Music At the main stage for a past 515 Alive. Juice file photo.

At the main stage for a past 515 Alive. Juice file photo.

Out with the old, in with the new: 515 Alive reboots for new decade

Published on July 29th, 2013 | by Joe Lawler

The 515 Alive festival has made a few changes over the years. It began in 2003 under the guidance of Richard McCabe, finding its groove with a street party feel. In 2010 Brad Goldman took over focused on more of a festival experience with intense light shows and special effects.

Earlier this year Dan Green, who DJs under the name Subliminal Chaos, and Rajan Devan, who spins as DJ Raj, took over the festival. On Saturday the event returns to the East Village for 515 Alive 3.0.

“We’re bringing some bands in, and over the last three years there hasn’t been a lot of hip hop, so we’re bringing that back,” said Green, 25. “We want to try to catch people from every angle and appeal to people with the full range of urban arts, not just electronic music.”

That includes acts like dub hop DJ Protohype, Lil Jon’s sidekicks The East Side Boyz, “Ghetotech” innovator DJ Godfather, dubstep DJ JPhelpz and Minneapolis remixer Leon J. Also performing will be local DJs like Matt Rissi, Gorilla Stomp Squad and Jade Reed, local rappers Maxilla Blue and Gadema and bands Holy White Hounds and Lesson7. In total more than 75 acts will perform.

This year 515 Alive will have eight stages — four outdoors and four indoors — compared to five last year. The main stage will be located in the parking lot behind Wooly’s, similar to the set up for Pridefest in June. Green felt that would help centralize the party in one spot. Wooly’s, The Underground and Lime Lounge will all have indoor stages, and House of Bricks will have a free indoor stage, since it is located outside of the festival grounds. There will also be outdoor stages set up near Locust Tap, Miyabi 9 and outside Lime Lounge.

In 2009 515 Alive faced resistance the first time it was held in the East Village. Green said things went more smoothly in the planning for this year.

“We’re definitely being considerate of all the businesses, as well as residential,” Green said. “It took jumping through a few hoops.”

Green wants to capitalize on the decade of history 515 Alive has behind it, and keep things going smoothly heading into decade two.

“I just hope we keep the fest going in the right direction,” Green said. “I love that it’s a big Des Moines even that everyone comes out for, but I would like it to become a more regionally and eventually nationally known thing like 80/35 is becoming. I hope we can keep getting bigger acts while maintaining the focus on urban arts and music.”

Here are some photos from last year:

515 Alive

When: 2 p.m.-2 a.m.

Where: East Village

Cost: $15 in advance, $20 at the door (general admission), $30 (VIP)

Info: or

Here are the 515 Alive stage locations*:

View 515 Alive Stage Locations in a larger map

504 E Locust St
Des Moines, Iowa 50309

The Underground
500 E. Locoust
Des Moines, Iowa 50309

Lime Lounge
435 E Grand Ave
Des Moines, Iowa 50309

The House of Bricks
525 E Grand Ave
Des Moines, Iowa 50309


*The Locust Tap (not listed on Google map)
434 E Locust St
Des Moines, Iowa 50311

Miyabi 9
512 E Grand Ave
Des Moines, Iowa 50309

About the Author

Joe Lawler covers music and more for Juice Magazine. E-mail him at or follow his updates on Twitter @JoeLawler

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