Even though a lot of the outdoor music concerts in Des Moines are geared more to adults, there are lots of venues where families can enjoy some tunes, too. At these wonderful alfresco events—most of which take place in parks and public areas—families can pack a picnic, stake out a spot, lay down a blanket and soak up some culture. Don’t worry if the kids aren’t totally into it; sit along the perimeter and let them run around, dance and play and they’ll be happy.
While a few of the concert series like Nitefall on the River and Social Irrigation charge admission many of the outdoor concerts on this list are FREE to attend!
We’ve rounded up DSM’s best outdoor summer concerts and highlighted the events we think will be of particular interest to families. You can find even more family fun in our jam-packed Calendar and Summer Fun Guide.
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 FREE Outdoor Summer Concert series. Held on Friday nights from 7:00 to 10:00 pm these concerts are family friendly events.
May 31: Freedom Project
June 7: Chad Elliott
June 21: Brother Trucker
July 5: Back Stage Boogie Band
July 19: Opus Taylor
July 26: Jimmy Buffet Night with Brick n’ Bob
August 9: Abby Normal
August 23: Boomerang
Ankeny’s Summer Sounds Concert Series is held on Sunday nights in the ‘Shell in Wagner Park. Live music runs from 6:00 to 7:30 pm. The concerts are FREE and open to the public; bring lawn chairs and blankets for seating.
June 23: Jake Gill
June 30: Gimikk
July 21: Ankeny Community Band and Chorus
July 28: Oreo Meatwagon
The outdoor stage in Haines Park will host FREE concerts under the stars this summer season. Enjoy live music on Sundays starting at 6:00 pm. Bring picnics and a blanket and kids can roam, play and dance in the park as they listen.
June 30: TBD
July 28: TBD
August 25: TBD
September 29: TBD at 3:00 pm!
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 31: TBD
June 21: TBD
July 26: TBD
August 30: TBD
Unwind after a long week at Food Truck Friday! Jump on the Greenbelt Trail and make your way to Campbell Park to enjoy FREE music, food, and fun. Bring the whole family — the park has three playgrounds and green space.
May 10: Damon Dotson
May 17: Dick Danger Band
May 24: Brian Congdon
May 31: Royce Johns
June 7: Brad Seidenfeld
June 14: Tony Bohnenkamp
The Belin Quartet is celebrating their 20th season this summer! All concerts in the series are on Fridays and begin at 12:15 pm and are FREE and open to the public.
May 31: Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden
June 7: Central Library Lawn
June 14: Central Library Lawn
June 21: Central Library Lawn
June 28: Cowles Commons
July 5: Killinger Family Stage @ Lauridsen Amphitheater, Water Works Park Cultural Series concert
July 12: Killinger Family Stage @ Lauridsen Amphitheater, Water Works Park Cultural Series concert
July 19: Central Library Lawn Children’s Concert at 10:30 am
July 26: Principal Financial Group Campus
August 2: Killinger Family Stage @ Lauridsen Amphitheater, Water Works Park Cultural Series concert
Join Jasper Winery every Thursday this summer from 6:00 to 9:00 pm for FREE live music on the lawn. Bring blankets and lawn chairs for outside seating. Burgers and brats will be available from the grill. No pets are allowed but kids are welcome. All shows outside, weather permitting, otherwise in the outdoor party tent.
May 9: Adé & The Soul Brothers
May 16: Brian Herrin Band
May 23: Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
May 30: Decoy
June 6: Damon Dotson MUSIC
June 13: The Maytags
June 20: The Nadas
June 27: B2wins
July 11: Dueling Guitars feat. Brian Congdon and Brad Seidenfeld
July 18: PIANOPALOOZA
July 25: Dazy Head Mazy
August 1: Final Mix Show Band
In its 73rd 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 9: Des Moines Metro Band/Metro Big Band
June 16: Des Moines Metro Band/Metro Big Band
June 23: Des Moines Metro Band/Metro Big Band
June 30: TBD
July 7: Des Moines Metro Band/Metro Big Band
July 14: TBD
Now in its 23rd year, this annual downtown Des Moines outdoor concert series is held at the Simon Estes Amphitheater or Brenton Skating Plaza. Ticket prices vary by concert, but children 10 and under accompanied by a ticketed adult are FREE. Additional concerts may be added.
May 10: The Prince Experience
May 24: Arch Allies
May 31: The Nadas
June 1: Eufórquestra with Cory Wong, Public Property
June 25: Lake Street Dive
July 2: Fitz & The Tantrums
July 11: Eli Young Band
August 8: Turnpike Troubadours
August 12: John Butler Trio+
August 23: The Pork Tornadoes & Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Rendezvous on Riverview is a local concert series 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 7: Soul Searchers
June 14: Stutterin’ Jimmy and the Goosebumps
June 21: Sons of Gladys Kravitz
June 28: James Beihn:
July 5: Stark Raving Madge
July 12: Standing Hampton
July 19: Final Mix:
July 26: Fahrenheit
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 kids’ activities each week. The variety of musical genre in the series will provide something for every musical taste. Activities start at 5:00 pm, regular cost of admission applies.
June 13: Tony Valdez and the Retro Rockets
June 20: Diplomats of Solid Sound (performance will include album release)
June 27: Parranderos Latin Combo
July 11: NOLA Jazz Band
July 18: Chad Elliott
July 25: Gina Gedler Quartet
August 1: The Center State
August 8: Java Jews
August 15: The Maytags
August 22: Moors and McCumber
August 29: Parrenderos Latin Combo
September 5: Dustin Smith
September 12: Kevin Burt
September 19: Victor and Penny
September 26: Max Wellman sings the music of Cole Porter
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 25: The Well Pennies and Lily DeTaey at Greenwood Park
June 22: Boulevards and EleanorGrace at Drake Park
July 27: Blacklilac and AndreDavis + Motide at Martin Luther King Jr Park
August 24: iZALLi and Torino Black at Stewart Square 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 7: Red Dirt Renegade
June 28: Train Wreck
July 12: The Ripp Chords
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 (but you’ll feel like you’re on vacation!). $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 5: Patresa Hartman & Steph Graham
May 11: (Saturday) Pale Blue Erf (6:00-9:00 pm)
May 12: Tony Valdez & The Retro Rockets
May 19: Hot Tamale & the Red Hots
May 26: Sons of Gladys Kravitz
June 1: (Saturday) Johnny Novicane Duo (6:00-9:00 pm)
June 2: Feel Right Band
June 9: Royce Johns Lincoln Rock House
June 16: Infuzion Band
June 23: Abby Normal
June 30: Get Off My Lawn
July 7: The Sons of Gladys Kravitz
July 14: Freestyle
July 21: TBD
July 28: TBD
August 4: Heath Alan Band
August 11: Mill St. Band & Teacher Appreciation Day
August 18: Music Infuzion
August 25: Tony Valdez Large Band
September 1: The Son’s of Gladys Kravitz
September 8: Tony Valdez Duo
September 15: Freestyle
September 22: Jimmy the Weasel sponsored by Central Iowa Blues Society
September 29: TBD
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. (Note there will be NO concert on June 13th.)
May 23: Cloud Ten featuring Heath Alan
May 30: The Candymakers
June 6: Gladys Kravitz
June 20: Dirt Renegade
June 27: The 34th Army Band’s Sidewinders group will play pop and classic rock
July 11: Faculty Lounge
July 18: Abby Normal
The Waukee Arts Council brings FREE music and fun to Waukee for three Friday evenings in July. Join your neighbors in the park to listen to live local musicians and participate in family activities. Don’t forget lawn chairs, picnic baskets, and the kids. New this year: they will have beer by Rolling Taps and Food by Gusto Pizza!
July 12: The Brazilian 2wins 8:00 to 10:00 pm
July 19: Surf Zombies 6:00 to 8:30 pm
July 26: English 6:00 to 8:30 pm
West Des Moines
Enjoy FREE live music at this family friendly event at Jordan Creek Town Center. Gather at the Amphitheater on Sunday evenings July 1st through September 1st from 5:00 – 8:00 pm.
Dates and Bands TBD
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, music starts at 6:00 pm. Bring the family and enjoy fun, music and shopping at the farmers’ market.
May 2: The Rockets
May 9: Bob Dorr
May 16: Steve E. George & The Groove
May 23: Jimmy The Weasel
May 30: Backstage Boogie Band
June 6: The Punching Pandas
June 13: Randy Burk & The Prisoners
June 20: Jana West & The Retrospect
June 27: Final Mix
July 4: Toaster
July 11: Audio Curve
July 18: Sons Of Gladys Kravitz
July 25: Stark Raving Madge
August 1: Birdchild
August 8: Abby Normal
August 15: Brother Trucker
August 22: Boomerang
August 29: Riddle Me This
September 5: Bob Pace & The Dangerous Band
September 12: Shock Collar
September 19: Red Dirt Renegade
September 26: Gimikk
Did we miss your favorite outdoor summer concert series in Des Moines? Let us know and we’ll add it to the list!