Mike Utley, 33, is a board member for the Des Moines Music Coalition and the owner of Americana, 1312 Locust St.
Q: How did you get involved with the DMMC?
I’ve known Justin (Schoen, DMMC president) and Amedeo (Rossi, DMMC project manager) for quite a long time, having worked with them in other volunteer organizations. It’s something I had been wanting to do for a long time, but I didn’t have time because I was running the Court District Association for so long. Once I opened Americana I thought I finally had time to get involved, and 80/35 was in our neighborhood.
Q: What would you like to see the DMMC accomplish?
I think the concepts of the festivals (80/35, GDP, Little Big Fest) are really good, but I would like to see more creative ideas put into them and hopefully more support. One of the biggest things I’d like to see — which is already happening with the addition of more venues — is having more local bands open for nationally known acts and larger Midwestern acts that end up coming through.
Q: How important was it to you to have music at Americana?
I think it’s a natural fit. The way it’s set up definitely lends itself to that type of atmosphere. We’re kind of one of those gray area venues. We’re not a strictly live music venue; we’re a restaurant at the same time.