Saturday, Aug. 5, marks the day of the first ever Waukee Music Festival. The festival will feature 10 musical acts from various genres over 12 hours, concluding with the headline band, Spin Doctors, who were known in the early 1990s for their hit songs “Two Princes” and “Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong.”
The festival, presented by The Kee in Waukee, will take place Downtown Waukee, by Triangle Park and Heartland Co-Op.
The idea was first had about a year ago by Steve Stroud, owner of The Kee, when he suggested they have a live music event at the Downtown Waukee bar, featuring “a band or two.” After getting together with Frank Brown, of Sets Audio Visual the idea transformed, over time, into the festival they have planned for August.
“I contacted Frank and said I wanted to do a concert out in the back parking lot, fence it off, have a stage,” Stroud said. “And through a few talks, it just kind of developed into the festival. So it was a combination of the both of us.”
With Waukee growing at a rapid rate, and many events being more focused on the east side of town and in Centennial Park, Stroud wanted the event to be a way to bring attention to Downtown Waukee and to Triangle Park.
“Things just began moving out (of Downtown Waukee), we’re trying to move things back in,” Stroud said.
Brown said that a music festival was a good way to bring attention to Downtown Waukee since “there’s nothing that brings people together like music.”
“I think music is kind of the soul behind people being together, people having a great time together,” Brown said. “The fun, the laughter, the dancing, so it’s more of a… staple, I guess you could say, of people really enjoying themselves, and music does that.”
Since the very beginning, Stroud and Brown have been working with the City of Waukee, primarily with the Parks and Recreation Department, to make the idea of the Waukee Music Festival a reality. There was a chance they would have to go through the Waukee City Council, but they shortened the festival from one day to two, and were able to do most of their work with Parks and Recreation.
Stroud said that getting everything set with the City was a simple process and that the Parks and Recreation Department has been a “positive influence” on the planning of the event. Brown said that they have been having monthly meetings since February or March with city representatives, including from the Police Department and the Fire Department, as well as from other departments that will have a role in the festival.
“It’s really been an easy transition, and having the opportunity to kind of talk to everybody at once and everybody being on the same page,”Brown said.
Stroud said that the Fire and Police Departments in Waukee have been accommodating and answering any questions they have had through the planning and approval process and Brown said that they have had very little push back from the city during their talks.
They received their official approval from the City of Waukee in March.
Brown and Stroud started looking for bands to fill the spots at the festival back in January by reaching out to artists. They decided that they wanted a mixture of different genres.
“We decided we wanted it to be something where we could bring in different genres of music instead of focusing on one,” Brown said. “So that was kind of our plan from the beginning, is we really wanted to mix it up. We wanted jazz, we wanted blues, we wanted hip-hop, R&P, pop, rock and roll, electronic dance music. We wanted all those things to be a copulation of what this festival is all about.”
There will also be country acts. Brown said he thinks they have a really “solid” lineup for the first year with great local bands, as well as the Spin Doctors to close out the festival.
When deciding who they should get to play the festival, they had to look at their budget, as well as look at what they could or could not handle. Brown said a booking agency suggested the Spin Doctors to them.
“I thought ‘what a perfect group,’” Brown said. “And we started working on numbers and logistics and I started working on what we can do as a festival… and just worked out a really good deal that went well for both of us and so, once we were able to seal some of those types of things up, those details, it was just pretty much signing that paperwork and getting that ball rolling.”
During the festival, the stage is going to be set up near the grain elevators at Heartland Co-Op and facing Triangle Park. Triangle Park, along with the parking lot with the stage, will be blocked off from traffic during the festival.
The City of Waukee required that Stroud and Brown talk with the other businesses that were a part of the Downtown Waukee businesses to get their approval. Stroud said that they were all enthusiastic about the idea.
While they have faced challenges throughout the planning process, Brown said that challenges will continue until the festival is over and the streets are cleared off.
Currently, “early bird” tickets can be purchased for $39.99 on www.waukeemusicfest.com, or for $54.99 with a t-shirt.
The “early bird” VIP tickets are on sale for $199.99 and include access to their party rise with free beer and wine, free appetizers, a phone charging station, private entry and parking area, private bathrooms, a t-shirt, and access to “The Playground Area” with adult size beer pong and bag toss competitions. They currently have a sale going on for 50 percent off the first 100 VIP tickets. Once those tickets are gone, the sale is over.
The early bird ticket specials will end the day before the festival. General admission prices at that time will jump to $49.99 each, or $64.99 with a t-shirt, and the VIP tickets will jump to $224.99.
VIP tickets are limited to those ages 21 and older.
Ten percent of the ticket sales will be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and to Bikers Against Child Abuse. They want to bring in two organizations each year to help out.
“We’re really trying to make sure that we’re giving back as well to the Central Iowa area,” Brown said.
Brown and Stroud have a goal and expectation for about 3,000 guests at the festival.
The festival starts at 11 a.m. on Aug. 5 and runs until 11 p.m. that night. For more information, or to by tickets, visit www.waukeemusicfest.com.