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80/35 festival brings national, local talent

By Talee Mabe
On April 30, 2013

  • Festival-goers take in music at 80/35. Photo Contributed

DES MOINES-- Hopeful music festival-goers, among them students from Kirkwood Community College, may be considering making a trip to a sought-after music festival, such as Lollapalooza, Coachella or Bonnaroo.

However, fans looking to take in a world-class music festival can do so while staying close to home.

The 80/35 Music Festival, held in Des Moines on July 5 and 6, will play host to fans from around the country. In a span of a few blocks, music lovers can see a festival  full of local favorites and internationally known artists.

Acts such as Modest Mouse,  The Flaming Lips and Death Cab For Cutie have headlined the festival in the past. Regional and local favorites are also showcased at 80/35, with the festival's headlining acts typically taking the main stage on either evening.

This year's lineup will feature more than 40 bands, including David Byrne & St. Vincent. The two famous musicians collaborated on the 2012 album Love This Giant. Also headlining is Wu-Tang Clan, a world-renowned collaboration of rap heavyweights and MCs. "They're not playing very many shows," said Christopher Ford, administrative volunteer for the festival. "People are excited that Des Moines is bringing them in."

80/35 also creates exposure for Iowan bands, such as Leslie & the Lys, an iconoclastic dance group with Iowa roots.

Ford, whose band Christopher The Conquered has played at previous 80/35 festivals, has served in an administrative role with the festival since July of 2012. Ford said that he hopes that attendees will appreciate the Iowan music scene.

Among the festival's attributes is its volunteer-based staff. Enthusiasts from around the state help in the  festival, making 80/35 one of the largest volunteer-based festivals in the nation, according to Ford.

"80/35 is not just about entertaining," said Ford. "It's really special for hundreds of people. And," he added, "it's right here every summer."

Information regarding tickets, volunteering opportunities and event schedules for the 80/35 Festival can be found at

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