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Memorial Day Weekend preview: Catch Bret Michaels, Toby Keith, and more

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A big Memorial Day Weekend of music is ahead of us here in Central Iowa. With the kick-offs of Nitefall on the River, Smokin' in the Junction, and the Tree Town Music Festival, plus shows from Bret Michaels and Future, music fans will be driving all over the state this weekend to catch their favorite acts. Here is a preview of some of the top shows to catch if you are planning your weekend.

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Tonight, many Central Iowans will be heading up north after work for the kickoff of Iowa's biggest country music festival, the Tree Town Music Festival in Forest City. The three-day festival will feature camping, pre- and post-show parties, food and merch vendors, and live performances from the likes of Toby Keith, Brad Paisley, Pleasant Hill native Sarah Darling, Chris Young, American Idol winner Scotty McCreery, and a host of others. Tickets run from $95 to $175, and may be purchased through the festival website or at the gate. Here is a look at the schedule of performers for the 2014 Tree Town Music Festival:

Friday, May 23
6 p.m.: Hali Hicks
7:45 p.m.: The Last Ride
9:45 p.m.: Megan Ellis
Midnight: David Ray

Saturday, May 24
1 p.m.: Leah Turner
2 p.m.: Brad Paisley
4 p.m.: J.T. Hodges
5:30 p.m.: Charlie Worsham
7 p.m.: Brantley Gilbert
8:45 p.m.: Scotty McCreery

Sunday, May 25
12:40 p.m.: Big Medicine
1:30 p.m.: The Last Ride
2:45 p.m.: Sarah Darling
4 p.m.: Tyler Farr
5:30 p.m.: David Nail
7 p.m.: Chris Young
9 p.m.: Toby Keith

The Sixth Annual Smokin' in the Junction BBQ contest will take place in West Des Moines' Historic Valley Junction on Saturday and Sunday. The contest will feature some of the Midwest's top barbecue teams competing for $13,000 in prizes, and there will also be barbecue and other food vendors, a beverage garden, a game truck, kid's activities, and live music. The event will take place at the south end of 5th Street, and admission is free. Here is a look at the schedule of musical acts for the 2014 Smokin' in the Junction event:

Saturday, May 24
Noon: Rob Lumbard & Matt Woods
2:30 p.m.: Malcolm Wells
5:30 p.m.: Sumpin’ Doo
8 p.m.: The Blue Band

Sunday, May 25
Noon: Comfort Zone
3 p.m.: Boomerang
6 p.m.: Decoy

Bret Michaels brings his Life Rocks 2014 tour to Terrible's Lakeside Casino in Osceola on Saturday for a 7:30 p.m. concert. The Poison frontman has released a number of solo albums, as well, including the chart-topping 2010 release Custom Built. Michael's latest album, Jammin' with Friends, came last June, and he released a new, non-album single entitled "A Beautiful Soul" earlier this year. Tickets for the 21+ performance are $25 to $35.

The other big event of the weekend is the kick-off of the 2014 Nitefall on the River summer concert series. On Saturday, Blue October will take the Simon Estes Amphitheater stage, with local opener Jordan Mayland. Blue October was discovered by Kid Rock's manager back in the mid-nineties, and the Texas-based modern rockers have gone on to tally three Top 5 Rock and Alternative albums, a platinum-selling album, and the platinum-selling singles "Hate Me" and "Into the Ocean". The band released a new album entitled Sway and a new EP entitled Debris last August. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $20 to $25 through Ticketfly.

Here is a look at the rest of the weekend's top area shows:

Friday, May 23

Sarah Darling (Des Moines-born country singer)
Java Joe's in Des Moines
7 p.m., All Ages (Tix: $20)

Dopapod (New York-based funk rock)
with SP3
Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines
9 p.m., 21+ (Cover: $10)

Bob Pace & The Dangerous Band (Des Moines blues rock)
Gas Lamp in Des Moines
4:30 p.m., 21+ (Cover: $5)

Ryne Doughty and the River Rats (Des Moines-based folk rock)
with Pat Bump and Josh Davis
Gas Lamp in Des Moines
9 p.m., 21+ (Cover: $5)

Liana (Ames-based shoegaze rock)
with Electric Jury
DG's Tap House in Ames
9 p.m., 21+ (free)

Winterland (Iowa City-based Grateful Dead tribute)
Wooly's in Des Moines
9 p.m., 21+ (free)

Saturday, May 24

Future (Atlanta rapper)
with Que and Rico Love
Val Air Ballroom in West Des Moines
8 p.m., All Ages (Tix: $25)

Cult Leader (Salt Lake City-based metal)
with Omens and MedPen
Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines
6:30 p.m., All Ages (Cover: $7)

Krank Daddies (Chicago-based psychobilly/punk)
with Rumble Seat Riot
Gas Lamp in Des Moines
9 p.m., 21+ (Cover: $8)

Camp Euforia Battle of the Bands
with Cirrus Minor, Come Unity, SP3, and Sound Pressure Levels
Wooly's in Des Moines
7 p.m., All Ages ($5)

Sunday, May 25

Danielle Peck (North Carolina-based country)
Lakeside Casino Outdoor Theater in Osceola
7:30 p.m., 21+ (Tix: $10-$20)

Foxholes (Des Moines-based indie rock)
with Verskotzi, Satellite State, and In Rooms
Vaudeville Mews in Des Moines
8 p.m., 21+ (Cover: $5)

Coles Whalen (Denver-based pop/folk)
Ritual Cafe in Des Moines
7 p.m., All Ages (free)

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