The Hinterland Music Festival was held on August 4th and 5th for the third year in a row in the small town of St. Charles. The population is 618 (according to a 2016 census) and is located just 30 miles south of Des Moines. The festival is known for its indie, folky vibe and family-friendly good time.
I love all things music and events, so when I found out about Hinterland, I knew I wanted to sign up to be a volunteer. The only way these types of festivals run, and run smoothly for that matter, is because of all the work that goes on behind the scenes. The process to register as a volunteer is a simple one. Using a Des Moines start up company called VolunteerLocal, you’re registered and ready to go within minutes. There was constant communication from the festival front runners and their web page was updated regularly with new and important information.
On their FAQ page, any and all questions can be answered, from camping and tickets to vendors and festival rules. The musical line up includes artist bios and a video from each of the acts, along with their social media accounts. They’ve done a great job gathering information and showcasing highlights from past festivals.
In any event that includes hundreds or thousands of participants, there are bound to be hiccups and a series of trial and error, especially with a relatively new and growing event like Hinterland. From my experience, everything seemed to run smoothly (except for one porta potty that had surely seen better days). There were plenty of local vendors, great food, exceptional artists and good vibes all around. The beautiful thing about that “Iowa nice” is that we have a sense of connection alongside respect of boundaries. This is the only music festival I’ve ever been to where people have politely gathered alongside one another on blankets and chairs in the grass on a naturally formed amphitheater.
It is so exciting to have an event like this in our own Iowa backyard. My hope for Hinterland is that it continues to grow and expand at a steady pace while remaining close-knit and somewhat under the radar. I hope it inspires other festivals and events like it across the Midwest and sheds some light on what it means to be an Iowan to those outside our borders.
There’s always a hand to help and a good time to be had, walking in a Hinter-wonder-land!