The Science of Things: Uncertainty Fest 2019 kicks off on Thursday

The scientific process relies on experimentation to push beyond the limits of human knowledge and into the unknown. The organizers of this weekend’s Uncertainty Festival hope live music can perform a similar function.

The 2019 Uncertainty Festival includes nine events at three venues on Main Street in Ames beginning on Thursday and extending into Sunday. Each showcase features a different twist on a scientific theme, and attendees will be able to take in a sweeping range of musical styles. A “universal festival pass,” available through MIDWESTIX, costs $20.

uncertainty2019posterSingle-show passes are available as well, but you’ll get the most out of Uncertainty if you make an effort to take in some acts you haven’t heard before, said festival organizer Rachel Dudley.

“I hope that people go and have an opportunity to see musicians they ordinarily wouldn’t have checked out and get their minds blown,” Rachel Dudley said.

Rachel and her husband, Bryon, have spearheaded Uncertainty since the festival began in 2017. Rachel and Bryon described themselves as “nerds” who thought a science-themed music festival sounded like fun. Accordingly, each show associated with this year’s festival comes with name like “Cosmic Expansion,” “Planetary Motion” or “Particle.”

The names suggest an experimental quality to the festival, as if Bryon and Rachel are gathering data and testing their own theories on the periodic table of rock ‘n’ roll.

This year’s festival has grown considerably larger than the previous two iterations. Last year’s festival hosted three showcases, while this year’s festival will feature nine events, including a meet and greet for musicians and fans on Sunday afternoon. The expansion resulted from Bryon and Rachel working on last September’s Maximum Ames Music Festival and gaining confidence in their ability to organize a larger event, they said.

Uncertainty Festival doubles as a spotlight for acts that have released music on Nova Labs, the independent record label that Bryon and Rachel run out of their house. Nova Labs has helped dozens of Iowa musicians release music and find a larger audience, and Bryon said he takes that responsibility seriously. That means he makes sure everything about Uncertainty Festival, from the acts to the venues, reflects positively on Nova Labs.

“If this is something I’m going to put the Nova Labs name on, I want it to be something that I believe in very strongly,” he said.

That approach carries over to the all-local list of festival sponsors, including London Underground, Prints Copy Center, Smiles Food Carts, Alluvial Brewing Company and the Tom Russel Piano Service.

And once it’s over, Rachel and Bryon will head back to the lab again with a fresh set of data to analyze and new hypotheses to test.

Uncertainty Festival 2019 programming

April 18

Hypothesis: Piano
7 p.m., London Underground
Elizabeth Zimmerman, Holly Figueroa,
 Evelyn Davis &
 Lizzy Poppyseed

April 19

Particle Showcase
8 p.m., DG’s Tap House
, Matt Woods, Ducharme-Jones Band, Brother Trucker

Cosmic Expansion
8:30 p.m., The Angry Irishmen (formerly Deano’s 119)
Obsidian’s Dream
, Moonrabbit & 
Other Brothers

Hypothesis: Beat
7 p.m., London Underground
SLICE the Celestial Sorcerer & 

April 20

Wave Showcase
1 p.m., DG’s Tap House
Free The Snakes
, Bleujack, 
Fred Love & 
Dylan Boyle

Hypothesis: Dance
7 p.m., London Underground
Pink Kodiak
 & DJ Saturn Savant (aka Austin Robert)

Light Showcase
8 p.m., DG’s Tap House
Bitter Canyon
, Pink Neighbor
, Wiitch Tiit & 
Linear Symmetry

Planetary Motion
8:30 p.m., The Angry Irishmen
Great Caesar’s Goat, 
Mountain Eats Mountain
, Kickstart The Sun & Electric Jury

April 21

Hypothesis: Interaction (musician meet and greet)
1 p.m., London Underground
Starlight Therapy
, Tom and Will (Tom Russell and Will Pett), 
DJ Strooya (aka Zee Krizhan)


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