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.
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.
“It’s a significant cultural center, but many people that live outside of the north side don’t know that.”
When is the Riverview Music Festival?
The Riverview Music Festival will be held from noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday at Riverview Park, 710 Corning Ave.
Performances will be split between two stages: The Prairie Meadows Riviera Amphitheater, which serves as the main stage at the park and also for the event, and the xBk stage, named for Des Moines venue xBk Live, whose owners helped create Saturday’s line-up. The xBk Stage will be on the west side of the park.
What safety measures will be in place?
To ensure social distancing, DMCC is encouraging attendees to purchase tickets in advance to avoid long lines at the festival grounds. It is also limiting the number of attendees to allow for social distancing.
Masks are “strongly encouraged” for people who are not fully vaccinated, according to a DMCC statement. A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
DMCC is also asking people to consider wearing masks, regardless of vaccination status, when in enclosed areas.
Hand washing and hand sanitizer stations will be available throughout the grounds, and high-contact areas will be cleaned frequently.
Who is playing at the Riverview Music Festival?
On the Riviera Stage —
The Finesse, noon: A group that blends R&B and jazz, The Finesse bills itself as a band that creates “soulful sounds from America’s Heartland.”
DK Imamu Akachi, 1 p.m.: Representing Des Moines on the main stage is hip-hop emcee DK Imamu Akachi. In addition to creating music, like the song “My Freedom,” he’s also working to encourage creativity in local youth with his program Go Beyond Walls.
La Doña, 2 p.m.: After having grown up playing traditional Mexican and Latin American music, La Doña has now made a name for herself mixing Latin rhythms with hip-hop. Her EP “Algo Nuevo” was released last year.
La Doña replaces YEИDRY in this year’s line-up.
Sudan Archives, 3:15 p.m.: After growing up in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sudan Archives began experimenting with a variety of instruments, eventually adopting a violin style derived from Northeast Africa that she blends with R&B and electric music. Her latest album, released in 2019, is titled “Athena.”
Duckwrth, 4:30 p.m.: A south Los Angeles rapper, Duckwrth is notable for releases like “Super Bounce” and “Start a Riot,” the latter of which was included in the 2019 Academy Award winner “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.” He released his album “SuperGood” last year.
Mick Jenkins, 6 p.m.: A Chicago poet-cum-rapper, Mick Jenkins has come to be known for his intricate lyrics. His most recent release is “The Circus,” an EP that includes a song recorded with EarthGang.
VanJess, 7:45 p.m.: A Nigerian-American R&B sister duo, VanJess’ 2018 album “Silk Canvas” scored five singles. The pair’s 2021 “Homegrown” EP has received wide acclaim.
EarthGang, 9:30 p.m.: The Atlanta hip-hop duo is Saturday’s headliner. The group has produced hits such as “Meditate” and “UP.” The group’s most recent album is “Spillington,” which was created alongside fellow hip-hop groups Spillage Village and JID.
On the xBk stage —
Des Moines Music Coalition Summer Camp, 12:30 p.m.: Students attending the annual two-week summer camp in Des Moines create music alongside veteran performers, and in past years have performed during 80/35.
Charlotte Blu, 1:30 p.m.: Charlotte Boyer, aka Blu, 17, of Rock Island, Illinois, is a singer/songwriter who dabbles in a variety of genres. She appeared on the NBC show “The Voice” performing Amy Winehouse’s “Love Is a Losing Game.” Her single, “Warriors,” was released in April.
Spayce, 2:45 p.m.: The stage name for Porche Botts, Spayce has labeled herself a neo-soul artist. Her album “Spayce on Earth” is planned to release early next year.
James Tutson, 4 p.m.: An Iowa City-area guitarist and singer, Tutson is the frontman for James Tutson and the Rollback. Like Blue, he also performed on “The Voice” this year. His album “Still” was released this summer.
Maria Isa, 5:30 p.m.: Raised in the west side barrio of St. Paul, Minnesota, Isa is a songwriter and rapper who was friends with George Floyd, also a rapper, prior to his death last year. Her album “Amor Universal,” released in June of 2020, is composed of AfroLatinx dance music.
FREE PWR!, 7 p.m.: This Des Moines hip-hop fusion band performed at TEDx Des Moines in June and has its debut EP in the works.
Andre Davis, 8:45 p.m.: Hailing from St. Louis, this hip-hop artist may be familiar to Des Moines residents after he performed as part of “Juneteenth: The Movement” this year along with fellow Riverview Festival performers The Finesse. His releases include the experimental “Poetry Jazz Sessions” and the 2019 rap album “When It Rains.”
Can I still get tickets to the Riverview Music Festival?
Tickets are $40 and there are still some available. Visit riverviewmusicfestival.com to make a purchase or read more information about the festival.