80/35 Music Festival Paid Attendance Dips Slightly

Jul 8, 2013

Wu Tang Clan played on Saturday Night at the 80/35 Music Festival in downtown Des Moines
Credit Phil Thomson

Over the weekend, at least 30,000 people were estimated to be at the sixth annual 80/35 music festival in downtown Des Moines. That’s according to festival organizers. 

The sixth annual 80/35 music festival has three stages. Two are free and one stage, festival-goers have to pay to get in. Paid attendance this year was down by about 1,200 people. But it’s not all bad news, Saturday night’s paid stage broke a record with nearly 9,500 people to see rock band Deerhunter and influential hip-hop group Wu Tang Clan.

“Even though it might be slightly smaller numbers, it still feels like growth," said Amedeo Rossi, is the festival’s project manager.

“We have all this talk about numbers, so number of people, gross revenue," Rossi said. "This is music. Music is about emotion. A show is about vibe. So I think those are the indicators we should really be measuring.”

Rossi said the free stages provide exposure to local talent and lesser-known national touring bands. He says this helps the Des Moines music scene develop. Festivalgoer Matthew Mckissick hasn’t missed a year since it began in 2008. He’s been to a lot of music festivals in the country. 

“This compares, as far as Iowa goes. We’re doing really well," McKissick said.

More than 40 bands performed at this year’s 80/35.