Story by Avery Gregurich
Photo Courtesy DMMC
The one-night music festival will feature 17 bands, 15 of them local, and will represent every genre imaginable.
Three stages will be spread within walking distance across downtown Des Moines’ East Village, one each at Wooly’s, the House of Bricks, and the Beechwood Lounge.
The year’s festival headliners are The Soul Rebels, a funk/soul/jazz/hip-hop brass band from New Orleans and will perform at Wooly’s at 8:30 p.m. The band has released seven albums of genre- bending brass music and has shared the stage with such varied acts as Arcade Fire, Green Day and The Roots.
All other performing bands are based in Iowa.
The Uniphonics come to Des Moines by way of Iowa City, bringing along their unique blend of hip-hop and funk.
The Diplomats of Solid Sound, also from Iowa City, revive a classic soul sound.
An Ames-based band, Old Scratch Revival Singers’ music is founded in traditional bluegrass and folk but has a dark, macabre polish.
The Mumford’s, also from Ames, is celebrating the release of its latest album of psychotic folk, “Immediate Family,” at the festival.
For the first time this year, the Greater Des Moines Music Coalition(DMCC collaborated with another nonprofit organization to put on Little BIG Fest.
The Civic Music Association teamed up with the DMCC to organize the festival and to bring The Soul Rebels into the mix.
The collaboration began when Executive Director Carrie Clogg of the Civic Music Association was putting together the organization’s 2013-14 concert schedule.
“Traditionally, we present jazz and classical music,” Clogg said. “We were looking to expand our audience base into a newer, younger audience.”
Clogg decided to present the idea of collaboration to DMCC Administrator Chris Ford, whose office is conveniently located nextdoor to her own.
The two thought if the organizations partnered for the event, “it would only make this event stronger,” Clogg said.
The idea of the collaboration played into the mission Chris Ford always has when planning the Little big fest, which is to “make it unlike anything else that happens around Des Moines in the music scene in the fall.”
“(The lineup) highlights a lot of great local and regional bands,” Ford said. “We tried to put together a good, diverse selection that represented Iowa music.”
The collaboration between the two nonprofits brought some new features to this year’s festival.
Performing acts that the Civic Music Association brings in during their season hold musical workshops with community members and musicians before performing themselves.
The Soul Rebels will be no different.
“The Soul Rebels will be coaching some local students primarily from Des Moines Public Schools in a master-class setting,” Clogg said. “That group of students will then open for the band at 5:15 p.m. that evening.”
Another new feature of this year’s festival will be the Pop Up Music Crawl.
“We’re doing free short acoustic sets from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at different local businesses around East Village featuring bands that will be playing on the mainstages later that night,” Ford said.“ We thought wouldn’t it be fun if you could be walking around the East Village and just pop into a store and there would be a musician warming up,” Clogg said.
These performances will take place at RAYGUN, Capital Chiropractic, Eden, Stitch and Hill Vintage.
The full lineup and performing times can be found online at www.desmoinesmc.com.
All-access tickets for the festival are $20 in advance and $25 at the door. They can be purchased online through MidwestTix. Individual show tickets are also available.
The Pop Up Music Crawl shows and all shows at the Beechwood Lounge are free.