Who else loves outdoor summer concerts? There’s not much better than seeing one of your favorite bands or discovering new music on a beautiful evening at an outdoor music venue.
Des Moines knows how to make summer sound even more beautiful with a slew of outdoor venues and regular summer concert series to choose from. From the Jasper Winery Concert series to the Iowa State Fair, mark your calendars now to soak in new tunes and beautiful weather in one fell swoop.
Looking for more summer fun? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Summer with 125+ Things to do in Des Moines.
Des Moines Summer Concert Guide
Fridays, July 2 to August 30, 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Where: Prairie Meadows Riviera Stage at Riverview Park, Des Moines
Des Moines’ newest outdoor venue, with seating for 9,000 will kick off its summer concert series, Rendezvous on Riverview July 2 with fireworks and music by Standing Hampton. Other acts include The Party Rocks Dance Band featuring Maxx G & T-FLIP (July 9) and Fahrenheit (July 16).
Thursdays, May 20 to August 5, 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Where: 2400 George Flagg Parkway, Des Moines
This summer concert series kicked off May 20, and upcoming bands include the Damon Dotston Band, The Maytags, and Des Moines favorite The Nadas (July 1). In addition to live music, you can enjoy Jasper Winery wines-by-the-glass, sangria, and beer, plus soda and water. These lawn concerts are family-friendly, with plenty of room for kiddos to run, dance, and play while you all enjoy the music. Bring your lawn chairs or blankets and pack a picnic dinner, or purchase burgers or brats from the grill. Food trucks will be onsite as well!
Where: Iowa State Fairgrounds, 3000 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines
At the Iowa State Fair (Aug. 12-22), you’ll not only find almost any food you can imagine on a stick but also live outdoor music around almost every corner. From the Grandstand to the free stages, you’re sure to find a genre to fit your tastes or mood. Here are a few of the highlights from this year’s Grandstand lineup:
August 13- Blake Shelton
August 15 – Boyz II Men
August 17 – The Beach Boys with special guest Hanson
August 19 – Chris Stapleton
August 21 – Dan + Shay
Be sure to check the Fair’s website for info on the free entertainment. From rock legends to country up-and-comers, all free with gate admission.
Fridays, June 4 – August 20, 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Where: The District’s Town Square Park, Ankeny
Sips & Songs is a free weekly summer music series. It features performances by bands of various genres — country, classic rock, top 40, dance hits, and party music. Come enjoy these family-friendly Friday night kick-offs to the weekend. Headliners include:
June 18 – Maytags
June 25 – Cody Hicks
July 2 – Party in the Sky
July 9 – Oreo Meatwagon
Where: Hoyt Sherman Place, 1501 Woodland Ave., Des Moines
The free concert series highlighting local and regional talent is scheduled for three July dates on the lawn of historic Hoyt Sherman Place. The lineup includes:
July 13 – Amina Figarova Group
July 27 – The Syndicate
July 30 – Max Wellman & His Big Band: Back in Business
Sundays, May – October, 2 p.m.-5 p.m.
Where: 15101 Fairfax St., Indianola
The concerts are outdoors unless the weather is bad, then they move inside to the banquet hall. Admission is $5 per person, and $15 per carload or bicycle gang (up to 5 bikes). On June 16, dads can get in free and enjoy the music of Jake Schrodt & The Residuals. Other highlights include:
June 13 – Recoil
June 27 – Dick Danger Band
July 4 – The Sons of Gladys Kravitz
Thursdays through July 15, 7 p.m.
Where: Pool complex, Camp Dodge, Johnston
Concerts are free and concessions are available. Lawn chairs, coolers, and picnic baskets are welcome.
June 24 – The Nadas
July 1 – The Sidewinders
July 8 – Brother Trucker
July 15 – Standing Hampton
Wednesdays in June, July, and August, 5:30 p.m.–9 p.m.
Where: Blank Park Zoo, 7401 S.W. 9th St., Des Moines
See the zoo come to life after hours every Wednesday in the summer at Zoo Brew. This 21-and-over event features live music and brews to support the zoo, plus a chance to enjoy the animals (without having to share with your kids)! Each week has a fun theme, like Monkeys and Merlot (June 16, with Ducharme-Jones playing) and Fins and Fermentation(Aug. 11, with Jordan Sellergren playing). Tickets are $14 per person.
Tuesdays, June & July, 6 p.m.-8:30 p.m.
Where: Colby Park, 6850 School St., Windsor Heights
Grab some friends or neighbors (don’t forget the lawn chairs) and head to Colby Park on Tuesdays for an enjoyable evening of live music at Nights in the Heights. Grab dinner from one of the food trucks and let your kids explore the nearby playground. This year’s lineup includes:
July 3rd | 6 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. – Independence Day Celebration with fireworks!
July 6 | Dick Danger Band
July 13 | Jimmy the Weasel
July 20 | Flying Silos
July 27 | Bob Pace and the Dangerous Band
August 3 | Stark Raving Madge
Sundays, June 9 to July 11, 7 p.m.
Where: The West Terrace of the State Capitol
Don’t miss this diverse selection of concert band and jazz band performances performed by professional Iowa musicians. Bring lawn chairs and blankets and enjoy ice cream from The Outside Scoop.
Fridays 4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Where: Middlebrook Farm – Cumming Avenue/Highway G14, Cumming, Iowa
Live music, food truck, farmers market vendors, wine/beer wagon, fresh organic produce, and more! Upcoming acts include Josh Sinclair (June 18), Chad Elliott (June 25), Ryne Doughty (July 2).
Summer Music Festivals
July 2-3 | Saint Charles, Iowa, Acts include Lee Brice, Josh Turner, Jordan Davis, CamJon Pardi, Brett Young, Eli Young Band, Ingrid Andress, Tyler Farr, Mackenzie Porter, and more.
Aug. 6-8 | St. Charles, Iowa, with headliners, The Avett Brothers, Tyler Childers, and Leon Bridges.
Aug. 28 | Exile Brewing Company, 1514 Walnut St., Des Moines
Sept. 4 | Prairie Meadows Riviera Stage at Riverview Park, Des Moines
Send us an email if we missed anything, and we’ll add your concert to the list.
We work hard to ensure the accuracy of this information. However, you should always call ahead to confirm dates, times, location, and other information before heading to an event or activity, since it may change.