Mapping Hinterland: Sam Summers on Des Moines Newest Music Festival

There’s a new music festival coming to Des Moines this summer.

Organizer Sam Summers, the man behind Nitefall on the River and co-owner of Wooly’s in Des Moines, says he thinks a new festival can bring something different to Des Moines.

“What Hinterland captures to me is this rural type of vibe. Over the past years, I’ve seen a support for this type of festival in the market, and these are bands I love myself.”

The inaugural line-up is a mix of indie and Americana bands, and the goal was to book bands that are really good live. Summers says he’s especially excited for St. Paul in the Broken Bones.

“To me, they stole the show. When you go to a show and you are expecting a headliner, but there’s this band that blows you away, that’s St. Paul and the Broken Bones.”

Hinterland will take place at Water Works Park in Des Moines July 31-August 1. Tickets go on sale February 20. Summers talked with host Ben Kieffer on Iowa Public Radio’s River to River; hear the show weekdays at noon.

Thinking you might attend? Find out more about Hinterland's line-up. Iowa Public Radio Studio One hosts Tony Dehner, Mark Simmet and Tressa Glass put together this guide.

Future Islands   

In the great tradition of art school bands (mainly in England, but Talking Heads also come to mind), the members of Future islands started playing music together while they were art students at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, approximately a decade ago.  There have been personnel changes along the way, and a move to Baltimore.  Then came the release of the first Future Islands full-length album in 2008, establishing the New Wave-inspired synthpop sound they have been refining ever since.  Their latest record, Singles, is their most successful to date.

TV On The Radio

Seeds is the fifth full-length album from TV On The Radio.  The band formed in Brooklyn, NY in 2001 and have retained the same line-up for most of their career.  Their new record is the first since the death (from cancer) of bassist Gerard Smith in 2011.  According to lead singer Tunde Adebimpe, “We’ve been through a lot of stuff in the past few years that could have stopped a band cold, but I’m glad we got it together and took stock of the unique connection we have between each other because the record is, 1000 percent, without a doubt, the best thing we’ve ever done.”


Wildewoman is the very well-crafted and impressive debut album from the Brooklyn band Lucius.  Co-writers and vocalists Jess Wolfe and Holly Laessig met while attending the famed Berklee School of Music in Boston.  They learned their lessons well.  Lucius is a young band that features classic pop songwriting and wonderful harmony vocals.

Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros

The members of the indie folk band from Los Angeles have been together since 2007 and are best known for their popular single “Home” off their album “Up From Below”. The keyboard and accordion player for Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Nora Kirkpatrick, was born in Des Moines. When she was in high school her family moved to California, where she met Magnetic Zeros front man Alex Ebert. The group has released three albums and are especially recognized for their stirring live performances. Ebert says the band’s purpose is, “to write music especially designed to perform live, and to become the very best band we can possibly be.”

Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile is an alternative country and folk rock musician from the Seattle area. She has released several albums and is perhaps best known for her song “The Story” off her critically acclaimed album “Brandi Carlile”. Carlile released a live album with the Seattle Symphony and has performed with Iowa’s own Waterloo-Cedar Falls Symphony. She has a new album coming out in March of 2015.

Yonder Mountain String Band

Yonder Mountain String Band is a progressive bluegrass group from Colorado. The band’s unique sound comes from influences like the bluegrass sound of the Osborne Brothers, the punk rock of Bad Religion, and alternative rock bands like Postal Service.

Joe Pug

Joe Pug is a 30-year-old singer-songwriter from Austin, Texas who counts authors John Steinbeck, Walt Whitman and Raymond Carver as being among his influences. He has released five albums & EPs since 2009, with a new one coming in March. All of his music is available for streaming on his website, and several songs are available as free downloads.

Old Crow Medicine Show

One of the leaders of the banjo-picking string band movement in today’s Americana music, Old Crow Medicine Show became famous in 2004 for the platinum-selling single “Wagon Wheel”, based on a song sketch by Bob Dylan. Since then, the band has released four more albums, been inducted into the Grand Ole Opry, and made several appearances on A Prairie Home Companion.

St. Paul and The Broken Bones

It’s hard to believe St. Paul and the Broken Bones have only been together for two years, especially after hearing their full-length debut (produced by Ben Tanner of Alabama Shakes). The band was founded in Birmingham, Alabama by vocalist Paul Janeway and bassist Jesse Phillips in 2012, and began touring in 2013 after their horn players had graduated from college. Inspired by soul legends like Wilson Pickett and Otis Redding, Janeway also draws upon his experience in a Pentecostal church choir for the band’s energetic style.