5 Things You Should Do at 80/35
Downtown Des Moines (DSM) plays host to 80/35 — a multi-day music festival being held July 6 – 7 at Western Gateway Park. Here’s the five things you should do to make the most it:
1. Go see a band you’ve never heard of
We’ve seen it happen again and again. A band will play 80/35 when they have a smallish following and then they’ll blow up into super stardom. Dawes. Lizzo. Ingrid Michaelson. Jason Isbell. Run The Jewels. The fest tries to book artists they think have a lot of talent and/or potential, so it’s in your best interest to go see a band that you don’t know. They might just be the next big thing.
2. Eat food
At 80/35, there’s so much good food. You can walk the span of a block and find corn dogs, gyros, steamed dumplings, veggie/vegan options, smoothies… you name it. If you want a reprieve from the humidity, you can duck into a local business along Locust Street (i.e. Americana, Proof, Centro) and grab an air-conditioned bite. The beauty of 80/35 is that it’s blended seamlessly with the Downtown businesses, and everything is super walkable.
3. Drink coffee and/or grab a drink
This is very related to #2 but important enough to get its own bullet point. Once you’re on the festival grounds, you’re also very close to Ritual Cafe and Horizon Line Coffee. You can grab an extremely yummy/local iced coffee and go about your business. It’s really delightful and unique compared to other festivals where you can’t leave the premises once you have your wristband. If grabbing a drink is more your speed, I’d suggest the Lagunitas Lounge (on the festival grounds). It has an awesome vibe and some fun, one-of-a-kind options.
4. Check out the intimate IPR Live Sessions
Nestled in between the library and Starbucks is a little alcove on Locust Street where Iowa Public Radio (IPR) sets up shop every year. This is an awesome opportunity to see a local or national band up-close-and-personal. In past years, Dr. Dog and Bad Bad Hats have done really killer live sessions. Anywhere from 30 to 50 people fit in that space, but it’s a fun way to have a unique and intimate experience. IPR usually has fun SWAG (stuff-we-all-get) too, like sunnies and stickers.
5. Take a blanket and relax OR wait it out for front row spots
80/35 is a relatively laid-back festival. It’s not trying to be Bonnaroo or Coachella, and that’s the beauty of it. If at all possible, you should bring a blanket and chill in the lawn of Western Gateway Park for at least one set. It’s such a nice atmosphere, and you can really sit back and soak it all in. That being said, because it’s a mid-sized festival, you can get really close to the stage if that’s what you’re into. If you want to be front row for the headliner, you probably need to start camping out by 3 p.m. AT LEAST.
Hope you enjoy the fest! I’ll be there checking out Vagabon, Soccer Mommy and Courtney Barnett.
Looking for more? Visit our Things To Do page to plan your summer of fun in Downtown DSM. Interested in local musicians in the region? Download tunes from DSM’s own bands from the DSM USA Music Mix