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What to expect when you're expecting to buy tickets to Hinterland 2023

A sign welcomes festival-goers to Hinterland.
Madeleine King
IPR File
A sign welcomes festival-goers to Hinterland.

Hinterland announced its 2023 lineup months earlier than usual. Sam Summers, owner of Hinterland's operator First Fleet Concerts, chatted with IPR Music host Mark Simmet about what to expect at this year's three-day music festival.

The scorching hot four-day Hinterland music festival of last year will return to a three-day fest in 2023, from Aug. 4 to Aug. 6.

The lineup includes headliners Bon Iver on Friday, Zach Bryan on Saturday and Maggie Rogers on Sunday, with plenty of new and returning artists spread out over the weekend.

Grammy award-winning indie folk band Bon Iver had a smash hit with their 2007 debut album, For Emma, Forever Ago. Since then, the band has expanded their sound to include more experimental, electronic sounds alongside their folksy roots, both of which are bound to make for a great closer on Friday.

Zach Bryan's viral song "Something In The Orange" reached #1 on the Billboard US Country chart last year. It will be interesting to see if he plays his latest track, "All My Homies Hate Ticketmaster," on the Hinterland stage this summer.

Sam Summers, owner of Hinterland's operator, First Fleet Concerts, says there's potential for the festival to return to four days in the future, depending on artist schedules, but this year just didn't work out that way.

“Last year presented a unique opportunity to go for four," he said. "Billy Strings — I had to find a way to get him on the festival, and we'd already had our three headliners locked in. We added that Thursday. It went well for us; it was great. It was probably the lowest attended out of the four days, but it allowed us to get things going coming out of the year prior."

New act announced in January: lo-fi pop producer Alex G

Hinterland's lineup was announced early this year than in years past, beating other Iowa music festivals to the punch, save one act, Alex G, who was announced in January as the final addition. Alex G has acted as producer for acts like Frank Ocean, Porches and Japanese Breakfast, but is best known for his lo-fi indie rock solo career, including last year's God Save The Animals record.

Summers says he's excited for this year's festival to feature returners Maggie Rogers and Orville Peck.

Maggie Rogers, who first graced the Avenue of the Saints Ampitheater back in 2019, is fresh off the success of her 2022 record, Surrender. She is set to perform her more recent, pop-influenced songs like "Want Want" alongside hit tracks like "Alaska" from her 2019 debut, Heard It In A Past Life.

We may never see Orville Peck's face behind his fringed mask, but the South African country musician is back after his last Hinterland appearance in 2021. Last year's Bronco record was released on both Columbia and Sub Pop record labels to critical acclaim.

Also returning to the Saint Charles festival — all the parking and transportation improvements from 2022.

“Last year we made a lot of improvements, added some additional parking lots, brought the shuttles back... and then encouraging people to get checked in early helped," Summers said. "We’re doing that all again this year. We’ll have the shuttles and we’ll have all that additional parking.”

The festival is paying special attention to Hinterkids this year, a tent with crafts, coloring stations and family-friendly events.

“We wanted to make this a family event. I would say there’s been good modeling in our community by other festivals to include kids," Summers said. “Last year the Meet the Musician opportunity that happened was kind of a last minute thing, and it went really well.”

Summers' most anticipated act: Bon Iver

Summers says he's most excited for Bon Iver to make his Hinterland debut after working to book the artist for some time.

"I admire the festival that he used to put on in Wisconsin, how he curated it. It started the same year as Hinterland," he said. "To have him want to play the festival, one: feels great personally, but also it’s such a big name in our genre.”

Passes for Hinterland are on sale now.

Josie Fischels is a Digital News producer at Iowa Public Radio. She is a 2022 graduate of the University of Iowa’s school of journalism where she also majored in theater arts (and, arguably, minored in the student newspaper, The Daily Iowan). Previously, she interned with the Denver Post in Denver, Colorado, and NPR in Washington, D.C.
Mark Simmet is a Senior Producer and Studio One Host
Cece Mitchell is a Music Producer for IPR