Nitefall on the River hits the Simon Estes Riverfront Amphitheater

From singing mummies to a past American Idol contestant, the 2011 Nitefall on the River series has music for just about everyone. From the beginning of May until the end of July a wide range of different acts will perform as a part of Nitefall on the River, a yearly concert series at the Simon Estes Riverfront Amphitheater. Nitefall on the River provides concertgoers a relaxing evening along the river, a beautiful backdrop of the Des Moines skyline and an array of talented musicians.

After going to a few different Nitefall on the River concerts last year, I’ve learned a few things about attending the shows. Here are my tips for maximizing your concert experience:

  1. Before getting to the show, check out the musical acts website, download a few of their songs and get to know the band – you’ll feel more connected and you might even find yourself humming along to the beats or requesting your favorite song.
  2. While there aren’t many “bad spots” at the Amphitheater, I’d go early and stake your claim on a nice spot. Whether you’re rocking a lawn chair or a blanket, you’ll want to have your options open.
  3. It can get pretty hot at the concerts before the sun goes down and a little chilly after the sun sets, so make sure that you wear layers and pack a sweatshirt, just in case. Bonus tip: If you’re going to enjoy an ice-cold beverage at the show pack a koozie too!
  4. Food and beverages are available at the show. Food options include: BBQ, Hot Dogs, Gyros/Pita from $3 – $6 each and beverages include: Fat Tire, Skinny Dip, Ranger, Coors Light, Mikes Hard Lemonade ($5 each) and water, Pepsi products for $2 each. Cash and major credit cards can be used to buy concert tickets at the door and drink tickets, but you’ll have to bring cash to purchase food.
  5. Even though children 10 and under are free with a paid adult, that doesn’t mean that you should invite all of the children you know. Last year I (unfortunately) sat next to a clan of small children – it didn’t seem like a good time for either the parents or the children.
  6. To save some time and a few bucks order your tickets in advance by visiting or by calling (515) 244-2771. If you want to wait until the day of the show you can still purchase tickets at the door with cash or credit card.
  7. If it happens to rain the day of the show, don’t worry because there are two different rain locations available – People’s Court and the Val Air Ballroom. Check the Des Moines Register’s website and the Nitefall on the River Facebook page for these updates.
  8. Make sure you follow @nitefalldsm on Twitter and like Nitefall on the River on Facebook to get the most up-to-date information and the inside scoop on free ticket giveaways.

Take advantage of the nice weather, bring a lawn chair, blankets, bug spray, sunglasses, some cash and enjoy the 2011 Nitefall on the River concert line-up:

  • Wednesday, May 4 – Slightly Stoopid w/ The Meat Puppets
  • Thursday, May 5 – Here Come the Mummies w/ Shelly Fairchild
  • Friday, June 3 – Hairball (Doors at 7PM)
  • Thursday, June 9 – Big Head Todd w/ Toots & Maytals
  • Monday, June 20 – Natasha Bedingfield w/ Kate Voegele & Andy Grammer
  • Thursday, June 23 – Christina Perri – (Tickets on Sale: 5/6 @ 10am)
  • Friday, June 24 – The Nadas
  • Thursday, June 30 – Toad the Wet Sprocket
  • Friday, July 1 – Umphrey’s McGee (Doors at 7PM)
  • Wednesday, July 6 – Matisyahu w/ The Wailers
  • Friday, July 8 – Yonder Mountain String Band (Doors at 7:30PM)
  • Thursday, July 7 – Gin Blossoms
  • Thursday, July 21 – Lee DeWyze
  • Thursday, July 28 – Keller Williams


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  1. Jann Miller

    please add me to your email list that tells who performs at the outdoor concert series this summer at Simon Estes theater.
    thank you

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