Pella’s new one-day, all-Iowa music festival kicks off Saturday

Pella All Original Music Showcase

Central Park behind Tulip Tower, Pella, Sept. 16, 12-9 p.m., Free

Pella group Sirens and Prophets will anchor the inaugural Pella music showcase. — courtesy of the band

Four months after Tulip Time and less than three months before Kerstmarkt, the Dutch Christmas Market, Pella is hosting a slightly edgier event in their picturesque downtown.

The Pella All Original Music Showcase is a free concert featuring exclusively Iowa-based bands making original rock, electric and alternative music. Bands scheduled to perform at the debut showcase on Sept. 16 include Journey’s End, Jinnouchi Power, Brittany Sword and Jason Charles Button.

Chris Hopkins, the event organizer — who will also be performing with his band Sirens and Prophets — said he created the Pella All Original Music Showcase to focus on bold, indie songwriters and provide them a platform to perform their own music. He also wants to foster an environment that respects and encourages creativity. Hopkins said he pictures the event as a “safe domain” where artists don’t have to worry about compromising their sound.

“It’s really an opportunity for bands who record their own material to have a stage of their own,” said Hopkins. “So often, most venues demand cover music because everybody’s familiar with it. It’s a tough sell for these bands who want to perform their own music.”

The free admission helps set the tone for that inclusive, low-pressure approach.

Hopkins, who has written music since 1985, described his dual-lead singer band as a fusion of “Dream Theater meets Pink Floyd” and progressive rock. Sirens and Prophets’ most recent album, Delineations, is themed around society’s inclination to erect divisive barriers, leading to the detriment of humanity.

Des Moines-based Jinnouchi Power (self-identified as “Dad Power-Pop with a little bit of Mom Rock up in it”) presents a dynamic, unique and psychedelic rock texture to its music, a sound that is fully on display in the song, “Get in the Van.”

Journey’s End is an alternative rock band from Oskaloosa, crafting emotionally resonant lyrics that come alive during night drives with the windows down. This is especially true for the song “Don’t Walk Away.”

Brittany Sword, a solo artist from Oskaloosa, has a rich voice paired with her indie-rock flair, notable in her recent single, “Johnny.”

Jason Charles Button and the Lost Cause hails from Atlantic, Iowa, making acoustic rock that centers Button’s warmly gritty vocals, showcased in his song “Just Look Up.”

The Pella All Original Music Showcase kicks off at noon on Sept. 16 and runs into the evening. To attend, just make your way to the stage behind Tulip Tower in the center of Pella.

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This article was originally published in Little Village’s September 2023 issue.