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Thanks for our great sponsors, entertainment at the Des Moines Arts Festival is FREE TO ATTEND!

Check out the Hy-Vee Main Stage for an explosive variety of live music or visit the Roots Stage for a laid back vibe.

Seating is casual and available on a first-come, first-serve basis; early arrival is encouraged for each night’s headline acts. Blankets and lawn chairs are welcome.

2022 Entertainment Lineup

Hy-Vee Main Stage

G. Love & Special Sauce
Moon Taxi
Cedric Burnside
James Tutson and the Rollback
The Sara Routh Band
Abbie Sawyer
The Cardinal Sound
Girls Rock! Des Moines
Performance by Des Moines Playhouse
Drag Show
Jesse Jamz

Roots Stage

William Elliott Whitmore
Sarah Shook & the Disarmers
Chicago Farmer
D. Smith
Joel Sires
Andre Davis
Buckmiller/Schwager Band
Patresa Hartman & Jenny Kohls
Charlotte Blu
Emmett Phillips & Friends + Community Youth Showcase
Abigail Phelps
Central Iowa Music Lab
Say: Poetry!

G. Love & Special Sauce

Friday, June 24, 8:30 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage

G. Love and Special Sauce is a three-member alternative, blues and hip-hop band from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They are known for their unique and laid-back blues sound that encompasses classic R&B.

Moon Taxi

Saturday, June 25, 8:30 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage

Since forming in 2006, Moon Taxi have brought their genre-bending musicality to a boldly adventurous body of work, all while taking their live show to leading festivals across the country and sold-out runs at such iconic venues as the Ryman Auditorium. In a dynamic new era for the Nashville-based band—vocalist/guitarist Trevor Terndrup, lead guitarist Spencer Thomson, bassist Tommy Putnam, keyboardist Wes Bailey, and drummer Tyler Ritter—their fifth full-length Silver Dream broadens their sonic palette even further, exploring everything from folk to soul to inventively crafted electronic pop. But while the album embodies an endlessly forward-thinking sound, its lyrics offer a thoughtful reflection on days gone by.

Cedric Burnside

Saturday, June 25, 6:45 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage

The blues is music for all time—past, present, and future—and few artists simultaneously exemplify those multiple temporal moments of the genre like North Mississippi’s Cedric Burnside. The Mississippi Hill Country blues guitarist and singer/songwriter contains within him the legacy and future of the region’s prescient sound stories. At once African and American and southern and Mississippian, these stories tell about love, hurt, connection, and redemption in the South. His newest contribution to this tradition is I Be Trying, a 13-track album treatise on life’s challenges, pleasures, and beauty. “Life can go any kind of way,” Burnside says. With almost 30 years of performing and living blues in him, he would know.

William Elliott Whitmore

Thursday, June 23, 7:30 p.m. on the Roots Stage

Click HERE to learn more about the Festival Kick-Off Concert.

A man armed only with a banjo and a bass drum can be a formidable force, especially if his name is William Elliott Whitmore. With his powerful voice and honest approach, Whitmore comes from the land, growing up on a family farm in Lee County, Iowa. Still living on the same farm today, Whitmore has truly taken the time to discover where his center lies, and from that he will not be moved.

Whitmore has repeatedly carved his own path, honoring the longstanding tradition of folk music throughout his nearly 20-year career, while always allowing his blues, soul and punk rock influences to shine through. He has toured across the United States and has performed on some of the biggest stages around the world such as Stagecoach Fest, Byron Bluesfest (Australia) and End of the Road Fest (UK).

Sarah Shook & the Disarmers

Saturday, June 25, 8:00 p.m. on the Roots Stage

North Carolina’s Sarah Shook sings with a conviction and hard honesty sorely lacking in much of today’s Americana landscape. Always passionate, at times profane, Sarah stalks/walks the line between vulnerable and menacing, her voice strong and uneasy, country classic but with contemporary, earthy tension. You can hear in her voice what’s she’s seen; world weary, lessons learned—or not—but always defiant. She level-steady means what she says. Writing with a blunt urgency—so refreshing these days it's almost startling—Sarah's lyrics are in turn smart, funny, mean, and above all, uncompromising. The Disarmers hit all the sweet spots from Nashville’s Lower Broad to Bakersfield and take Sarah's unflinching tales out for some late-night kicks. At times, it’s as simple and muscular as Luther Perkins’ boom-chicka-boom, or as downtown as Johnny Thunders. The Disarmers keep in the pocket, tight and tough.

Chicago Farmer

Friday, June 24, 8:00 p.m. on the Roots Stage

“This is not your average ‘man with guitar.’ Chicago Farmer’s approach to solo folk music is traditional, but his soul & energy are uncommonly powerful. Arriving with his classic acoustic guitar style is a voice smooth but broken-in that sounds wise beyond its years. He will stomp out a beat in leather boots to drive home a point and throw down a handsome harmonica solo to put a song over the top. The songs are about the places he’s been and the people he’s met, so local ideas are abound in this music from the heart.” - CBS Chicago


James Tutson and the Rollback

Friday, June 24, 6:45 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage

James Tutson and the Rollback is a Soul/Rhythm and Blues band from Iowa City, headed by singer/songwriter James Tutson. They’ve steadily become one of the most well known bands in the area due to their unique style, a combination of southern soul and rhythm & blues. James was featured on season 20 of The Voice and has embraced a new style of songwriting and a renewed dedication to the craft since. He has recorded five studio albums, threes solo and two with the Rollback. All six members of the band report to other jobs during the week making their tight sound and musicianship all the more impressive. James’ fifth studio album, "Still", released in May of 2021 to positive reviews. His sixth studio album “Happy” is set for releas spring of 2022. For more information on James Tutson, The Rollback, "Still", live music and exclusive content visit, www.jamestutson.com and follow on Instagram: @jtutson @jamestutsonandtherollback.

The Sara Routh Band

Saturday, June 25, 5:15 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage

Routh is a Des Moines native who's traveled around the world bringing her music to audiences across the globe. Her engaging spirit on stage draws the listener to pause, sit and emotionally experience each performance. Routh has won awards and accolades for her songwriting since 2006 and continues to develop new sounds throughout her musical journey. A strong vocal talent, Routh's ability to balance lyrics, sense of style and rhythm leaves her audiences wanting a return performance. She has been compared to the incredible talents of Ella Fitzgerald and Joni Mitchell. Routh is a musical force of nature who continues to embrace community and life, delivering relatable moments effectively through song.

Abbie Sawyer

Sunday, June 26, 3:00 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage

Abbie Sawyer is a Des Moines singer-songwriter loved for her warmth and lush storytelling. Her songs illuminate moments of hope, despair, and beauty, drawing deeply on her experience as a mother. She'll be joined by her 9-piece band for this performance.

D. Smith

Friday, June 24, 6:30 p.m. on the Roots Stage

From deep in the heart of the country arrives the beguiling sounds of D. Smith. Crafting rich songs that reflect the lives and landscapes of middle America, Smith captures listeners with his warm vocals and expressive delivery. D. Smith’s inviting debut album “Cabin Fever” (2019) distills these strengths and showcases the best of his vivid songwriting.

Joel Sires

Saturday, June 25, 6:30 p.m. on the Roots Stage

From the very start of his musical journey Joel Sires has been a song chaser. Sires’ work has run the gamut from psych pop to glam rock, and power pop to singer songwriter folk. His latest work features hushed tones and acoustic guitars, breaking new ground by bringing the volume down and pushing the song and lyrics to the forefront.

The Cardinal Sound

Saturday, June 25, 3:45 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage

The Cardinal Sound is a local 4-piece Des Moines band that weaves genres of Bluegrass and Americana Folk Music into a dynamic and energetic live show. Focusing on their upbeat original music, strong vocal harmonies, and fun fiddle led jams they are a show worth checking out!


Friday, June 24, 5:00 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage

MFK is a group of Des Moines-based musicians and friends who share a strong passion for R&B and soul music. Fred Gaddy on organ, Mario Hall on drums, Kyle Gowin on sax, and Stephen Rieck on guitar. MFK is a highly improvisational instrumental group that enjoys challenging each other musically during their live performances.

Andre Davis

Saturday, June 25, 5:00 p.m. on the Roots Stage

Andre Davis, the hip hop poet, a true spoken word artist turned rapper. Andre combines intense emotional connection and real world issues with his seamless flow. His raw verses pack a punch that'll leave you reeling with nothing but a few breaths.

Buckmiller/Schwager Band

Sunday, June 26, 1:15 p.m. on the Roots Stage

In September of 2021, Tom Buckmiller (Waukee) and Brian Schwager (West Des Moines) won the Iowa Blues Challenge, an event sponsored by the Central Iowa Blues Society and they are Iowa's representative at the International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN on the famed Beale Street. Buckmiller and Schwager put this band together to highlight the electrified blues they love so dearly. With a rhythm section of Eric Smidt (Ames,IA) and 2014 Iowa Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee Larry Mersereau (Urbandale, IA) this quartet works to keep the blues alive by playing their own original blues compositions while paying attention to the historic roots of the genre.

Patresa Hartman

Friday, June 24, 5:00 p.m. on the Roots Stage

Des Moines-based singer/songwriter, Patresa Hartman, calls her style soul-folk. A rich, blues voice serves as the vehicle for thoughtful, poetic lyrics. A percussive guitar player, Hartman's signature finger picking style becomes rhythmic foundation for soulful melodies that hint at contemporary country and folk. But Hartman's roots in gospel and soul are apparent in her turns behind the piano.

Hartman is joined by Jenny Kohls who started her career as a guitarist in Iowa rock bands. Since then, Kohls has built an impressive catalog of original music – as wide-ranging as her talent: acoustic folk, experimental electronic, driving rock. Kohls’ achievements include national tours and her work featured in film and television. In addition to her role as Hartman’s lead guitarist, Kohls fronts The Jenny Kohls Band.

Charlotte Blu

Saturday, June 25, 3:30 p.m. on the Roots Stage

Charlotte Blu is an amazing upcoming music artist originally from Illinois. She began singing at a very young age receiving her first guitar lesson at 10 years old and from there developed a love for the instrument. Charlotte is a vocalist, songwriter, musician, and performer with talents in performing and songwriting in different genres of music. Her music as an artist is rooted in soul, blues and inspired by artists such as Amy Winehouse, Etta James, H.E.R., and Beyonce.

Emmett Phillips & Friends+Community Youth Showcase

Saturday, June 25, 2:00 p.m. on the Roots Stage

Emmett Phillips is a facilitator at Oakridge Neighborhood. He is a Hip-Hop Artist, poet, teaching artist, and actor who’s performed from St. Louis to New York City. Emmett has worked with Des Moines Public Schools, the Des Moines Play House, Pyramid Theatre Company, and more. He is most passionate about using his art forms as a way to tell stories that promote equality, social justice, and freedom.

Abigail Phelps

Saturday, June 25, 12:30 p.m. on the Roots Stage

Abigail Phelps is a Des Moines native and rising Singer/Songwriter. She brings a spunky and fresh approach to the stage with her 12-string storytelling and driving lyrics. Her powerhouse vocals and contagious humor create a stage experience like no other.

Girls Rock! Des Moines

Saturday, June 25, 2:15 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage

Since 2013, Girls Rock! Des Moines has been empowering girls, gender-expansive, nonbinary, and trans youth through music education, collaboration, and performance opportunities.

Say: Poetry

Friday, June 24th, 3:30 p.m. on the Roots Stage

Say: Poetry is a free youth based arts program serving elementary through high school students in Des Moines Public Schools. The performing poets of Say: Poetry are the winners of the City Slam and compromise Team Des Moines.

Central Iowa Music Lab

Sunday, June 26, 3:00 p.m. on the Roots Stage

Founded in 2009, Central Iowa Music Lab provides private music instruction to students of all ages. We teach voice, piano, guitar, drums, and much more. Locations in Des Moines and Waukee.

Des Moines Playhouse - Matilda the Musical

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Saturday, June 25, 12:15 p.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage

The Playhouse mission, as one of Iowa's largest and oldest producing theatres, is to create extraordinary, shared experiences through live theatre. Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical, about a girl who is magical, mischievous, and miraculous, is a delight for all ages.

Drag Show

Sunday, June 26, 11 a.m. on the Hy-Vee Main Stage

In celebration of Pride Month, the Des Moines Arts Festival is proud to host a Drag Show featuring some of Iowa’s top performers, Nikki Love, Mae Banks, Jack Frost, Kitty B, and Sharaya Sinz Diamond and Kansas City’s Riri Sanchez-Herrera.

Guests interested in expanding their experience can purchase a ticket to a Drag Brunch with an exclusive pre-show mix and mingle with the drag personalities. Click here to learn more and purchase tickets.


Jesse Jamz is recognized from miles away by peers nationwide in the DJ & Entertainment industry as a true entertainer behind the decks who can adapt to any crowd. With equal nods to Current Trends, Throwback Hits, Underground Mashups, Vintage Hip Hop, Pop, Rock, Electronic and anything needed to move the crowd one thing is clear Jesse’s sound is truly his own.

Please note it is the intent of the Des Moines Arts Festival to implement consistent and relevant protocols that will ensure a safe and comfortable environment for our partners and guests at the end of June.

We are currently not accepting applications to play at the 2022 Des Moines Arts Festival. Thanks!

An Ode to the Des Moines Arts Festival®

Click the image to listen to the DMAF playlist. 
Along with 190 visual artists on-site, the Festival also features 25 local, regional, and national touring musicians who entertain guests on the Roots Stage and the Hy-Vee Main Stage over the three-day Festival weekend. We can't wait to share the lineup for the 2022 Des Moines Arts Festival, but please enjoy the Spotify Playlist we've made of past headliners along with a brief history of music at the festival from our Director of Guest Engagement, Daphne -

There’s nothing better than sipping on a festival vodka lemonade and standing in the middle of downtown Des Moines, listening to a live band surrounded by beautiful art, delicious food, and a perfect sunset on a summer evening. At least that’s what I remember before joining the team in 2018 for the award winning Des Moines Arts Festival. Actually, that description is still pretty accurate, minus being a bit more sweaty with a chatty radio attached to my hip.

The Des Moines Arts Festival has seen a variety of musicians play the streets of Des Moines. Over the past 10 years the festival has welcomed national touring musicians, all free of charge for our guests thanks to the support of our generous sponsors.

If you’ve been an avid DMAF fan, you’ve seen the stages change. The Hy-Vee Main Stage has always been placed on the lawn of the Pappajohn Building, centered between 12th & 13th street. After trials and errors, we have been able to place the stage at an angle just right so the sound reverberates in certain areas to not disturb conversations between artists and guests.

The Jazz and Wine Pavilion was introduced 2010, located where the Krause Gateway Building now sits. With an initial focus of exactly what you’d think the pavilion contained, this tent and stage was moved and renamed the Acoustic Stage in 2016, sitting in the lot between two of our partners, Des Moines Radio Group and Flynn Wright.

As the acoustic stage became less acoustic sounding, we were seeing a trend on the musicians being booked for this stage. They fit more in the Americana, rootsy, singer song writer realm. In 2019 The Roots Stage was born. The stage has a more intimate feeling, an up close and personal view of the musicians and small bands. While the stage is set up under a 30x60 open air tent; the energy of the musicians and guests overflows the space. The goal for the space is to make guests feel like they’re hanging out in our backyard with their favorite musicians, patio lights included.

In 2009, the Des Moines Arts Festival® brought in the first nationally touring musicians to play at the festival. The organization was in need of additional “flare” to keep guests entertained and make their length of stay longer, assist in beverage revenue, and in general, take the festival up a notch. Collective Soul opened for pop rock singer Gavin DeGraw. Green River Ordinance wrapped up the line up that year.

Katelyn Epperly: Iowa girl famed on American Idol, now working in the alias name Everly in Nashville
Fundamental Elements: good ole’ soul

The Smithereens: mainstream rock with hits “Blood and Roses” and “Girl Like You”. Lead singer Pat DiNizio passed away in 2017 at the young age of 62.
Scars on 45: Indie rock band from across the pond
The Envy Corps: making the Iowa alternative rock scene proud

To celebrate the Festival’s 15th Anniversary, the team organized a Friday night, All-Iowa Lineup, featuring The Nadas, Thankful Dirt, Rebel Creek, James Biehn, and Bonne Finken.

Aaron Neville: R&B soul vocalist and musician
Los Lobos: a crazy compilation of rock, tex-mex, country, and folk
Alejandro Escovedo: Texas singer-songwrited (personal note, totally underrated. I saw him at The Continental Club in Austin for $5. Place was PACKED and he was amazing.)

10,000 Maniacs: the best early 90s college rock sound around
Bodeans: Midwest neighbors from Wisconsin. The band stretches across rock genres.
Iris Dement: now calls Iowa home and we’re lucky to have her. John Prine coined her “America’s Sweetheart”

Mat Kearney: soft rock musician, has a handful of radio singles you know
Eddie Money: RIP….you’ve definitely sang his songs at the top of your lungs in a bar.
Greg Brown: paving the folk way for fellow Iowa musicians. He’s also married to Iris Dement (see 2014).

2016 – launch of Acoustic Stage
Gin Blossoms: first hit “Hey Jealousy” hit the charts in 1989. Feel old? I do.
Grand Funk Railroad: I’m sad I missed this show. I heard the VIP Club was lit when GFR hit the stage!
Matt Woods: three time Iowa Blues Challenge winner, bringing the blues sounds with some foot stompin’ and hollerin’.
The Well Pennies: folk-pop duo, husband and wife team who now call Des Moines home by way of Boston.

Saint Motel: Indie pop rockers, get ready to dance when these guys come on.
Big Head Todd & The Monsters: fun fact, during the 2017 festival, the DMAF team had to pick the band up from the airport. Chris Vance drew a “pick up” sign for the team to take to the airport on an un-used coroplast sign. I now have my own original Vance piece at my desk.
The Pines: Iowa guys making great folk music. No surprise considering two of the members have Bo Ramsey as their dad (see 2019).
Joe Purdy: singer songwriter, Joe should be on every folk playlist.

Spin Doctors: rock band, best known for “Two Princes” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong” you can’t help but sing their songs when they come on the radio. You’re probably aren’t getting half the lyrics right but we won’t judge you.
Sir Sly: Indie rock band, can tear up the stage floor with their moves.
Jukebox the Ghost: power pop band, fun fact: one of our interns met them and cried.
Jeffrey Foucault: American songwriter with influences from across genres
Joe Pug: American songwriter, fun fact, hopped off the stage and played directly to the front row. He also has a podcast: “The American Songwriter.” One of the most eloquently spoken musicians in my opinion.

2019 – The Roots Stage is born
The Strumbellas: Canadians who cross over into alternative country, indie rock, and gothic folk. Fun fact, one of the guys needed a hair tie (hair ties were not on the rider). I gave him mine and used a crappy rubber band to hold my hair up the rest of the night. I hope he appreciated that. Also, they were lovely.
The Mowglis: alternative rock that are the perfect band for a summer playlist.
The Family Stone: the hits this band has is unbelievable. The band consisted of original members and some children of members. If I get to see Chaden Halfhill, owner of Silent Rivers, DMAF Board member AND amazing VIP Club builder, get to dance like that again, I’d book them over and over.
Bo Ramsey: talk about Iowa legend, Bo is a singer song writer with not only his own albums but has back many acts such as Greg Brown and Lucinda Williams.
William Elliot Whitmore: another Iowa gem in the folk world. Fun fact, he lives on a farm in SE Iowa. He doesn’t play a lot around here but when he does make sure you go.

lovelytheband: chances are you were humming their hit single "Broken" in 2018 - it broke records on the alternative chart!
Here Come the Mummies: the band is made up of internationally renowned musicians, although I couldn't tell you who they are due to the whole mummy costume thing, but they're put on a show!
Tommy Prine: he picked up the guitar at age 10, with a pretty good mentor (and Dad), John Prine, Tommy is looking ahead in making a name for himself in the Americana world.
Lilly Hiatt: fresh off her album released in 2020, "Walking Proof", Lilly and her band was a crowd favorite.

Greg Brown & guitarist Bo Ramsey, 2015

Greg Brown & guitarist Bo Ramsey, 2015

Eddie Money, 2015

Eddie Money, 2015

Joe Pug, 2018

Joe Pug, 2018

Sir Sly, 2018

Sir Sly, 2018

Spin Doctors, 2018

Spin Doctors, 2018

The Family Stone, 2019

The Family Stone, 2019

The Strumbellas, 2019

The Strumbellas, 2019

The Mowgli's, 2019

The Mowgli's, 2019

William Elliott Whitmore, 2019

William Elliott Whitmore, 2019

Lilly Hiatt, 2021

Lilly Hiatt, 2021

Here Come the Mummies, 2021

Here Come the Mummies, 2021

2021 Entertainment Lineup

Hy-Vee Main Stage

Here Come The Mummies
Elizabeth Moen
Avey Grouws Band
Nella Thomas
Crystal City
Jake Kemble & Kick
The Haunted Hallows
Girls Rock! Des Moines
Performances by: Des Moines Ballroom, Gateway Dance Theatre, Des Moines Playhouse, and Iowa Dance Theatre

Roots Stage presented by meredith

Tommy Prine
Lilly Hiatt
Dave Moore
Brian Johannesen
Chad Elliott
Ty & Diana of The Host Country
Sara Routh
Casey Joe Collins
Flash in a Pan
Jake Schrodt
Hannah Frey
Dan Trilk
Darian Taylor
FREE PWR! and Friends + O.Y.E.A. Youth Showcase
Central Iowa Music Lab

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