Monday, May 4, 2015

A guide to summer concerts in Des Moines

One of my favorite things about summer in Des Moines is the live music that seems to be happening around every corner, at every bar, winery and concert hall you can think of, which is why I decided to make a little guide to some of my favorite spots to see live bands in the area this summer.

My favorite place is Simon Estes Amphitheater in downtown Des Moines. In my opinion, it's one of the coolest music venues in the city, and the rates are super affordable. They don't typically have huge-name artists, but Grace Potter, Eric Hutchinson, and The Ting Tings will all be performing this year along with a bunch of others. The photo above is from Fitz and the Tantrums last summer (amazing!). This venue is a great place to check out artists who are on their way to getting huge, and it's all open seating on a grassy area overlooking the river, so it's beautiful (plus you can even sit across the river or on the bridge and listen for free).

For a more relaxed setting, there are several wineries and breweries that have live music events throughout the summer. Some of my best memories from last year were taking a picnic basket and chairs to the wineries and listening to local bands while sipping new wines. It's so relaxing, beautiful and just a lot of fun. My preferred winery is Penoach, which has an amazing variety of wine and offers pizzas and tastings with some of their concerts. Another great one is Jasper Winery. It has different food options in case you forget to pack your own, but the lawn fills up fast so it's best to get there early.

And then there's Wells Fargo Arena. This year we've got Kenny Chesney, Ed Sheeran, Dave Matthews Band, Nickleback, Shania Twain with Gavin DeGraw, and Taylor Swift on this year's lineup. Now those are some big names. Adam and I already have tickets to see Ed Sheeran, and my sister and I surprised my mom with tickets to see Shania Twain. These shows can get a little pricey, but they always seem to be worth the money.

Finally, the amazing Iowa State Fair. Ten days of entertainment, beer tents, livestock and anything you can eat on a stick. It's definitely an experience everyone should have at least once in their lives, although my favorite part has always been the concerts. Year after year the fair manages to bring in some amazing headliners, and this year is no different. Casting Crowns, Justin Moore, Def Leppard, Reba (as in McEntire), Carrie Underwood, Alabama, The Fray with Andy Grammer, and Meghan Trainor are all on the 2015 schedule. I've already got tickets to see The Fray and Andy Grammer, and I am SO excited.

It's going to be a beautiful, musical summer here in Des Moines :) Where are your favorite concert venues? Will you be getting tickets to any of these shows? Let me know in the comments!


  1. Jessica (Rohrig) KieslingMay 5, 2015 at 6:15 PM

    I love Eric Hutchinson. He played the M-Shop a couple of times while I was in Ames, and I also saw him in Boston. You should definitely go see him!

  2. I definitely want to! I only know a few of his songs, but I love every one of them! I also definitely want to see Grace Potter because I saw her there a few years ago and she was amazing!


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