Good Times and Good Tunes: A Recap of the First Day of 80/35

By: Ellery Lawry

80/35 started off yesterday afternoon with an evening full of fun and music.

St. Lucia at 80/35 2015

St. Lucia opened the festival on the Hy-Vee Stage. Led by singer Jean-Philip Grobler, the band greeted Des Moines and kicked off an exciting set. The group grinned and danced their way through the performance, encouraging a willing crowd to do the same.

The was an extra-special show because it’s the first time St. Lucia had played in Des Moines, the hometown of bassist Ross Clark. Grobler cited the special occasion and mentioned that while it’s the band’s first time to Des Moines, it was the first place in the U.S. he visited.

After St. Lucia left the stage, downtime between headliners could be spent seeing an act on the Kum & Go Stage or the Nationwide Stage. Both stages are outside the main venue and are free to view.

The Kum & Go stage saw Des Moines natives Field Division, followed by Fly Golden Eagle, a rock band out of Nashville. On the Nationwide Stage, two Des Moines natives played back to back. Karen Meat & the Computer opened up with an indie rock set. Mighty Shady followed them with a self described “indie/groove/rock/jam” set. The crowd jammed with Mighty Shady; many were dancing and grooving along with the animated band.

Mighty Shady at 80/35 2015

Jenny Lewis was the next act to grace the main stage. Lewis had a whimsical air about her, wearing a pastel detailed white suit with rainbows and unicorns behind her on her set. The crowd enjoyed the singer, jumping along with her performance and singing with Lewis. Whimsy continued when many large, pastel colored balloons were dropped on the crowd. They bounced around above the crowd during a fun and fitting end to the set while Lewis performed the title track from her album Acid Tongue.

After Lewis’ set, festival goers could find hometown hip-hop artist Asphate on the Nationwide Stage. He expressed love for Des Moines between his songs, telling the crowd that he “never wants to hear anyone complain about how there’s nothing to do in this city.” Asphate was followed by singer-songwriter Damon Dotson of Waukee.

Jenny Lewis at 80/35 2015

On the Kum & Go stage, the San Francisco based bluegrass band Hot Buttered Rum drew a sizeable crowd. Attendees greeted the band with a loud chorus of cheers and applause. Talib Kweli, a hip-hop artist from Brooklyn, drew an equally impressive crowd. Kweli’s DJ pumped up the crowd with samples of famous hip-hop artists prior to Kweli coming on stage. When Kweli arrived, he continued to play samples around performing his own works.

The evening was rounded out with headliners Wilco on the Hy-Vee Stage. The esteemed alt-country group did not disappoint. The band had an impressive light show going behind them on stage. The band themselves delighted with facial expressions, signature moves, and impromptu solos. Frontman Jeff Tweedy also bantered with the crowd and mentioned some previous performances.

“We were in Arizona last week, Phoenix,” Tweedy told the crowd. “Arizona in July. It’s much better here; you guys are nicer than Phoenix.” When met with an excited cheer, Tweedy laughed and informed the crowd that that wasn’t much of a compliment.

Wilco played a set that thoroughly satisfied the massive crowd in attendance. Onlookers covered the entire main stage area, with more standing outside the main venue listening to the performance.

The party didn’t end with Wilco, as Rome Fortune on the Nationwide Stage and RackCity on the Kum & Go Stage finished off day one of the festival. Both provided energetic sets for those that wanted to dance all night.

Today also packs quite an impressive lineup. With names like Run the Jewels, Cloud Nothings and Canby on the main stage and Weezer as headliner, attendees surely won’t be disappointed. Tickets for today are still available and can be purchased for $50 at the tent in front of the Main Stage main entrance. More information about purchasing tickets for today and the acts performing is available at

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