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Artist applications for 80/35 and Gross Domestic Product are open until Nov. 4 at midnight

Mickey Davis speaks on the mainstage at 80/35 to open the festival.
Alyssa Leicht
Mickey Davis, the executive director of the Des Moines Music Coalition, spoke with IPR's Tony Dehner about the band application process for 80/35 and GDP.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and 80/35, the two music festivals hosted and produced by the Des Moines Music Coalition, are now accepting applications for bands to play the 2023 festivals. If you’re a musician who's interested in playing, we also want you to know that GDP is getting a new home – Hoyt Sherman Place in Des Moines.

Why have bands apply?

“In the past both with 80/35 and other DMMC events, there wasn’t a whole lot of transparency and explanation about how bands can submit themselves for consideration for those events,” said DMMC Executive Director Mickey Davis. “Starting for the 2022 festival and now continuing into 2023, we’ve put together a simple application form, so that if Iowa bands want to perform at those fests, they can submit with the kind of information we’d want to see from a booking perspective.”

It’s a unique way to book a festival, perhaps something DMMC can do because they book nonprofit festivals. It's also a great way for bands to directly express their interest in playing a fest to the organizer. After the applications come in, the DMMC puts together an independent review panel to help select bands from the applications based on a variety of factors, including how active a band has been in the last year, the quality of their recordings and the quality of their live performances.

“In the past, 80/35 had kind of fallen victim to what a lot of events end up doing. You end up booking who you know,” Davis said. “We know that there are bands in the state of Iowa that we haven’t met yet. We think this is the most transparent way. [...] Everyone is operating from a level playing field, so that you’re not seeing the same bands popping up on all the lineups in central Iowa that we produce.”

GDP gets a new home

In addition to using this booking method for 80/35, the DMMC is also using it to book and curate their springtime event Gross Domestic Product. Last year, the fest returned as a one day event at venues around Western Gateway Park in Des Moines. This year, the DMMC is going bigger.

“We’re excited this year to have this opportunity to elevate our local music community to perform on that stage. It’s focused on elevating Iowa artists and getting a crowd out to see these Iowa acts,” Davis said. “We want to use GDP as a vehicle for musical discovery and giving a slice of what the Iowa music scene is all about.”

Find more information about the DMMC and the artist application here. Stay tuned for an 80/35 lineup announcement for 2023 — coming in January.

Tony Dehner is a Studio One Host
Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer