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Maximum Ames and Ames Pride Aim For New Look, Same Ethos

Maximum Ames and Ames Pride have partnered since 2018 by coordinating the dates of the music festival and Pridefest for the same weekend. This year’s events will look different due to the constraints posed by the ongoing pandemic, but organizers hope they’ll showcase the same support and inclusion that have been hallmarks of the organizations’ longstanding collaboration.

Rather than host a Pridefest street event as in years past, Ames Pride looked for ways to help people make a “show of their pride from the safety of their homes,” said Ames Pride Chair A Norman. One of those new ideas is Pride Around Town, a showcase of queer celebration in which various homes and businesses across Ames set up outdoor displays in a show of support for the LGBTQ community.

In addition to selling yard signs for Pride Around Town, Ames Pride also teamed up with the Ames Public Library to host a virtual event on Wednesday to help people access gender-affirming health care. Ames Pride and Main Street Ames orchestrated a story walk that encourages businesses to display pages from the book “Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag.” The story walk displays will remain in participating storefronts until Sept. 12. Details on the events and a full schedule are available at

Norman said the Ames Pride couple the need for support and community with the staying safe and healthy during a pandemic.

“I hope that everyone can learn more about the people in their lives and more about how to access support in their community,” they said. “And I hope that we can still feel like a community even though we’re separated right now.”

Maximum Ames scales back, encourages vaccinations, masking

The Maximum Ames musical programming features 11 acts, nearly all of which are local to central Iowa. The shows will take place Friday and Saturday evening at three Ames venues: The Angry Irishmen, London Underground, and Alluvial Brewing. All events are free of charge to attend.

Courtesy of Maximum Ames
Maximum Ames shows are happening at three venues in Ames on Friday, Sept. 10 and Sunday, Sept. 11.

Pre-pandemic Maximum Ames festivals ran for four days and included more than 60 acts, but organizers decided to scale back this year in response to pandemic limitations. Organizers encourage all attendees who are able to be get vaccinated and to wear masks in venues when distancing isn’t possible.

The Maximum Ames lineup includes several acts that feature LGBTQ representation. Among them is Christine Moad, an Iowa musician and the driving creative force behind Miss Christine. Moad said their genderqueer identity informs everything about them and their music.

“For me, realizing my queer identity was realizing I’d been fed this lie that everything is this binary or this black-and-white thing,” they said during an interview while returning to Iowa from a two-show swing on the East Coast. “Having queer voices means different ways of viewing the world, and that can open people’s minds. It can make the world a more compassionate place.”

Miss Christine played shows in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania last weekend, their first taste of touring since the start of the pandemic. Moad said their appearance in Ames Saturday evening at The Angry Irishmen will feature songs from their forthcoming album, “Bittersweet,” which should be released by the end of the year.

“My album is a pandemic album,” Moad said. “It was recorded in isolation. Existential themes, love, loss, and a lot of the emotions that we’ve been feeling this past year, I tried to capture them musically.”

Moad said the overwhelmingly positive response to the new material during the East Coast shows reinvigorated them after the pandemic shut down touring for so long. Those good vibes are sure to carry over into Saturday’s Maximum Ames set, they said

Fred Love is a contributing writer covering music for Iowa Public Radio. Love is a father, husband, communications professional and passionate music fan. He lives in Ames where he participates in the local music scene and is a co-producer of the Maximum Ames Music Festival. He blogs at