What you need to know about Des Moines’ Riverview Music Festival

This weekend marks the debut of the Riverview Music Festival, a one-day event at Des Moines’ new Riverview Park on Saturday. 

The event is organized by the Des Moines Music Collation, a nonprofit organization that also created 80/35, one of the city’s premiere music festivals. 

We’re bringing you everything you need to know about the new event: 

What is the Riverview Music Festival?

The Riverview Music Festival was born as an idea when organizers cancelled 80/35 again this year because of COVID-19 concerns.

But festival organizers don’t imagine Riverview as a replacement for 80/35. 

“The way we’ve thought about the festival in relation to 80/35 is they’re distinct enough that they can survive independently from each other,” said Kuuku Saah, president of DMMC. “If we needed to have both festivals we could … but it will depend on what the reception is. So if there’s a strong enough community reception for (Riverview), we’ll be in a position to bring it back.”

The idea for the festival came in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by a white Minneapolis police officer. It was a time many local and national programmers reflected on their typical events. 

The Tony Bohnenkamp Band perform at the Riverview Park Grand Opening celebration on June 4, 2021, at 710 Corning Ave in Des Moines. The event features opening ceremonies, a free concert with the Tony Bohnenkamp Band on the Prairie Meadows Riviera Amphitheater, a giant all-inclusive playground, plus food and beverages.

With underserved communities of Des Moines in mind, the group decided to create the hip-hop- and R&B-focused festival, bringing it to the city’s north side instead of the downtown core, Saah said. 

“As far as the north side is concerned, it contains some of the most diverse neighborhoods in the state,” he said. “So, we’re trying to put more of a spotlight on some of the cultures there.