the 4th of July

Hope you had a very happy 4th of July weekend!

If you've seen me around lately, or are my friend on Facebook or Twitter, you know I've been blabbing on and on about the 80/35 festival (July 3-4) in downtown Des Moines.

So you know how we spent our weekend!

We were very excited for two days of concerts and you really can't find a better way to spend the 4th. And with such a diverse lineup, it was easy to stay entertained. Even rain couldn't keep us away.

So we happily spent our weekend with several bands that we love. First up (at least for us) was Tilly and the Wall – possibly my favorite band out of the lineup on Friday.

They mixed it up ...

... did a little dancing (I was totally surprised by the super amplified tap shoes that sounded more like drums) and sang a lot of my favorites. They were just a blast to watch.

Word to my girls from Omaha. I want to listen to them all day now. (photo cred for these photos...mine sucked.)

Then, we witnessed a stellar set from Matisyahu. Which we had to take a little break from because of the rain. It was definitely amazing to see him live, though.

And for the Public Enemy show that evening, we made Lo a 'fight the power' shirt. Which caught a few people's attention. Two dudes from P.E.'s crew spotted us and we chatted for a bit and ended up with a little bag of CDs and swag.

Wow, what a show. And a rekindled admiration for Chuck D. He had no problem rattling off specific geographical info about Iowa and the names of all of our major universities. He said you're never in the middle of nowhere; everywhere is somewhere. And as an Iowan, who honestly grew up in the middle of nowhere, I appreciated what he had to say.

(again, giving photo cred for photos above...mine sucked. it was dark and rainy.)

Chuck D also gave Iowa a thumbs-up for our role in the Presidential election process. You have to respect a legendary band like Public Enemy for their ability to interject politics into music and making their message stick. Through the years, some things have changed but their voice is still a powerful one. It was rad to see them in person.

Then on to day two. G Love and the Special Sauce.

We've seen them many times before but the love is still strong.

G Love is just an amazing entertainer; he gives it his all each and every time.

Everyone knows that summer isn't summer without 'cold beverage' and 'baby's got sauce.'

And we were totally digging the super-fly new upright bass player.

But the best part? We totally got to meet G after the show. (Swoon.)

Super, super nice guy. He signed the CD that Lo is holding. Our camera kind of got crazy at this point, resulting in these not so perfect pics – bummer! But we were so stoked to finally see this guy. So, so cool.

We also got to spend time with one of our favorite families on earth – Brady, Angie and Koen made the trip down from Minneapolis to hang with us. It's been too long; we love these guys so much. Brady and Angie are like our married twins ... it's just non-stop conversation and laughs and music talk.

The kids had a blast entertaining us with their dance skills – mostly Koen, who really rocked out. Later on, they both relaxed a bit on the blanket but they were such great sports. Both kids made it through the fireworks at the very end of the night.

These cute girls ran the gyro stand that kept us fed. It's the same one I went to in campus town at ISU, so it's sort of comfort food to me. So delicious.

(photo cred)
The last big act of the festival was Ben Harper and the Relentless7. He mostly sang songs off the new album, which was fine by me, since I've been listening to it non-stop in my car for a couple of months.

Definite favorites of mine were "Keep it Together," "Number with no Name," "Up to You Now," and "Fly one Time." (You can and should hear them here.) He also covered David Bowie/Queen's 'Under Pressure.' Rad.

Thoroughly enjoyed every minute, and loved what the Relentless7 brought to the show.

Super fun to watch and what a great ending to our weekend. Followed by the fireworks of course.

Anyway, I know I just devoted a whole lot of my words to the fun we had over the weekend. But aside from the parades, BBQs, music, fireworks and concerts, it's good to take time to appreciate the people who fight for our freedom. For our families, and their families. The soldiers who fought years ago (like my dad) and who still fight today. Show a little love for this country we live in and the soldiers who protect it. And don't lose sight of the world events going on around you.

And I know that you know this, but we really are so lucky to enjoy all of the freedoms that we have. Hope you had a great weekend!


  1. what an awesome weekend you had! I love l's shirt, i knew that one would be a winner! I love chuck too, he was a for sure innovator!

  2. a little bit of jealousy going on over here because you saw tilly and the wall. . . but only a little bit. ha!
    glad you had a good weekend.

  3. awwww awesome pics and killer lineup!

  4. Oooooh what fun! I love looking at your pics, specially now that I "know" you for real. ;) And I'm like, hey, it's Jen! :D

  5. awww...wish I could have gone!!! Lotus looks so cute!! What a cool line-up!! I haven't done a 2 day concert like that in forever!
    I'm supposed to be packing and cleaning now...
    Miss you-

  6. Geez. I am so jealous of you weeing(hahahahaha. I meant.. SEEING...) Tilly and the Wall.

    Actually I'm jealous of everything.

    Looks amazing!

  7. WOW! What a great weekend you had and awesome pics! Great line up, I think I am a tad bit envious!

  8. Great pics, yours and theirs! Love love love the ISU Gyro stand!! Yummy! Lo looks like she had a great time at the fest!

  9. It looks like you had a mighty fine time Jen:) Great lineup they had at this show. Wish I couldve have been there:( We will have to catch a concert together in the future, I am sure we would have a blast.

  10. That was awesome! I feel like I was there with you, it is so cold and blahh here in Australia, I want summer...and festivals...and Ben Harper...hehe.

  11. Awesome pictures!!! It is such a perfect picture for a beautiful weekend. Nice post!!!


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