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Iowa’s largest two-day dance party, 515 Alive, is set to invade Des Moines this August for what organizers hope is the festival’s biggest weekend yet.

Leading the lineup for the 15th annual edition of the Des Moines-based electronic and hip-hop festival is DJ and producer Excision, rapper Gucci Mane and “future funk” artist GRiZ. The bill also includes national acts Hopsin, Mijia and Nghtmare. Between 80 to 100 acts are scheduled to perform across five stages during the two-day event, said festival director Dan Green. 515 Alive is set to take place Aug. 18 and 19 at Water Works Park.

A second round of national and regional acts is set to be announced in the coming weeks, Green said.

“I think anniversaries are big celebrations, generally,” Green said. “We knew we wanted to go really big this year and we knew our 15th anniversary was a good excuse to do that.”


Meet the headliners

Heading up the electronic talent at 515 Alive, bass-driven DJ Excision hails from British Columbia, Canada. Having a live show described by leading electronic publication YourEDM as having an “unbelievably high-octane level of energy,” 515 Alive marks Excision’s first Des Moines appearance. The dubstep and drum and bass producer released his latest studio album, “Virus,” last October on Rottun Records. The release debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard top dance and electronic records.

515 Alive locks in rap hitmaker Gucci Mane for the 2017 hip-hop headliner after delivering performances from Machine Gun Kelly and Waka Flocka Flame in previous years. Known for tracks such as “Both,” “Lemonade” and “Back On Road,” Gucci Mane released his 10th and latest studio full-length album, “The Return of East Atlanta Santa.”  According to tweets from the rapper, his 11th studio album, “DropTopWizop,” is set to drop in the near future. Gucci Mane previously performed in Des Moines at Seven Flags Events Center on Aug. 4, 2012.  

Rounding out this summer’s headliners, GRiZ is set to appear in Des Moines fresh off scheduled appearances as leading electronic festivals Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas and Spring Awakening in Chicago. Mixing elements of soul and jazz into his production, GRiZ is self-described as a future funk artist. His latest studio album, “Good Will Prevail,” dropped in 2016.

More: Iowa State Fair reveals final two Grandstand headliners


Migrating south

515 Alive invades Water Works Park this summer after spending three years downtown at Western Gateway Park. The move, director Dan Green explained, fits the growth of the event. Green anticipates 10,000 to 12,000 a day this year, up from the previous attendance high of an estimated 8,000 a day set last summer.

Along with the new location comes an opportunity for festival-goers to camp overnight, a first for 515 Alive.

“We knew that our plans exceeded Western Gateway; we did almost 85-percent capacity last year,” Green told the Register last month. “We had all these ideas for this new year, and (no downtown locations) were feasible.”

In previous years, Water Works Park, located just southwest of downtown, was home to annual music events such as Lazerfest and Big Country Bash. Wet ground played a major factor in past cancellations and re-locations, including the last-minute move by Hinterland Music Festival from Water Works to Avenue of the Saints Amphitheater in 2015.

515 Alive stages, which are built into the ground before the event, can handle adverse terrain better than mobile stages brought in on semi trucks, Green said.

“The concerns should be minimal,” Green said. “The chances of it being flooded then are super unlikely.

A 24-hour sale for $64.50 two-day passes to 515 Alive started Tuesday; ticket prices are expected to increase Wednesday. Camping passes start at $49.50 and a two-day parking pass for the festival costs $15. More information on the lineup, festival passes and camping packages can be found at 515alive.com.

More: Hinterland Music Festival unveils set times, single day ticket options