EXPLORE: Music festivals

By Sofia Legaspi Dickens

Speaking of camping, you can do that at a musical festival for a very different experience. Whether you like country, EDM or indie — central Iowa has a music festival for you.

June 3-4
4051 Dean Ave., Des Moines
This popular bass music festival takes place at Sleepy Hollow Renaissance Park and will feature performances from Clozee, G Jones, Of the Trees and others. Pre-party on June 2.

July 8-9
Downtown Des Moines
The Greater Des Moines Music Coalition presents this non-profit festival with one paid main stage area and four free stages. Featuring indie and jam artists like Charli XCX, Future Islands, Father John Misty and more.

July 28-30
408 W. State St., Guthrie Center
This country music festival returns for its 14th year. The Guthrie County Fairgrounds will welcome headliners Clay Walker and Sawyer Brown, plus supporting artists that include Sara Evans, Blackhawk and The Cadillac Three, among others.

Aug. 4-7
3357 St. Charles Road, St. Charles
The largest music festival in Iowa takes place at the Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater. Headliners are Billy Strings, Glass Animals, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats and Phoebe Bridges joined by more than 20 additional artists from across the nation.

Dates TBA
2201 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines
Details were still to be announced at press time. In the past, the 515 Alive Music Festival has featured dozens of EDM and hip hop artists at Des Moines Water Works Park. Keep an eye on their website or Facebook page (facebook.com/515alive) for 2022 updates.


This intimate venue nestled in the forest in Madison County will host three music festivals this summer. Gates open at 6 p.m. on Friday, and primitive camping is included with general admission.

2103 Warren Ave., Bevington; briarpatchamphitheater.com
  • June 24-25: Bevington Bluegrass Festival
  • July 22-23: Briar Patch Reggae Festival
  • Aug. 12-13: Jerry Daze


While not technically a music festival, the Iowa State Fair offers countless live music events — it is the single largest event in Iowa, after all. With more than 3,000 campsites available, you could still set up your tent for that music festival experience. From grandstand headliners to intimate acoustic concerts, the Fair is a music-junkie’s dream.

Aug. 11-21, 3000 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, iowastatefair.org