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Hinterland 2020: The Lineup & What to Take Away

Parker Reed // @reedcommaparker // February 11, 2020
Hinterland 2019 was HOT.

Hinterland, Iowa’s signature country/folk/alternative festival, is returning for its sixth year in 2020 for another weekend of good tunes, good vibes, camping, and plenty of beer.

Of Monsters and Men (folk/pop), Tyler Childers (country/bluegrass), and Leon Bridges (soul/R&B) top the 2020 lineup, with support from genre favorites such as Old Crow Medicine Show and Tanya Tucker, as well as newcomers like Mt. Joy, Wallows and Orville Peck.

With a record-breaking year in 2019, Hinterland is certainly poised to recreate that magic in St. Charles with a diverse collection of both new and returning artists. Check out the full lineup here.

Here’s what you should take away from today’s lineup announcement:

History Repeats Itself

Hinterland is going into its sixth year. It officially has a legacy. It can officially call back to the Hinterlands of ol’ and it's doing so in two major ways.

1) Old Crow Medicine Show, who headlined the inaugural year in 2015, is returning in a supporting role.

“It is difficult,” said Sam Summers, owner of Hinterland Music Festival and Wooly’s. “I think that just goes to show how the festival has grown … If I were to bring Edward Sharpe [2015’s Friday headliner] back, it would be in a similar place. I don’t think it says anything necessarily about Old Crow, and more about our headliners are on another level now.”

2) Tyler Childers is graduating from undercard to headliner in just two years.

That’s a rapid rise for an artist, going from the second-to-last line in 2018 to being compared to acts such as Brandi Carlile, Willie Nelson and Alt-J, just to name a few.

Summers is confident in the decision.

“I start putting in offers around August … and at that time I was like ‘Is Tyler gonna be a headliner?’ In my gut I knew he was going to, but I think it was still uncertain and he wasn’t getting those kinds of looks yet,” Summers said. “And now the conversation  when I tell people that Tyler is headlining [is like], ‘Well yeah, he’s the biggest thing in the world.’ Thank god I locked him in.”

Dave Keuning at Hinterland 2019.

Iceland Takes Over St. Charles

Two of the highest-billed acts in 2020 hail from the Nordic island of Iceland. The aforementioned Of Monsters and Men will headline Friday night, while blues-rock band KALEO will be the penultimate act on Saturday before Tyler Childers.

“What I looked at with [Of Monsters and Men] … they [had] never really played Iowa,” Summers said. “What’s kind of funny is that we have two Icelandic bands, which are arguably two of the biggest Icelandic bands … I think if we had Bjork on the lineup we’d have the three biggest. That just randomly happened.”

Hinterland Isn’t Going Anywhere

Since its inception, Hinterland has been known among its fans to be extremely efficient, reliable, and transparent, which is something Summers takes pride in.

“What we obsess over behind-the-scenes [is] customer service stuff,” Summers said. “Making sure it’s the best festival. Transparency has always been a big one for me from year one … As long as I know the answer, I’m typically giving it to people. There’s no secrets.”

And fans can keep leaning on Hinterland to be there to fill their summer music desires.

“This year I just re-upped a long-term contract down [in St. Charles],” Summers said. “I have options for the next ten years to do it down there, which is pretty exciting.”

To hear our full interview with Sam Summers, subscribe to Pretty Fort Interviews wherever you listen to podcasts.

2020’s Hinterland Music Festival will take place Friday, July 31st through Sunday, August 2nd.

Tickets and camping passes go on sale Friday, February 14th at 10:00 a.m. Tickets can be purchased at hinterlandiowa.com.

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