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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