Founded in 2005, The Greater Des Moines Music Coalition (DMMC) is a collaborative movement of musicians, promoters, venues, businesses, community leaders and music fans committed to building a stronger and more diverse music economy in Greater Des Moines.

Through our mission to support and cultivate Iowa’s music economy, our vision is to establish and maintain Des Moines as a nationally recognized music city.

To fulfill its mission, the DMMC has developed four primary areas of focus:

  1. Production and promotion of live music events.
  2. Advocacy for musicians and the Central Iowa music industry.
  3. Music education programming.
  4. Collaboration with local music venues and community organizations on music related programming.

Here is a chronological listing of achievements.

  • April 2005 – DMMC authored PUBLIC RADIO RESOLUTION (SR 21) adopted by Iowa Senate.
  • Jul 2005 – DMMC Advocacy leads to formation of the City of Des Moines’ first ever Live Music Commission – one of only a handful in the country.
  • March 2006 – Inaugural Gross Domestic Product festival draws over 1,000 to see only local bands, a record attendance in DSM for an event of its nature.
  • June 2006 – DMMC produces side stage of local music at Citadel Broadcasting’s Big Country Bash
  • August 2006 – DMMC collaborates with City of Des Moines Music Commission to pass busking ordinance, bringing street musicians back to Des Moines.
  • November 2006 – DMMC produces the inaugural Little BIG Fest at Hotel Fort Des Moines. Little BIG Fest features 10 bands of the roots, jam, and alt. country genres. Financial support from the Iowa Arts Council, Soul Flower, promotional support from Capitol 106.3. Over 500 in attendance. Feature coverage in Juice.
  • March 2007 – Gross Domestic Product 2007. Extensive media coverage in Juice, Iowa State Daily, Datebook. Diverse line-up of 15 bands including Down Cast from the “school of rock” at Scavo Campus. Over 500 in attendance.
  • March 2007 – Marketing Committee announces reception of Addy Award for GDP 2006 design work.
  • May 2007 – DMMC begins work on educational series to be launched in fall in partnership with Metro Arts Alliance
  • June 2007 – Des Moines City Council approves negotiations for contract w/ DMMC to advance $50,000 for talent to launch the 80/35 Music Festival
  • June 2007 – DMMC Presents very well attended Musician’s Industry Night at the new People’s Court, connecting Central Iowa music professionals.
  • October 2007 – Music University’s first installment, ‘Self Promotion 101’ is held.
  • November 2007 – Little BIG Fest is held at Hotel Fort Des Moines with 11 Iowa bands.
  • December 2007 – Greater Des Moines Community Foundation awards the DMMC a $50,000 grant and $50,000 matching grant towards the 2008 80/35 music festival.
  • April 2008 – Third Annual Gross Domestic Product is held at the Hotel Fort Des Moines. One of Des Moines’ hottest bands, Dirty Little Rabbits headlines the event to rave reviews.
  • April 2008 – Headliners The Roots and The Flaming Lips are announced for the inaugural 80/35 music festival
  • July 2008 – Tens of thousands of live music fans descend on Western Gateway Park in Downtown Des Moines for 80/35. The event receives rave reviews from fans, press, sponsors, organizers, and artists. In light of the success, the DMMC announces 80/35 2009 will take place July 3th and 4th at a location to be determined.
  • October 2008 – Protecting Your Art: A Guide to Legal Issues, a Music University seminar at Drake University.
  • November 2008 – The third annual Little BIG Fest is held, featuring numerous local bands to 800 fans.
  • December 2008 – A Music University session on Releasing a CD is held with panelists education local musicians on the steps necessary to record, promote, and distribute their music.
  • April 2009 – The lineup for the second annual 80/35 was announced featuring headliner Ben Harper and Public Enemy.
  • May 2009 – The DMMC brought in co-founder of Omaha’s Saddle Creek Records to speak at a Music University session on Recording Labels. More than 60 people attended.
  • July 2009 – The second annual 80/35 is held on July 4 and 5 in Western Gateway Park. More than 30,000 people attended.
  • September 2009 – Membership campaign launched.
  • November 2009 – Fourth annual Little Big Fest held at People’s Court, showcases area artists on two stages. Admission held at $10 to allow over 500 attendees to enjoy 10 roots-rock and jam-band acts.
  • January 2010 – First annual fundraising event, the Backstage Ball, raised over $20,000 from individual donors. Area music industry awards are established.
  • March 2010 – Fifth annual Gross Domestic Product, held at All Play, showcases area Urban Music acts. Again, low admission allowed attendees to enjoy local favorites and emerging artists.
  • September 2009 – April 2010 – Music University seminars educated and informed members of the local music industry on a variety of topics intended to strengthen the live music scene in Central Iowa.
  • July 2010 – Third annual 80/35 Progressive Music Festival entertains draws 35,000 to enjoy more than 40 bands on three stages. Two-day event drew 35,000 and was DMMC’s most successful event to date. The production received great revues from national artists who were delighted to discover a huge, enthusiastic audience in Iowa! Attendees from out-of-state discovered a thriving live music culture in Des Moines. Local and national media gave the festival rave reviews.
  • October 2010 — Membership drive continues with event at Mars Cafe
  • November 2010 — Fifth annual Little Big Fest returns to Hotel Fort Des Moines, attracts 500 to hear area bluegrass and alt rock bands.
  • February 2011 — Second annual Back Stage Ball held at Jasper Winery raises $18,000 and honors Des Moines area music professionals.
  • September 2010 – April 2011 – Music University continues.
  • April 2011 — Sixth annual Gross Domestic product sponsored by Prairie Meadows plays to 400 at Hotel Fort Des Moines, same low admission.
  • June 2011 — Wellmark hosts “Play In”, an event that allows attendees to vote for their favorite local band to play on the main stage at 80/35.
  • July 2011 — 36,000 attend the fourth annual 80/345 Music Festival. A more diverse music offering well received by audience. DMMC collaborated with area organizations to develop the “Green Village” exhibit area, increasing awareness of renewable energy and the benefits of recycling.
  • October 2011 – DMMC Board created new three-year strategic plan.
  • November 2011 – Sixth annual Little Big Fest featured eight Iowa bands.
  • December 2011- Annual membership event hosted by Badowers.
  • February 2012 – Third annual BackStage Ball fundraiser at Gaslamp Lounge raises $14,000 and attracts large and diverse audience. Entertainment featured a band lead by newly named Greater Des Moines Partnership CEO, Jay Byers.
  • March 2012 – Began collaboration with ISU to produce an economic impact study focused on the area music industry.
  • April 2012 – Seventh annual Gross Domestic Product features Iowa artists at the Hotel Fort Des Moines.
  • May 2012 – Initiated research on the feasibility of developing a music training program to serve disadvantaged youth and employ area musicians.
  • June 2012 – Wellmark 80/35 Play-In competition is featured on Iowa Public Radio, with the final competition taking place at Gaslamp Lounge.
  • July 2012 – DMMC hires first staff member, Administrator Chris Ford.
  • July 2012 – DMMC celebrates the fifth annual 80/35 with record crowds in spite of record heat!

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