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Hinterland Sells Out First-Round Festival Passes In 10 Minutes

Madeleine King
IPR File
Hinterland 2021 is scheduled for August 6-8 in St. Charles. Due to COVID-19, the festival is offering fewer tickets to the event this year, in addition to a digital streaming ticket option.

Hinterland organizers wrote in an email Friday that they hope to put more tickets on sale pending COVID-19 infection levels and vaccination rates.

In years past, our biggest concerns about summer festival lineups have centered around the question, "who is playing?" This year, it seems like that is secondary to questions like "what are the COVID-19 safety protocols?" and on a more basic level "are the festivals even happening?"

Sam Summers, who produces the Hinterland music festival, understands that fully.

"When you got some good news, it was like something would gobble it up, and you'd get three times as much bad news," he says about the last year.

"It was right around this time last year that everything started to take a turn. Thinking about my experience with Wooly's, we were under the assumption that we’d be back in a month or so. Obviously it turned into a much bigger thing, and what an incredibly challenging year it’s been for everyone.”

After having to postpone last year's sixth annual festival, Summers says announcing this year's lineup feels somewhat triumphant. After lots of ups and downs, it shows momentum returning to the live music industry both locally and nationally.

"What we have learned is that you can’t really predict where you’re going to be at in two months or three months, and so what we’re doing is rolling out our procedures around what we know today," he says of Hinterland 2021. "What I want people to know is that if you do buy a ticket to this festival, it’s going to happen this year."

2021 Lineup

The festival will feature a full day of music on Friday this year with The Avett Brothers replacing Of Monsters and Men. Caamp, an Americana folk band from Ohio, has also been added on Friday.

New additions on Saturday include Black Pumas, who were nominated for both record of the year and best American roots performance at the 2021 Grammy Awards, and the Marcus King Band. On Sunday, Elle King will make a return to Iowa after headlining the 2019 80/35 mainstage.

"Given the additions to this lineup," says IPR Studio One Tracks Host Tony Dehner, "it feels more rootsy than it was billed in 2020. KALEO and Of Monsters and Men are no longer scheduled to perform. Hex Girls are also the only Iowa band on this lineup. They're an indie-rock band from Cedar Falls. In years past, we’ve seen more than one Iowa act during the weekend.”

Black Pumas - Colors - GRAMMYs Performance

Summers said that while he wanted Of Monsters And Men to play Friday, they are based in Iceland, and with all the questions around international travel, they had to drop off.

It’s a reminder that while the lineup announcement feels like a grand return, and even though we are all craving the experiences we've had at events like Hinterland in the past, what we’re going to get is a modified experience with COVID-19 safety protocols in place.

Fewer tickets for sale; masks required

“Hinterland 2021 is only possible with all attendees committing to safety," festival organizers wrote in a media release announcing this year’s event. "Additional staff will be on hand to help enforce guidelines. Please be prepared to be mindful and respectful of those around you.”

Unlike in year’s past, ticket holders will be able to pick up wristbands in advance of the event to decrease lines, and the festival may require attendees to have their temperature taken before being admitted onto the festival grounds. To decrease crowds, there will also be more entrances, exits, hand-washing stations and bathrooms.

“In addition to the fans being comfortable, your artists have to feel comfortable too,” Summers said. “We have announced this festival with safety measures that would make us feel comfortable hosting it tomorrow.”

He says he and the Hinterland team have been closely watching other events across the country and are modeling their procedures after other industry leaders.

More three-day festival passes to come?

In-person tickets went on sale Friday, March 19 at 10 a.m. Three-day festival passes sold out in 10 minutes according a media release from the Hinterland team.

"We’ve gotten an overwhelming amount of support today from fans eager for the return of live music. We greatly appreciate everyone’s support as we look to execute a safe, responsible festival experience this year," festival organizers wrote.

"Depending upon guidance from health officials, infection levels and vaccination rates, we do hope to open up additional General Admission festival passes in the future. For those interested in that option, you can join the waitlist at If/when we open more tickets, people on the waitlist will be fulfilled first."

Hinterland will also be offering streaming tickets to people who want to experience the event but don't feel comfortable attending in-person. Those are set to go on-sale later this spring.

Read more about the festival’s full approach to COVID-19 precautions on their website here.

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer