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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Iowa tops charts with popular music festivals, attractions

Thursday, February 7, 2002

The Winter Dance Party rock 'n' roll legacy event in Storm Lake recently was just the start of a hot season of musical events around the state. Check these out!

Blues lovers are in good company in Iowa, where several communities host blues events throughout the year. One of the largest is the Mississippi Valley Blues Festival in Davenport, held July 5-7, 2002. Here are some other blues events planned for 2002:

* Winter Blues City, Feb. 15-16 - Mason City

* Spring Pub Crawl, April 11 - Davenport

* Fishbone Blues Fest, May 25-26 - Arnolds Park

* KUNI Blues Cruise, June 7 - Dubuque

* Four Mounds Bluesfest , Aug. 10 - Dubuque

* Fifth Annual Stone Pony Blues Festival, Sep. 7 - Sigourney

A cornet player with an unusual name and a revolutionary style made huge contributions to the jazz music world in the 1920s. Bix Beiderbecke, a Davenport native, lived a short, hard life. For the past 30 years fans have paid tribute to his memory and music with a jazz festival on the banks of the Mississippi in Davenport. The 2002 Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Jazz Festival will take place July 18-21. Enjoy more Dixieland music in Clear Lake July 27-28, when the city offers a lakeside celebration with an art show, storytelling festival, and Dixieland jazz concerts.

The leader of '40s swing music, Glenn Miller, was born in Clarinda in 1904. The community holds a popular annual festival in June to celebrate his life and his music. Bands from around the world have performed at the event. The Glenn Miller Birthplace Society has also undertaken the restoration of Miller's boyhood home, which is now open to the public.

Meredith Willson was born in 1902 in Mason City and went on to become a famous bandleader and composer of "The Music Man." Mason City pays tribute to its "Music Man" in many ways, and the newest is the Music Man Square development, which will recreate the flavor of River City with a streetscape based on set designs from the original musical. It will complement the Meredith Willson Boyhood Home, already open for tours. The 64th annual North Iowa Band Festival, May 31-June 2, celebrates the 100th birthday anniversary of Meredith Willson with a parade and three days of free family entertainment to celebrate Willson's music.

Traditional and country musicians draw crowds at events around the state. The Old-Time Country Music Contest, Festival and Pioneer Exposition of Arts and Crafts has been held in Avoca for 27 years and offers acoustic music of all types August 26-September 1, 2002. In Stratford, the annual Bluegrass and Old-Time Country Music Festival takes place July 12-14. A bluegrass festival is also scheduled for July 26-28 in Strawberry Point.

The world-renowned Des Moines Metro Opera kicks off its 30th Anniversary Summer Festival of Opera June 21 and offers three operas on the Simpson College Campus in Indianola. This year's operas are Puccini's "Turandot," Bernstein's "Candide," and Strauss' "Salome."

Enjoy Iowa's balmy summer days by attending an outdoor concert in the park. Among the many communities offering summer concert series are Storm Lake with its classic bandshell and diverse community band, plus Clear Lake, Davenport, Coralville, Williams, Corydon, Marion and Charles City. At Summerset Winery near Indianola, Sunday afternoon concerts offer visitors a chance to hear good music while enjoying tours of the winery and refreshments.

On any day in July, residents and visitors in Des Moines can attend free jazz performances at a variety of locations as part of the annual Jazz in July program. Bring a lawn chair or blanket and enjoy professional musicians presenting all styles of jazz in large and small ensembles.

Editor's note: Learn more about events in Iowa by visiting www.traveliowa.com, or call 800-345-IOWA and request a free Iowa Travel Guide.