The World Food & Music Festival: Everything you need to know

Brian Taylor Carlson | Des Moines Register | 10:46 am CDT September 14, 2018
The delicious butter chicken recipe takes only 10 minutes in an Instant Pot.

Just in case the Iowa State Fair and Restaurant Week weren't enough to fill up your bellies, there's another food event happening this September, Des Moines.

The 14th annual World Food & Music Festival will be held Sept. 14-16 at Western Gateway Park in downtown Des Moines.

Joe Dzehvid cooks up beef and lamb sausage for the Papillon Bosnian food booth at The World Food & Music Festival at the Western Gateway Park Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.
Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register

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More than 50 food vendors representing more than 25 countries and culinary regions will be featured at this award-winning food and music festival. The festival will be open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. the first two days and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sept. 16. 

The award-winning festival celebrates cuisine and entertainment from around the world, including Bosnia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Ethiopia, France, Italy, India, Jamaica, Kenya, the Mediterranean, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, Nepal, the Philippines, South Korea, Thailand and more.

The World Food & Music Festival
Greater Des Moines Partnership/Special to The Register

New vendors in 2018 include:

“On behalf of my colleagues, we are proud to support the World Food & Music Festival,” said Polk County Supervisor Angela Connolly. “Our region has a reputation as a welcoming and inclusive community and this has not happened on accident. This festival is one of many ways we can showcase the diversity that makes Polk County the place that we all love to call home and we are proud to share this home with friends and businesses from around the world.”

Kiyo Matsuyama pounds out a rhythm on a Japanese Taiko drum while performing at the 2013 World Food & Music Festival in Des Moines.
Christopher Gannon/The Register Christopher Gannon/The Register

Take advantage of these frequently updated metro dining guides:

The entertainment

The headline acts for this year's festival are Kat Perkins and the Tony Bohnenkamp All-Star Band

Kat Perkins sings the track "Fearless" for students at Cathedral High School's Holy Angels Performing Arts Center in 2014.
Kimm Anderson,

Perkins, a semifinalist on NBC’s “The Voice,” will perform on the Polk County Board of Supervisors Main Stage on Sept. 14. The singer/songwriter’s first single, “Fearless,” hit number five on the iTunes charts and has had more than 250,000 streams and digital downloads.

The Tony Bohnenkamp All-Star Band will peform Sept. 15, 2018, at the World Food & Music Festival
Merle Laswell/For the Register

Headlining Sept. 15 is the Tony Bohnenkamp All-Star Band. Tony Bohnenkamp is a veteran of countless piano bars, music venues and private functions across the Midwest. His performances are driven by audience requests and participation and draw from his massive and diverse catalog. When he adds his three-piece band to the mix, expect to hear all of these songs at their rocked out best.

In addition to the headliners, the Polk County Board of Supervisors Main Stage will feature:

Micah rider Young Bear, 11, performs the Mesqwaki Pipe Dance during the 2014 World Food & Music Festival in downtown Des Moines.
Christopher Gannon/The Register

More event highlights

New this year:

A variety of volunteer shifts are available throughout the weekend in several different areas as part of The Festival Volunteer Program. To sign up for a volunteer shift or for more information on the World Food & Music Festival, visit

The World Food & Music Festival at the Western Gateway Park Friday, Sept. 15, 2017.
Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Register

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Originally Published 12:32 pm CDT August 20, 2018
Updated 10:46 am CDT September 14, 2018
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