Hinterland cancels 2020 festival, but plans to bring headliners back next summer

Maggie Rogers performs at the 2019 Hinterland Music Festival in St. Charles, Iowa. — Sophie McClatchey/Little Village

After three days of rousing, high-profile performances from the likes of Hozier, Kacey Musgraves and Brandi Carlile in 2019, the Hinterland Music Festival had momentum going into their sixth-annual fest. Then COVID-19 happened.

Like the organizers of Mission Creek Festival, Iowa City Jazz Fest, Camp Euforia and dozens of other Iowa concert events before them, the organizers of Hinterland — an Americana music and camping festival held in St. Charles, Iowa, just outside of Des Moines — have decided to cancel for 2020, but plan on “coming back bigger and better than ever” next year.

Hinterland festival-goers relax between sets at the 2019 festival in St. Charles, Iowa. — Sophie McClatchey/Little Village

“Almost all of this year’s lineup is still in for 2021 — including headliners Leon Bridges, Of Monsters and Men, and Tyler Childers,” Hinterland announced in a press release Thursday. “Plus, we are making Friday a full day, which will include some exciting additions.”

In addition to the artists listed, the 2020 lineup also included Old Crow Medicine Show, Yola, Tanya Tucker and Kaleo. (Each year, Hinterland brings one up-and-coming Iowa band or artist to the mainstage. Last year, that was Elizabeth Moen; Cedar Falls-based Hex Girls was slated for 2020.) It is not yet clear if some or all of these artists will also return for the August 6-8, 2021 festival.

Elizabeth Moen performs at Hinterland Music Festival in St. Charles, Iowa. Aug. 4, 2019. — Sophie McClatchey/Little Village

On Tuesday, Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation allowing “outdoor performance venues, such as amphitheaters and grandstands” to reopen for live shows. This would include the Avenue of the Saints Ampitheatre in St. Charles, where Hinterland takes place — but organizers are not convinced it would be safe to carry on.

“While we are hopeful things are moving in the right direction, too much uncertainty remains. Under these conditions, we can’t produce the festival to our standards or to your expectations,” they wrote in their statement.

Tickets and passes purchased for the 2020 festival will automatically carry over to the 2021 fest, but may also be refunded by emailing a request to before July 17, 2020.

The festival is producing limited-edition screen-printed posters and T-shirts to commemorate the forgone 2020 festival, which may be purchased online.

“Please remember to support each other as we all work to make it through this time,” the Hinterland team said. “For now, we will daydream about what it’s going to be like next summer when we stand with all the other music fans fully appreciating the moment like we never have before.”

Brandi Carlile headlines the third day of the 2019 Hinterland Music Festival. — Sophie McClatchey/Little Village