Changes to 515 Alive Music Festival bring criticism


Photo: Miranda Cantrell/Iowa State Daily

Iowa State alumni Troy Kyro performs at the Joker’s Stage during the 2013 515 Alive music festival in downtown Des Moines, on August 3.

Recent changes to the 17th annual 515 Alive Music Festival have some fans and attendees upset.

The announcement of a venue change along with other logistical changes to the concert came in the form of a Facebook and Twitter post Tuesday. The post detailed some drastic changes to the two-day event, only 10 days before the festival begins. The changes do not include any alterations to the lineup, which includes Playboi Carti, Wiz Khalifa and Lil Nas X. 

Changes to the event include moving the acts from a temporary stage to the recently-opened Water Works Park Amphitheater. This move did not sit well with fans, as the amphitheater is located at the opposite end of the park from the campsite, contrary to years previous. 

“Last year and the year before, general admission camping was about 200 feet from the stage area, and VIPs are directly next to it,” said Phillip Pearson, senior in supply chain management Iowa State. “This year, 11 days before, they changed the stage area to the new amphitheater, which is on the complete other end of Water Works [Park].”

When ticket sales began, the venue was still set to be near the campgrounds.

Attendees to this year’s event felt blindsided by the change that now necessitates the use of shuttles to and from the campsite from the venue. Those who purchased premier camping have the opportunity to have their ticket price reduced to general admission prices or to receive a full refund altogether. 

“They apparently have a shuttle system set up,” Pearson said. “So instead of being right next to the stage, we have to take a likely overcrowded shuttle to the stage.”

Another departure from the schedule of years past, the event will now start at 5 p.m., rather than being an all-day event. Concerts usually wrap up around 1 a.m. Compared to the all-day festivals previously, the change cuts off approximately five hours of live performances on each day.

“The music was supposed to start at noon,” Pearson said. “Now it doesn’t start until 5. We aren’t allowed to have amplified music, fires or outside alcohol in the campground. What are we supposed to do for five extra hours on Saturday when we were supposed to have music?”

Despite all the changes to the event, fans have mostly voiced their frustration with the short-notice notification of the changes. When tickets went on sale, the event was advertised with the same campground and venue locations as previous years. 

“I am a little salty about paying $180 for two days of music and then having them cut the concert runtime by eight hours a little more than a week before the festival and not offering as much as an apology,” Pearson said.

The abruptness of the announcement has left a sour taste in the mouths of those who bought tickets this year.

“A few of my friends have already started to try to sell their tickets because other festivals that run longer are cheaper now,” Pearson said.