Music City Iowa?
By ANDREW MCGINN
Even just a few years ago, if somebody would have said that in the late summer of 2015, Jefferson would become a hotspot for live music, you probably would have immediately called the LEC to report a crazy vagrant.
But that’s exactly what’s beginning to happen in our fair village.
Between regular concerts planned at the month-old Wild Rose Jefferson casino and a first-of-its-kind bicycle and music festival this weekend at the Greene County Fairgrounds, Jefferson is suddenly in a rare position — music lovers are going to find themselves driving here for a change.
Or at least pedaling here in the case of the Pedaler’s Jamboree on Saturday.
The event could see as many as 2,500 cyclists bike to Jefferson from Mickey’s Irish Pub in Waukee on the Raccoon River Valley Trail.
They’ll camp overnight Saturday at the fairgrounds, where a music festival is planned to get underway at 7 p.m.
Along the way, each town on the trail — except for Jamaica; more on that in a sec — will feature bands at different times.
Come Sunday morning, they’ll pack up and pedal back to Waukee with bands along the way.
Tickets to just the music fest in Jefferson will be available at the gate Saturday for $20; $15 for ages 11-16; free for 10 and younger. Admission includes camping.
Gates at the fairgrounds open at 4 p.m. Saturday.
A Pedaler’s Jamboree has existed in Missouri since 2009. Labor Day weekend marks the debut of the festival’s Iowa incarnation on the RRVT.
Initially, the cyclists and bands were scheduled to set up camp on the Square. Angie Pedersen, tourism and events coordinator at the Greene County Chamber of Commerce, still sees major potential in what could become an annual event.
“It has the potential of being something really awesome,” Pedersen said Tuesday. “It could be a boon for our local businesses, especially anybody that can put a meal together.”
Admittedly, Pedersen doesn’t know what to expect this first year.
“We don’t know if all of them will come uptown or none of them will come uptown,” she said. “It’s a maiden voyage.”
But for local music freaks, Saturday night’s lineup has a hip factor that — for Jefferson at least — is almost foreign. (Just try to keep track of how many guys you see with handlebar mustaches. Or better yet, make a drinking game out of it.)
The music begins at 7 p.m. with Dirtfoot, with a style described as “gypsy punk country grumble boogie.”
That 1 Guy (aka Mike Silverman) is scheduled to perform at 8:15 p.m.
Silverman is probably the coolest one-man band you’ll ever see — his homemade instrument called the Magic Pipe is a weird, Seussian assemblage of metal, strings and electronics. Out of it comes some must-hear electro-funk.
Silverman has in the past collaborated with Buckethead, the bizarro metal guitarist who showed up as a member of Guns N’ Roses 2.0 on the “Chinese Democracy” album in 2008.
The funk band Euforquestra follows That 1 Guy on the fairgrounds stage at 9:45 p.m. The band’s most recent album, “Fire,” was produced by a member of jam-band faves the String Cheese Incident.
Headlining the festival at 11:15 p.m. are the Flood Brothers, a raw, two-man blues-rock act from along the banks of the Mississippi in Missouri.
The duo of guitarist Gabe Meyer and drummer Jacob Best cut their teeth from 2006 to 2010 as members of Kent Burnside and the New Generation, a band featuring R.L. Burnside’s grandson and son (or at least one of his sons; he had 12 kids).
The late R.L. Burnside, who was 78 when he died in 2005, was arguably the last great Mississippi bluesman, although he didn’t find an audience until the 1990s when he started making records for a punk label.
Leading up to the festival in Jefferson, cyclists and music lovers will find music along the way in the trail towns of Dallas Center, Minburn, Perry, Dawson and Cooper.
On the way into Jefferson, cyclists will find the riding smoother than ever thanks to the paving last week of a former gravel crossing at 252nd Street (near the old trestle bridge). The Greene County Conservation Board received a grant for the work from the Greene County Community Foundation.
But in Jamaica, cyclists will be forced to pedal right through town.
For whatever reason, the Jamaica city council in August voted unanimously not to welcome the Pedaler’s Jamboree. (Maybe they were just peeved that the Corn Kings weren’t on the bill.)
But as a rule of thumb, if Jamaica doesn’t like it, it’s got to be good.
Still, if electro-funk and gypsy punk aren’t your thing, there’s always the new casino.
Wild Rose this week announced that the legendary Charlie Daniels Band will play the Greene Room Event Center on Sept. 25.
Tickets, priced starting at $31.50, will go on sale at 10 a.m. Monday. However, a special presale is scheduled for Sunday. Charlie Daniels fans are encouraged to visit the Wild Rose Jefferson Facebook page on Saturday for a special code.
Daniels might be 78, but the man still plays a mean fiddle.
Best known for “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” other notable tunes include “Long Haired Country Boy,” “The South’s Gonna Do It” and “In America” (the latter warning listeners not to mess with Pittsburgh Steelers fans).
What you might not know about Daniels is that before his ’70s Southern-rock heyday, he co-wrote “It Hurts Me” for Elvis, the B-side of 1964’s “Kissin’ Cousins.” Daniels also played on the Bob Dylan album “Nashville Skyline.”
Other upcoming shows at Wild Rose include the Pink Floyd tribute show Think Floyd USA at 8 p.m. Oct. 10; the one and only Oak Ridge Boys at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 7; and country singer Billy Dean at 4 p.m. Dec. 13.
For ticket information, visit http://jefferson.wildroseresorts.com or call 515-386-7777.