I have two things to say to you!
One - Don't be such a wimp! Most shows featuring local bands are only five dollars!
And two - There are a lot of places to check out local bands live for FREE!!
As I am writing this in my hometown of Des Moines, our arts festival - which featured 3 stages of music filled mostly by Iowa artists - was two weekends ago. Our town's annual Jazz in July - featuring local and national acts - is just beginning. And this weekend is 80/35 - featuring four stages with local and regional artists.
And you know what else is in common about these three besides the fact that they feature Iowa artists and bands? They're FREE! (Yes, 80/35 is not free, but those two stages are!)
I did a cursory look around Iowa on the internet to see what free festivals featuring local artists I could find. I put the ones I found below, but I'm sure I could find plenty more if I wanted to make the time.
It seems many towns and wineries have a free music series, where they have a local band play once a week for FREE. Also, many towns have local bands play at their town's festivals, again for FREE!
And to help you, below is a list of all the free music festivals and music series in Iowa that I found in my not very deep search! I'm sure you could find more and one near you if you don't see anything nearby on this list! So get out there and discover a band you're dying to see again!
The festival and series with free music that feature Iowa artists and bands (that I could find):
Roosevelt Summer Sundays Concerts
Maximum Ames Music Festival - certain events
Cedar Basin Jazz Festival
Live to 9
Sturgis Falls Celebration
Celtic Festival and Highland Games
Friday Live at 5
River Roots Live's Junior Jam Stage
80/35 Music Festival's Kum & Go Stage, Nationwide Stage, Generation Z Stage, and IPR Stage
Des Moines Arts Festival
Jasper Winery Summer Concert Series
Jazz in July
Music in the Junction
World Food and Music Festival
Zenith Chamber Music Festival
Music in the Gardens
Soldier Creek Winery's Sunday Vineyard Vibrations
Friday Night Concert Series
Mission Creek Festival - certain shows are free
Marion by Moonlight
Rockbrook Village Friday Night Concerts
Saturday in the Park's Abe Stage