If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Or better yet, get out of the house! Summer in Des Moines means outdoor concerts galore (and many are FREE!). Throw down a blanket, spread out the snacks, uncork the wine, and watch the kids boogie under the evening stars as you sway to some cool and breezy melodies. Below are some of our favorite outdoor summer concert series that return every year. Be sure to check our daily calendar to find even more summer activities!
(More in the mood for a movie? There are plenty of FREE Outdoor Movies all summer as well.)
Outdoor Summer Concerts in Des Moines:
This small, family owned winery housed in a repurposed 1917 barn near Adel, hosts a number of events throughout the year including their Outdoor Summer Concert series. Held on Friday nights these concerts are family friendly events.
May 25: Freedom Project with Tim & Jana West
June 8: Chad Elliott
June 22: Opus Taylor
July 6: Back Stage Boogie Band
July 27: Brother Trucker
August 10: Abby Normal
August 24: Boomerang
Ankeny’s Summer Sounds Concert Series is held on Thursday nights in the ‘Shell in Wagner Park. Live music runs from 7:00 to 8:30 pm. The concerts are FREE and open to the public; bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating.
June 7: Standing Hampton
June 14: Richie Lee
June 21: Faculty Lounge
June 28: Pianopalozza featuring Tony Bohnenkamp and Jerry Lorensen
July 5: South 35
July 19: Ankeny Community Band and Chorus
July 26: The Sheet
The outdoor stage in Haines Park is hosting four free concerts under the stars this summer season. Enjoy live music on Sundays from 7:00 to 8:00 pm. Bring picnics and a blanket and kids can roam, play and dance in the park as they listen.
June 24: TBD
July 29: TBD (Tentative Date due to Altoona 150)
August 26: TBD
September 23: TBD
People of all ages are welcome to mingle in Altoona and enjoy some FREE music on Friday nights from 6:00 to 9:00 pm. The concerts are at the Civic Plaza next to Hy-Vee. Bring lawn chairs and blankets to sit on. Food and drink items are available for purchase from several local vendors.
May 25: Tony Bohnenkamp
June 29: The Bumps
July 27: Faculty Lounge
Unwind after a long week at Food Truck Friday! Jump on the Greenbelt Trail and make your way to Campbell Park to enjoy music, food, and fun. Bring the whole family — the park has three playgrounds and green space. Proceeds from beverage sales at the Clive concession stand will go to Clive Community Services.
May 11: Brian Congdon
May 18: Damon Dotson
May 25: Josh Sinclair
June 1: Brad Seidenfeld
June 8: Dustin Baird
June 15: SUEDE
The Belin Quartet consists of alternating violinists Julie Fox Henson, John Helmich, and Tracy Engman Finkelshteyn, violist Jonathan Sturm, and cellist George Work. All concerts in the series begin at 12:15 pm and conclude at 1:00 pm and are FREE and open to the public. Rain location is the lobby of the Kirkwood Hotel, 400 Locust Street.
May 25: Schumann No. 1 in A minor at People’s Plaza
June 1: Beethoven Op. 59 no. 3 at Downtown Central Library
June 8: Beethoven Op. 18 no. 1 at Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
June 15: Mozart K. 428, Gershwin Lullaby at Downtown Central Library
June 22: Shostakovich Quartet no. 2 at Cowles Commons
June 29: Beethoven Op. 132 at East Lawn, Meredith Campus
July 6: Brahms sextet in G at Cowles Commons
July 13: Haydn Op. 76 no. 5 at Downtown Central Library
July 20: Children’s Concert at Downtown Central Library
July 27: Mozart Clarinet Quintet, Carl Maria Von Weber Quintet at Principal Financial Group Campus
Join Jasper Winery every Thursday this summer from 6:00 to 9:00 pm for FREE live music on the lawn. They’ll be serving up wine by-the-glass, sangria, and Madhouse Brewing Company beer. Food vendors will be selling burgers, brats and pizza but you’re also welcome to bring snacks too. No pets are allowed but kids are welcome. Music will go on rain or shine.
May 10: Adé & The Soul Brothers
May 17: Brother Trucker
May 24: Whitewater Ramble
May 31: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
June 7: Decoy
June 14: Brazilian Twins
June 21: The Nadas
June 28: Dotson Band
July 5: Congdon
July 12: Pianopalooza Band
July 19: The Maytags
July 26: Dazy Head Mazy
August 2: Final Mix
In its 72nd season, Music Under the Stars is held at 7:00 pm on Sunday nights on the west Capitol grounds. The concerts are FREE, open to the public and children are welcome. Bring lawn chairs, blankets and a picnic dinner to enjoy the music. Rain location is the Harmon Fine Arts Center at Drake University (25th & Carpenter).
June 10: Des Moines Metro Band/Metro Big Band
June 17: Des Moines Metro Band/Metro Big Band
June 24: Des Moines Metro Band/Metro Big Band
July 1: Des Moines Metro Band/Metro Big Band
July 8: Des Moines Metro Band/Metro Big Band
July 15: Des Moines Metro Band/Metro Big Band
Now in its 22nd year, this annual downtown Des Moines outdoor concert series is held at the Simon Estes Amphitheater or Brenton Skating Plaza. Tickets prices vary by concert, but children 10 and under accompanied by an adult are FREE. Visit their website for start times and watch their Facebook and Twitter pages for details on if the show is going to be moved due to inclement weather.
May 18: Lake Street Dive with Liz Vice
June 2: Euforquestra with Heatbox, Aaron Kamm & The One Drops
June 15: The Prince Experience
June 16: The Nadas
June 16: The Lacs with Crucifix, Hard Target, Nate Kenyon
June 18: Summerland Tour 2018 Starring Everclear, Marcy Playground and Local H
June 20: Social Distortion with Aaron Lee Tasjan, Jade Jackson
July 7: Cody Johnson with Randall King
July 10: Gin Blossoms
July 27: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels & The Pork Tornadoes With Very Special Guest: Pianopalooza
September 2: Shakey Graves: The Tour X9 World Tour with Twin Peaks
Rendezvous on Riverview (ROR) is a local concert series happening every Friday night in June and July. Admission is FREE and concessions are available, including adult beverages. Bring your lawn chairs and join your neighbors for a great time each week! Hours are 5:30 to 9:00(ish) pm.
June 1: Brother Tucker
June 8: Standing Hampton
June 15: Dick Danger
June 22: Fahrenheit
June 29: Backstage Boogie Band
July 6: Stark Raving Madge
July 13: Sons Of Gladys Kravitz
July 20: Final Mix
July 27: Devil’s Deck
Social Irrigation is a 15-week long program of Thursday night concerts hosted by the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden, featuring a new band, food, craft beer and lawn games each week. Trellis Café will be open with small plates and your favorite beverage. The variety of musical genre in the series will provide something for every musical taste. Regular cost of admission applies.
June 14: Tony Valdez and the Retro Rockets
June 21: Big Time Grain Company
June 28: Parranderos Latin Combo
July 12: Max Wellman with the Annie Booth Trio
July19: NOLA Jazz Band
July 26: The Cerny Brothers
August 2: Christopher the Conquered
August 9: Abbie and the Sawyers
August 16: The Maytags
August 23: The Limestoners +1
August 30: Parranderos Latin Combo
September 6: Damon Doston
September 13: Kevin Burt
September 20: Gina Gedler sings Barbra Streisand
September 27: Fred Gazzo Band
The Summer In the City Free Concert Series is a free event to extend arts and culture activities from downtown Des Moines to underserved communities and to underutilized public facilities, all the while spurring economic activity in the surrounding neighborhoods. The concerts are inclusive, family-friendly events showcasing work from a culturally diverse array of nationally renowned artists of varying genres.
May 12: Blackilicious w/ Louprat; Jessica Manning; and Andre Daxies+Motide at Good Park
June 9: Bad Bad Hats w/ Sires; Honeycreeper and Lily Detaeye at Stewart Park
July 14: Adia Victoria w/ JC Brooks & the Uptown Sounds; and Peas & Carrots at Martin Luther King Park
August 11: The Cactus Blossoms w/ Special Guests at Greenwood Park
Bring lawn chairs or blankets to sit on and enjoy live music, food, drink and fun for all ages at Memorial Park in Indianola. The concerts start at 7:00 pm. Children 14 and younger must be accompanied by an adult. Admission cost is $5. Children 10 and under are FREE.
June 1: Damon Dotson
June 22: Monday Mourners
July 13: Hi-Fi Hangover
Every Sunday from 2:00 to 5:00 pm, wine and music lovers can enjoy some of the best bands in the Midwest in Summerset Winery’s backyard. $5 per person or $15 car load. Rain or shine the music goes on. Weather permitting, the bands will perform outside but on rainy days they bring the music inside. Kids are welcome.
May 13: Mother’s Day: Tony Valdez & Retro Rockets
May 20: Heath Alan Band
May 27: The Sons of Gladys Kravitz
June 3: Tony Valdez & Retro Rockets
June 10: Scotty & The Wingtips -FREE ENTRANCE
June 17: Freestyle
June 24: Riddle Me This
Spend Thursday evenings listening to the sounds of local musicians at the historic Camp Dodge Pool Complex. Bring a lawn chair, picnic basket, sit back and enjoy! Concessions are also available. All concerts start at 7:00 pm.
May 24: Brother Trucker
May 31: The Sons of Gladys Kravitz
June 7: Red Dirt Renegades
June 21: Danika Portz
June 28: Sidewinders, IANG’s 34th Army Band
July 5: Richard Armdt & The Brew
July 12: Abby Normal
July 19: Tony Valdez
The Waukee Arts Council brings FREE music and fun to Waukee for three SATURDAY evenings in July. Join your neighbors in the park at 6:30 pm to listen to live local musicians and participate in family activities. Don’t forget lawn chairs, picnic baskets, and the kids. They will also have a concert on Friday July 13th to kick off the Waukee Arts Festival.
July 21: The DM Project
July 28: The Host Country
August 4: Courtney Krause
West Des Moines
Enjoy FREE live music at the Jordan Creek Town Center Amphitheater on Sunday evenings July 1st through September 2nd from 5:00 – 8:00 pm. Enjoy one of their five lakeside patio restaurants or a beer and wine garden by Wine Experience located next to the amphitheater at this family friendly event.
July 1: Kick Off Celebration (fireworks!) w/ Decoy
July 8: Boomerang
July 15: Tony Valdez Large Band
July 22: Brother Trucker
July 29: Final Mix
August 5: TBD
August 12: Tony Valdez Retro Rockets
August 19: Mason’s Basement
August 26: Gimikk
September 2: (WRITE) Back AT ‘CHA
Music in the Junction is a signature event in Historic Valley Junction. Catch the FREE concerts on Thursday evenings at 5:30 to 8:00 pm. Bring the family and enjoy fun, music and shopping at the farmers’ market.
May 10: Brian Holtz Band
May 17: Bob Dorr and The Limestones
May 24: The Cardinal Sound
May 31: Blacktop
June 7: TBD
June 14: TBD
June 21: TBD
June 28: TBD
July 5: TBD
July 12: TBD
July 19: TBD
July 28: TBD
August 2: TBD
August 9: TBD
August 16: TBD
August 23: TBD
August 30: TBD
September 6: TBD
September 13: TBD
September 20: TBD
September 27: TBD
A Windsor Heights summer tradition, Music in the Park, is a FREE concert series held in Colby Park on Tuesdays at 7:00 pm. Food trucks and local vendors will also be on hand to add to the fun family friendly atmosphere. This year, “Nights in the Heights” will expand the free Tuesday night concerts to 90 minutes with local high school band performances beginning at 6:00 pm. If bad weather is forecasted check the Windsor Heights Foundation website or Facebook page for band updates and cancellation questions.
June 26: Freestyle
July 3: Abby Normal 6:00 – 9:30 p.m. followed by City of Windsor Heights-sponsored Fireworks
July 10: Jason Walsmith
July 17: Tony Valdez
July 24: Randy Burk and the Prisoners
July 31: Brother Trucker
What is your favorite outdoor summer concert series in Des Moines? Have we missed any? Let us know!
Looking for even more summer-time family fun? Check out our Summer Fun Guide to help you plan your perfect summer!