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WATCH: Maximum Ames Hosts Festival Livestream This Weekend

Maximum Ames Music Festival is hosting a 10-hour livestream special on Saturday, Oct. 10 featuring 20 Iowa artists. Music starts at noon.

The Maximum Ames Music Festival is hosting a 10-hour livestream on Saturday, Oct. 10 starting at noon featuring Iowa artists.

This year should have marked the tenth anniversary of the Maximum Ames Music Festival, and my friends and I were pumped.

On a blustery day in late January, I stepped off a frigid sidewalk on Main Street in Ames and into the Angry Irishmen, an iconic dive that’s hosted many of the Maximum Ames Music Festival’s wildest shows. I shook off the cold and piled into a booth with a half dozen of my fellow volunteers who have organized the music festival in recent years. We opened up blank pages in our notebooks and laptops and set about planning the 2020 music festival. We circled the last weekend of August as our prime target date.

We started brainstorming creative ways to celebrate a decade of Maximum Ames. We discussed new ways to raise funds and creative approaches to promotion and social media. We felt the awesome responsibility of living up to the tenth anniversary milestone, but we were confident it was going to be one righteous party.

Then the pandemic struck.

Live music, along with all other events that draw crowds of people into confined spaces, came to a screeching halt. All the decisions we made sitting in that booth at the Angry Irishmen fell by the wayside, and we made the painful decision to cancel the live festival.

We weren’t sure how to proceed for several weeks, and, with so much upheaval across so many sectors of society, doing nothing at all seemed like an attractive choice. But doing nothing has never been Maximum Ames’s style. Maximum Ames has always embraced a scrappy, do-it-yourself approach that celebrates innovation and creative thinking. So we decided to team up with Ames Pride to coproduce a one-day, virtual event to be streamed on the Maximum Ames Music Festival YouTube channel. Thus was born the Maximum Ames Music Festival Livestream Special, which starts Saturday at noon.

A scaled-back livestream event isn’t what we had in mind when we met at the Angry Irishmen back in January, but virtual events come with some inherent advantages that live events don’t. For instance, you can access all of the Livestream Special content for free, from anywhere. No lines for the bathrooms, and no racing across downtown Ames to get from one venue to another.

Iowa music fans will find a lot to like among the 20+ artists featured during the special. Christopher the Conquered and Gloom Balloon will both appear, and both are riding high after releasing killer albums in recent weeks. Andy Fleming, the lead singer and principal songwriter of Brother Trucker, will appear as well. Miss Christine, who released the excellent album Conversion last year, will kick the entire thing off at noon on Saturday. Local Ames heroes V Ellsbury, Elizabeth Zimmerman and Bleujack also will appear throughout the day, among plenty of others. The special will feature poetry and a few other surprises as well.

100720-Maximum Ames Lineup

The pandemic prevented us from celebrating the tenth anniversary of the Maximum Ames Music Festival the way it deserves, but that’ll come later, when it’s safe to get back together, cram into a booth at the Angry Irishmen with a bunch of friends and experience live music as it ought to be.

In the meantime, I hope you’ll enjoy the Maximum Ames Music Festival Livestream Special and all the convenience of a virtual event brought to you by the year 2020.