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Fam Jam - Justin Roberts & The Not Ready for Naptime Players

July 22, 2018 Cowles Commons

Join us for this free family-friendly event at Cowles Commons!

This is one of three Fam Jam Events at Cowles Commons this summer. This Fam Jam event will feature:

  • Children’s Pop Band on Stage: Justin Roberts and the Not Ready For Naptime Players
  • Arts Making & Activity Stations with community partners
  • Bounce Houses
  • Food Trucks

Three-time GRAMMY Nominated Justin Roberts is truly one of the all-stars of the indie family music scene. For nearly 20 years, Roberts has been crafting songs for kids and parents that navigate the joys and sorrows of growing up. Along with his band, The Not Ready for Naptime Players, they have travelled the globe, from Hong Kong to New York, and Miami to Seattle.

Lemonade is Justin's 13th album for families and it contains 12 new original songs. It's the musical equivalent of an impromptu Lemonade stand popping up in the summer heat. Featuring dynamic performances by Chicago superstars Robbie Fulks on lead acoustic guitar and banjo, Gerald Dowd on cardboard boxes, paint cans, salt shakers, and other homemade percussion, and John Abbey on upright bass, Lemonade is like no other Justin Roberts recording. The sparse sounds are dotted with ukulele, piano, cello, fiddle, marimba, harpsichord, and lovely harmonies by Nora O’Connor (Neko Case, Decemberists), Anna Jacobson, Robbie Fulks, Liam Davis, and Gerald Dowd.

Roberts began his music career in the 90s, performing in the Minneapolis-based indie-folk band Pimentos for Gus. He took a day job as a Montessori preschool teacher and it wasn't long before Justin began writing and singing songs for a new generation of fans: his students. The kids immediately responded and inspired Justin to record some of his new songs and send them out to a few friends for Christmas. One of the gift recipients was Liam Davis, a college pal and music producer, who suggested that they record the songs professionally.

In 1997, Justin released his first CD, Great Big Sun, and the critics took note. Justin's music was soon being compared to everyone from Elvis Costello and Fountains of Wayne to Paul Simon and Nick Lowe. So Justin hit the road full time doing what he loves most: playing music for appreciative crowds. Kiddie mosh pits broke out, word spread and shows started selling out. 

Justin has performed in front of millions of people on The Today Show, he's been featured on Nick Jr. TV, and his song "Get Me Some Glasses" was featured on a World Series broadcast. He’s received three GRAMMY nominations, for Jungle Gym in 2011, Recess in 2013, and Lemonade in 2018.

Recent appearances include performances at NYC's New Victory Theater, DC's Wolf Trap, LA's Getty Museum, Lollapalooza, Austin City Limits, and Chicago's Ravinia.

In addition to his 13 albums, in 2014 Justin wrote and recorded the cast album for his first musical. Based on Hansel & Gretel, the show debuted to rave reviews on Broadway in Chicago with the Emerald City Theatre and toured the country in 2017 with the LA based Valley Performing Arts Center. Roberts is also the proud author of two picture books released by Putnam, The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade and The Great Henry Hopendower, with two more books on the way.

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Event Details

Running Time 4 hours
Venue Cowles Commons
1-5 PM
Free and Open to the Public.

More Fam Jam Events!

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August 19, 2018 Learn More

Fam Jam - The Okee Dokee Brothers

September 16, 2018 Learn More

Mission Moment

You Make The Difference

“The dollar ticket price [for the Applause Series shows] is unbelievable. Without it, we would't be able to come. The people who support this program need to be applauded because it gives kids great opportunities.”
- Lynn, Holy Trinity Catholic School

Learn More
Des Moines Performing Arts Partnerships: