ST. CHARLES, Iowa - Though Iowa may be a fly-over state, the organizers behind the first annual Hinterland Music Festival say it's not an overlooked destination for live music, and they've got 16,000 attendees from 44 states and five countries to back their argument up.
The two-day event was originally planned to take place at Water Works Park in Des Moines, but due to flooding earlier this week, the venue was suddenly changed to the Avenue of the Saints Ampitheater in St. Charles. About half an hour from the Metro, organizer Sam Summers says the impact the sudden change could potentially have had on the turnout was worrisome.
"It was like taking a year's worth of planning and starting over with about three days to do it," he said.
But the planners behind Hinterland secured a back-up venue in St. Charles quickly, and thanks to nine free shuttles taking festival-goers to and from festival from Des Moines, Summers says the event barely saw a loss.
"We probably refunded about 400 tickets," he said. "We had about 6,900 tickets sell at the door Friday night, and tonight is expected to be even bigger."
With a line-up of folksy, indie bluegrass artists like Old Crow Medicine Show, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, Brandi Carlile, Future Islands and TV on the Radio, Summers says people wanted a festival like this where they could get a lot of music in one place.
"We've played a lot of these artists on a smaller scale in Des Moines at Wooly's and at the Simon Estes Ampitheater along the river," he said. "This was kind of the natural progression for Des Moines."
The live music scene in Des Moines has been growing for several years now; just last month, the annual 80/35 music festival held in downtown Des Moines reported its largest turnout in its history. As people from all over the U.S. and the world come to Hinterland this weekend, Summers says it speaks volumes about Iowa's potential as a musical destination.
"You think of the coasts as where people are going for live music festivals," he said. "But there's a desire for it right here in Iowa, and I think the turnout here shows that."
The final show plays at 9:30 p.m. Saturday evening. Tickets can still be purchased at the door. For more information on parking and tickets, visit the festival website.