There has been somewhat of an ongoing discussion between those of us here at DSM Shows as to what roles surrounding cities play in your own music scene. Does a well-curated music festival a couple of hours away play a part in the quality of surrounding cities’ music culture? Or is the condition of a city’s music culture defined only by that which occurs inside the city lines?
I think it depends on the city. Des Moines is in a unique position due do its central location between a number of (once?) thriving metropolises. Growing up in central Iowa, driving to see live music was expected. In my teenage years, I probably saw as many shows at Gabe’s Oasis in Iowa City and the Sokol Underground in Omaha as I did at the Vaudeville Mews and The House of Bricks.
That’s not to mention the fact that Des Moines band’s are frequently invited to play shows in surrounding cities. Many locals played the Mission Creek Music Festival this year and numerous shows in places like Minneapolis, Omaha, and Chicago this year alone have featured some of our very own musicians in their lineups.
Perhaps it’s all a discussion of semantics. Local vs. regional. Either way, until Des Moines becomes a must-tour destination for artists, I’ll continue driving a couple of hours to see incredible, contemporary musicians with no complaints.
Omaha’s Maha Music Festival has been bringing great music to the Midwest since its start in 2008. It’s one-day, outdoor festival setup in Omaha’s Aksarben Village is a welcome balance to Mission Creek’s exhausting week of insane talent booked all around Iowa City. Last year’s Maha Music Festival saw nearly 8000 people attend for performances by the likes of Modest Mouse, Atmosphere, Purity Ring, and The Good Life. This year, the festival has expanded to accommodate an even larger audience for its big four headliners: Passion Pit, Grimes, Vince Staples, and The Joy Formidable.
If you’ve ever been to the likes of Lollapalooza, Coachella, or even Pitchfork which jams over 50,000 people into Chicago’s Union Park, then you know how intimate a crowd of less than 10,000 people can feel.
Let not our musical taste be dictated only by the tastemakers of our own cities’ venues and festivals! May we reach our hands beyond borders toward inspiration, innovation, and experience! dsm
Maha Music Festival
Car Seat Headrest
See Through Dresses
Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal
More information available from the Maha Music Festival website.