For a first year festival, 80-35 posted several successes—the programming was solid, the outreach to the community was commendable, the layout was both intricate and manageable. Most of all, it really got me thinking about music festivals as a concept, a theoretical/social entity instead of as a series of events and shows and vendors that fall somewhere between legendary and worthless.
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You see, what we learned was that the folks at 80/35 – so named for the two interstates that cross paths in Des Moines — are all about keeping it real. And for as much as they spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to bring in nationally renowned acts to make Des Moines as much of a destination as anywhere, they also hooked up the free stages with some killer talent so that anyone who had the initiative to show up at Western Gateway Park could be treated to some awesome music.
The crowd stayed strong – but wet – at the second day of the 80/35 Music Festival in downtown Des Moines. Early estimates put the crowd at around 8,000 paid fans with an equal number of fans in the free areas Sunday, just a couple thousand people less than Saturday’s turnout. Those who stuck around for the full day were rewarded with relatively clear skies for the Heavy and Modest Mouse. [Read the rest of the review...]