Home to some of the country's best and biggest festivals as well as some smaller, more intimate events for a relaxed experience, Iowa's variety allows visitors of all ages to enjoy their favorite tunes.
1. 515 Alive Music Festival
This mid-August event offers two days of assorted music including electronic, dubstep, hip hop and heavy metal. Held in Des Moines' Water Works Park, enjoy music from nearly 100 artists alongside amazing light shows, dozens of clothing and art vendors and a variety of food stands.
2. The Big Country Bash
Recognized as the third major country festival in Iowa, this recently resurrected event boasts two days of country music from artists like Brett Eldredge, Midland and Russel Dickerson. Held in late June at the Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater, attendees can enjoy tunes and get the full experience with camping at a reduced price.
3. Guthrie's River Ruckus
Started by an Iowa State University alumni and his childhood friend in their hometown, this event brings huge names like Chris Young and Dustin Lynch and a crowd of 20,000 to small-town Iowa each July. The two-day event takes advantage of the Guthrie Center Fairgrounds' amphitheater, where 10 to 15 artists entertain the massive crowd.
Held in downtown Des Moines on the second weekend of July, this two-day event combines music from a mix of local, regional and national touring talent, eye-popping art, delicious foods, savory brews and the opportunity to shop local. Enjoy a variety of genres from alternative and indie rock to country and pop performed by almost 50 artists on three stages.
5. Country Thunder Music Festival
Formerly known as Tree Town Festival, it's still one of the best country music festivals in the country and attracts nearly 20,000 country fans to Forest City each year. The four-day festival takes place over Memorial Day weekend and has featured artists such as Toby Keith, Dierks Bentley and Lindsay Ell. Stop by for a day or stay the whole weekend at the event's campground, which includes showers and restrooms as well as luxurious tents for rent.
6. Hinterland Music Festival
Join thousands of music fans at one of Iowa's largest music festivals. Held in Saint Charles, just south of Des Moines, this three-day event features nearly 25 artists and a great variety of genres including pop, folk, blues, rock, country and alternative. This is known as a camping-centric event, so pack your tent to enjoy the full experience.
7. Iowa City Jazz Festival
Kick off your summer with this three-day celebration of jazz held the first weekend of July. With four stages, a variety of up-and-coming artists and well-known musicians, delicious food and a fireworks show, this event is perfect for all ages.
8. Saturday in the Park
Start the 4th of July celebration early with Sioux City's Saturday in the Park. Held on the weekend before Independence Day, this one-night event coincides with the annual pilgrimage of representatives from the community's sister city of Lake Charles, Louisiana, adding a Mardi Gras flair. Enjoy alternative country, rock, blues and jazz tunes alongside tasty dishes and a fireworks show.