Weather forecast: 80 with a chance of 35

Courtney Barnett headlined at the 80/35 Music Festival on Saturday


Indie music vibrated the Pappajohn Sculpture Park once again this weekend at the 2018 80/35 Music Festival. With headliners such as Kesha, Atmosphere, Courtney Barnett and Car Seat Headrest, the weekend was not one to miss. 

Local music supporters braved the heat on Friday and Saturday to support artists from all over the country. Put on by the Des Moines Music Coalition, 80/35 celebrated its 11th year with a bang.

The 80/35 Music Festival, best known for its relaxed setting of local music, kept the small city feeling. Being able to attend one of the free shows and still be located a couple rows back is one of the perks of attending.  

“It feels like you’re watching your favorite band play in your backyard,” said Josh Smith, a six time 80/35 Music Festival attendee.  

The festival featured three free stages and one ticketed stage. The free stages were sponsored by Kum & Go, Iowa Public Radio and Nationwide, while the main stage was sponsored by Hy-Vee.

Ames-based Iowa legends, Poison Control Center played three shows throughout the weekend. Frontman Patrick Tape Fleming brought a positive vibe to all the shows. The band is known for playing around Ames, including the All Iowa Arts Festival in April.

Locust Street was packed with food trucks, vendors and art installations. Crowd favorites like The Outside Scoop, Karam’s Mediterranean Grill and Gusto Pizza Co. are just a few to be named. The streets were packed with drink tents serving all sorts of non-water beverages.

Not willing to pay for the admission ticket? No worries. The 80/35 Music Festival is well known for its free activities outside the admission. The Des Moines Music Coalition focuses on building a strong art scene for Des Moines. The festival featured “paint by the numbers”, a fan-painted mural for Kesha, community yoga, a kid’s activity zone and much more.

When it was time for Car Seat Headrest to take the main Hy-Vee stage on Saturday, “technical difficulties” caused a loss of power to the backscreen. That didn’t stop the Seattle based band from rocking on. Joined by members of Naked Giants, the band played their set with lots of energy.

“There’s no other band that likes corn more than Car Seat Headrest,” said Andrew Katz, drummer for Car Seat Headrest. 80/35 welcomed the indie rock band to Des Moines for the first time.

Courtney Barnett took to the stage after Car Seat Headrest. Barnett, the 30-year-old Australian, featured songs off her new album “Tell Me How You Really Feel”.

The artist is well known for her effortless ability to flip an intensely private sentiment on its head and make it sound universal and relatable to everyone. She featured songs “Hopelessness” from her new album and “Elevator Operator” from her first album in 2015.

Lots of local musicians are supported by the Des Moines Music Coalition during the 80/35 Music Festival. One individual, Ramona Muse Lambert is the frontwoman for Ramona & The Sometimes, but also teaches art classes at the Des Moines Art Center.  

“Thank you to Jarin for supporting us local artists and allowing us a stage to share our art with you,” said Muse Lambert. The festival is a great way for local artists to get their art out to share their stories with others. 

The 2018 festival ended with Grammy nominee Kesha. The pop star is currently on tour with Macklemore promoting her fourth studio album, Rainbow. The Hy-Vee main stage pit was packed with glitter, unicorn helmets and pink hair extensions.

Her set ended sooner than anyone wanted, including songs “Praying” and “Rainbow” for the park to sing back to her. These feminist battle cries were the heart of the music festival. In the words of Kesha, “F**k yeah, Des Moines.”

And just like that the two-day festival ended. Some headed to the 80/35 After Party featuring CupcakKe at the Des Moines Social Club and some headed home. We can only hope that next summer comes around fast.