplove, The Maine, and Kris Allen.