Just one hour North of the Quad Cities outside of Maquoketa, Iowa, sits Codfish Hollow Barn, one of the coolest live music venues around. Tucked back in the rolling hills of Iowa farmland, it is a bit tricky to find, but there are signs to guide you along the way.
Upon arrival, attendees park in the big open field where they are invited to camp for the night. Just down the road, after a quick hayrack ride is the barn where the musicians perform and the old farmhouse that has been converted into an art gallery.
The first show was held here in 2009 and since then the popularity of the place has taken off, shows often selling out weeks or even months beforehand. Sean Moeller, co-owner of Daytrotter, has been working with the owners of the barn to get great, local and indie artists to perform and has been pulling in some impressive names: Counting Crows, Norah Jones, Dawes, and, most recently, Delta Spirit, just to name a few who artists who have played there before. Check out the list of past performances here.
Shows there are reasonably priced, typically $20-25, showcasing several bands that play sets that are unique to the venue. The shows start around 7pm and go until 11:30 or so and oftentimes are on non-weekend evenings; the next two shows are held on a Wednesday and a Sunday. This gives a little bit flexibility for out-of-towners, 9-5er’s, and those with children, whom are welcome at Codfish too, and kids under 6 get in for free.
Underneath the stage, in the lower level of the barn is a new addition to Codfish this year, a bar selling Midwest craft beers. There is also a food truck and various local vendors selling their crafty wares.
Codfish Hollow is a fun, unique way to experience the Midwest and the music that it produces, as well as a fantastic way to spend an evening. The Codfish Hollow Barnstormer Facebook page is the best way to stay up-to-date on upcoming shows, and there you can find links there on where to buy tickets. You can also sign up for their email list to get updates sent directly to you. Their musical season lasts through to October so you have plenty of time to find a show for you.