As the pandemic wore on, many music venues in Des Moines stayed closed. But other spaces opened their doors after our new world started to mimic the one we left behind. And the most active venue in Des Moines – which, given the sparse booking options and reduced capacity, is kind of like being the tallest dwarf – is Woolys.
Des Moines has always struggled to attract a wide array of artists. For big-name acts that had outgrown bar gigs but couldn’t sell out stadiums, Iowa just wasn’t on their touring radar. But a development in the mid-2000s started to change that: festivals!
Des Moines isn’t your typical Midwest music scene. Sure, it’s right on the crosshairs of Interstates 80 and 35, connecting culture hubs like Chicago or Minneapolis with modest scenes like Omaha and Kansas City. But despite it’s prime location, live music in Des Moines has historically been behind the curve.