Welcome everyone to my favorite week of the year. 80/35 is upon us, once again, and not a moment too soon. I personally need the distraction and the enjoyment that 80/35 brings. I just feel in my element at shows like this, like I’m bulletproof or something. I’m not sure why, but there is something about the festival atmosphere that just feels like “home” to me, and that somehow brings out my best. Or maybe my worst, I dunno, I ain’t no psychologist.
I have a lot planned for this week up to and including posting every single day in order to help maybe convince you that this is what you need to be doing this weekend, just in case you thought otherwise. While, the lineup itself is, in my opinion, the best since year one (which I think is near legendary status and may never be topped) there are more important reasons to attend other than just it is awesome.
Getting a band like Death Cab For Cutie or The Avett Brothers is a big deal for a city such as ours. For years we have had bands bypass our city in favor of nearby metropolises such as Kansas City, Minneapolis, and even Omaha. The managers for bands that would play a larger audience always site things like population and reputation as reasons to bypass us, even if we have some wonderful venues and tons of dedicated fans and artists.
What 80/35 does, in a sense, is remind the booking agents, record label execs and band managers of the world that Des Moines is a viable stop on their band’s tour, and other bands they may represent. It is such an easy thing to say, but a simple Google search tells me that the people who represent Death Cab For Cutie also represent a whole slew of talented and gifted artists. Same goes for Avett Brothers, Atmosphere, Leftover Salmon and Fucked Up. This isn’t just about proving to those artists that we can bring a crowd, it is about proving to the people who represent them, who maybe aren’t live and in person, that Des Moines is worth a stop for maybe another band they represent.
So what I guess I’m saying is even if you aren’t down with this year’s lineup, attendance is hardly optional. Show up, even if it means just free-loading, and be counted. Show the people at William Morris and Billions and High Road Touring, et al that Des Moines won’t be ignored. Show them that our citizens are just as capable of supporting a scene as any others.
So, what I need from each of you is to go to the event. Hell, a lot of it is free (and for real, look at what is free on Saturday. That is just something else), so there is very little excuse. Show up. Be counted. Continue making Des Moines the incredible city that we all know and contribute to letting the world know. Maybe this year ain’t your cup of tea, but maybe next year will be. Showing the agents of the world that we exist means they bring their bands here. Further, it will be that much more important if you know you contributed to something, and all you have to do is show up and maybe be surprised by an act you didn’t expect to like.
Don’t just want to go to the free stages? Head here for ticket info. Purchase your tickets through Midwestix and you get access to the exclusive MidwesTix VIP Lounge at Proof Restaurant (13th and Locust) within the 80/35 grounds. An easy way to get yourself some shade and A/C for what may prove to be a hot weekend.
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