515 Alive

Pack up your RV and head to Des Moines for the 515 Alive Music Festival, the largest event of its kind in the state of Iowa.

Event information

515 Alive Music Festival is a music and camping festival that takes place in Des Moines, Iowa over a period of two days. The Water Works Park in Des Moines, Iowa serves as the venue for the event. It is centrally located and boasts some great views, making it an ideal location for the performances and camping.

The music featured at the festival is mostly EDM, although a few hip hop artists also perform. Multiple stages are set up all over the venue, which host performances from over 100 different acts. A unique feature of the festival is the “Thunderdome” stage, where DJs perform back-to-back sets in collaboration with each other.

Since its inception in 2002, the festival has grown in strength and is now the largest event of its kind in the state of Iowa. Over 25,000 people attended the 515 Alive Music Festival in 2017. About 13,000 fans flock to the venue on each day of the event.

Artists who have performed at 515 Alive Music Festival in the past include Cashmere Cat, Space Jesus, Champagne Drip, Bassnectar, Future, RL Grime, and Space Laces. Over the years the festival has grown and become an iconic symbol of the country’s electronic music scene.


515 Alive general admission, standard VIP, and premium VIP tickets go on sale a few months before the event. There are special early bird prices for guests to buy their passes in advance. Ticket prices range from $80 (general admission early bird passes) to $350 (premium VIP passes).

Each pass will give access to music performances on both days of the event. Tickets for GA and premiere camping can be purchased in advance as well. Camping passes, and festival wristbands can be redeemed at the box office. Check out the official event website for updated information on tickets and pricing.

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RVs and RV-style vehicles will not be allowed to park at the 515 Alive festival grounds. So you’ll need to land at your chosen campsite before heading to the festival. A new underpass has recently been built near the Water Works park which makes it easier to access the area. Driving a car to the festival venue is allowed.

Parking areas

Parking a vehicle within the campground facilities is not an option, but vehicle parking is available nearby. Passes for these spots are reasonably priced and can be purchased online in advance. You also have the option to buy a parking pass at the venue, but these are available on a first-come, first-serve basis and does not include RV parking.

Public Transportation

Another way to get to the festival venue is by using public transportation. You can reach Water Works Park by bus. Bus services are provided by the Des Moines Regional Transit Authority throughout the metro area. There are a few lines that have stops close to the park. Check the official website for more information on routes.

Where to stay


While overnight camping in tents is possible on the festival grounds, camping in an RV is not an option. So you’ll want to choose from a campground or RV park nearby 515 Alive.


You find some great, fully equipped campgrounds in and around Des Moines. They often come with facilities like electrical, sewer, and water hookups, pool access, and free WiFi. Local RV parks tend to fill up quickly on weekends. So be sure to book a spot at your chosen campsite in advance.

Getting around

Motorcycles, ATVs, golf carts, and other personal motorized vehicles will not be allowed on the festival grounds, so you’ll need to get around on foot. The venue is ADA accessible, and an area will be designated near the main stage for patrons with a need. Special assistance will be provided for guests with mobility disabilities.

What to pack


515 Alive will be teaming with people dressed in vibrant colors, tie-dye, and bright prints. You can opt to stay comfortable in shorts and a t-shirt or go all out by wearing an elaborate costume. Many attendees choose to stand out by dressing in eye-catching rave attire.


Some essentials to carry with you are sunscreen, hand sanitizer, bug spray, gum, a beach blanket, and a portable charger. Point and shoot cameras without extended lenses will be allowed. Make sure you take an empty refillable bottle or hydration pack to stay hydrated. Glass bottles or containers will not be permitted.

Health & Safety

Performances take place outdoors, so come prepared for all weather conditions including rain and heat. It’s a good idea to toss rain gear into your RV in case rains shows in the sky. Make sure you drink plenty of water or electrolytes to stay hydrated. For simplicity, be aware of information points, exits, and first aid stations are located on the grounds.

Where to eat


No cooking will be allowed using open flames like campfires at the 515 Alive venue. RV campgrounds nearby will allow you to cook on the stove associated with your RV, but may have certain restrictions when it comes to open fires. Make sure to check what’s permitted at your location in advance. Bring food with you to Des Moines or stop by one of the local supermarkets and pick up your favorites for your campsite.


Des Moines has some excellent restaurants where you can sample flavors from all over the world. In recent years, the city’s food scene has been elevated to new heights. Whether you’re in the mood to splurge on some fine dining or grab some fast food on the go, you have plenty of options to choose from in Central Iowa.


You’ll find all kinds of delicious food at 515 Alive ranging from burgers and pizzas to gourmet delights. New vendors applications are accepted every year to provide a wide variety of food to festival-goers. Alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be sold at two bars located on the grounds as well as by roaming vendors.



There will be round the clock security on site at 515 Alive. Security personnel will be present at the entrances, and bag checks can be expected. Make sure you’re not carrying any prohibited items as these will be confiscated. A full list of banned items is available on the website. Patrons are requested to leave their valuables at home or secure them in their vehicles.


Since you're likely to spend much of your time outdoors, it would be a good idea to come prepared for inclement weather. Bring protective rain gear and a jacket in case it gets cold. If adverse weather conditions do occur, instructions and information will be posted on the festival website and social media accounts.


Paramedics and EMTs will be present at 515 Alive to help with emergency situations. If you or someone you know requires assistance, you can contact the nearest staff member. There will also be a designated ADA area near the main stage for patrons with disabilities. Hospital and pharmacy locations are situated less than a ten-minute drive from the event site.