The Ames underground is still alive in the summer months

Borrowed from The Ames Progressive

Nate Logsdon and the Ames Progressive continue to be active during the summer months, even when many other venues slow down or even fall off the map.  Logsdon continues to book shows and recruit local musicians throughout the summer and doesn’t let the opportunity to see live music die out.

“Ames is doing great, there are tons of great bands and artists and they really embrace it… from my perspective, Ames has an amazing music scene.” said Logsdon.

The Ames Progressive is a non-profit organization whose purpose to help to provide resources for local artists and musicians and to help stimulate the local cultural economy. It’s a hidden gem tucked away behind the Subway in Campustown but is strikingly active in the art and music realm of the Ames underground.

“It’s definitely to stimulate culture in Ames and provide resources for local artists.” says Logsdon, “There are resources for people in Ames who are looking to perform or publish, or are looking for an outlet for their creativity.”

The venue is an extremely active stage and hosts bands 3 or 4 times a week. Although they most often stage local bands, the Ames Progressive is proud to have showcased bands from all over the United States and the world including touring groups from New Zealand, Australia, England, and Canada.

Fortunately for local bands, Logsdon actively seeks out local talent and tries to recruit them for his stage, “If you’re in a band and you want to play a show, we’ll host you at the Ames progressive.” says Logsdon.

Although it is best known for its music, it also hosts art shows, workspace classes, and even rents rehearsal space to bands. The Ames Progressive also publishes a magazine that prints every month while school is in session and once during the summer.

The magazine itself contains articles about Ames culture, music, art, and political commentary along with poetry and short stories. It also features interviews on occasion, with notable guests like Ralph Nader and Bill Ayers.

Logsdon built the Ames Progressive from the ground up.  It all started in January 2008 with just a few of his friends donating their time and money to help boost the Ames music scene. It began to grow, and eventually picked up to the point that it could be its own self-sustaining organization through sponsorship and ticket sales.

Logsdon spends most of is time performing and promoting local bands and strongly disagrees with the common perception that Ames has no good live music.

“I feel that Ames as a music scene has progressed in the past few years and I feel that there have been a lot of good vibes and good music and I feel very proud to be from Ames.”

The Ames Progressive employs a rotating cast of about 12 to 15 volunteers and continues to grow and has even hosted major underground musicians like Ancient Ribbons, Paeleo, and Dr. Manhattan.

Logsdon encourages anyone interested in booking this intimate venue to contact him via

When: Almost every night of the week

Where: The Ames Progressive:

How Much: $5 for most shows, some are free


Rain or Shine, it’s 80/35

By Kaleb Warnock

Despite the ominous threat of torrential rain, The Workshy branded their 80/35 performance as a success and left with optimism and experience they hoped would help them break into opportunities in the future.

“I felt really great after the set. Everything went really well and we pulled it off without a hitch.” says said guitarist Danny Kratzer, junior in communication studies.

The band was happy with their performance and couldn’t complain of any major technical difficulties.  The guys were surprised at how comfortable they felt onstage and how easy it was to adjust to the new venue.  Of course, they were playing on the biggest stage at the festival and had never been on anything like that in their lives.

They said that for the most part, they had a good time and learned a lot from the experience. Many members of their fans followed them to the festival and it also gave them the opportunity to reach out to a broader, more diverse fan base.

“We learned a little bit about how much production goes because it was the first time we had to deal with stagehands. We’d dealt with sound guys and stuff, but we’d never really been a part of something like that before.” said bassist Jiho Han, senior in liberal arts and sciences.

Overall, 80/35 offered many smaller bands the opportunity to participate in a major venue and get the exposure they work hard for.  Other featured local bands with Ames roots were Omega Dog and Christopher the Conquered.

Music went on practically nonstop during the festival. At least one of the three stages was in performance the entire weekend, even if the other stages were in-between sets.  The Mediacom and Kum and Go stages were accessible to the general public and were included in the free area of the festival. The price of the ticked covered admission into the Wellmark stage, where the headlining bands were to perform.

Within the gates of the Wellmark stage, among the littered blankets across the broad green space, there were many more food vendors, a lengthy fountain canal to dip one’s feet, and an electronic billboard that would display text messages that had been sent to a designated number. (assuming they had been deemed appropriate)

The Des Moines Music Coalition put fourth effort to be green this summer. There were free 80/35 branded water bottles and refill stations that provided free, reusable hydration for attendees and even also provided a complimentary bike valet service.

Among the other attractions were a few nonprofit organizations like Avoid the Stork (who made an appearance on the main stage), local churches, and of course, merch stands.  Many of the other jewels of downtown Des Moines were available if one was in need of a break; the even was in the newly developed west side of downtown near the Des Moines Public Library, some coffee shops, and just a block away from the sculpture garden.

08/35 also offered other experiences for attendees that ranged from a plethora of foods, DIY crafts, and other booths that included lots of giveaways and even a Japanese Acupressure specialist.  Aside from the food, there was also a “do it yourself” alley that featured local artists and their handicrafts.

A downpour of rain graced the festival on Sunday afternoon and although it may have but a damper on attendance, it provided an experience unique to this festival.  Just as the forecast had promised Sunday concertgoers were greeted with a slight drizzle that began in the early afternoon and culminated during the performance by the Walkmen. Despite the weather, many people refused to be deterred by the rain, and instead braved the adverse weather conditions by unitizing everything from ponchos and garbage bags or even just plain standing out in the rain.

Sunday night closed after a soft and somber monologue of rolling thunder preceded the headlining performance by Modest Mouse.  As the intermittent rain sliced through the colored spotlights, the crammed bodies of the pit pushed closer and closer as the show charged through the night.  Almost everyone in the crowd was standing. It might have been a result of the waterlogged lawn, or maybe even because of ubiquitous sentiment that resulted from experiences shared by those at the festival.

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