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PRESS RELEASE: Mission Creek Festival announces 2018 lineup


Featuring: Built to Spill / Wye Oak / Jamila Woods (Reading + Performance) / Carrie Brownstein + Roxane Gay + Amber Tamblyn (In Conversation) / Julien Baker / Lidia Yuknavitch / Quinta Brunson and Friends / Margaret Glaspy / Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith / Algiers / Cakes Da Killa / Laurel Halo (Live + DJ Set) / Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib Xylouris White / Deb Olin Unferth / The Weepies/ Horse Lords / S. Carey / ONO / Alex Zhang Hungtai / Horse Feathers / Current Joys / Gordi /Kundiman / Lambda Literary / VIDA

IOWA CITY, IA – We are proud to announce that Mission Creek Festival will return to Iowa City April 3 – 8, 2018 for its 13th year, produced by The Englert Theatre. Join us for a week of performance, literature, and community-minded programming across downtown, stretching south to Big Grove Brewery & Taproom and north to Hancher. Full week passes for all six days of events will be available for $150, and — new this year — festivalgoers can purchase a weekend pass ($75 for access to events Friday through Sunday). Individual tickets to select shows will become available in January 2018. The lineup will be released and passes will go on sale simultaneously this Friday, December 8 at 12:30 p.m. CT.

The lineup reflects Mission Creek’s commitment to exploring and showcasing live performance, the literary arts, and radical community happenings.

Headlining this year’s festival are Carrie Brownstein + Roxane Gay + Amber Tamblyn (In Conversation) at The Englert Theatre. All proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Girls Rock! Iowa City, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering creativity and self-esteem in young girls and trans-identified youth through musical instruction and expression. This event is co-presented by local literary speaking agency, The Tuesday Agency.

Mission Creek’s 2018 musical programming boasts a characteristically diverse range of artists and groups, weaving into the week many fast-rising and genre-defining artists across indie rock, singer-songwriters, electronic and experimental music, rap, and spoken word.

A feast for indie rock fans, this year’s music program will include Built to Spill, who have been at the forefront of the genre for more than twenty years; rising singer-songwriter Julien Baker, known for a confessional style landing her on multiple “best album” lists since her surprise debut album in 2015; and returning festival favorite Margaret Glaspy, who performed with Andrew Bird and Bridget Kearney at Mission Creek in 2017. Mission Creek will partner with University of Iowa student group SCOPE Productions to present soul singer-songwriter and poet Jamila Woods (performance and reading) and dream-pop duo Wye Oak.

In 2018, Mission Creek Festival will also feature avant-garde composer and master of the Buchla synthesizer Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, who paints “warm, absorbing and gorgeous” music ( Rolling Stone ); groundbreaking gay rapper Cakes Da Killa ; Atlanta post-punk/gospel/blues outfit Algiers ; World-music party band Xylouris White featuring Cretan lutist Giorgos Xylouris and Australian drummer Jim White (founder of chamber-rock band Dirty Three); and Bon Iver member S. Carey. The lineup will also have deep Iowa representation, including Iowa City-based, nationally-known indie pop outfit The Weepies, performing at Mission Creek for the first time; Extravision (Des Moines), Squirrel Flower (Grinnell), Sister Wife (Rock Island), Paul Cary, Purcha$e, Collidescope, Peanut Ricky & The Fiends, Elizabeth Moen, Jack Lion, Younger, and Hot Tang (all Iowa City). Comedian Quinta Brunson will perform with a roster of comics,comedian/satirist Bassem Youssef, who will perform, and Chef Dave Wieseneck (formerly Motley Cow Café) will return to prepare a special meal on the opening night of the festival (details forthcoming).

This year’s literary programming will be led by best-selling essayist Roxane Gay ( Bad Feminist, Difficult Women, Hunger); Carrie Brownstein, who chronicled her life in riot grrrl band Sleater-Kinney in the memoir Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl ; poet Amber Tamblyn. Friday and Saturday’s literary programming will now reside under Litscape , which includes the Lit Walk (formerly Lit Crawl), a book fair hosting independent writers and presses, ICE CREAM comics and zine fair, and readings and conversations. 2018’s Saturday keynote reading (sponsored by The Iowa Review) will present Lidia Yuknavitch, whose lyric memoir The Chronology of Water gained an online cult following; poet and singer-songwriter Jamila Woods, and poet/essayist/culture critic Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib ( They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us ,The Crown Ain’t Worth Much ). Additional readings from Iowa Nonfiction Writing Program graduates Sarah Viren, Lina Maria Ferreira Cabeza-Venegas, and Sandra Allen; and many more.

On Saturday, April 7, the festival will offer a series of free, daytime community events, including its Art + Life + Tech (ALT) speaker series, a book fair featuring literary magazines and small independent presses, the ICE CREAM comics and zine fair, a free rock show at Big Grove Brewery & Taproom, and other community happenings taking place downtown.

Festival Dates:
April 3 – 8, 2018

Pass & Ticket Information: 

Festival passes will be available for purchase beginning Friday, December 8 at 12:30 p.m. CST, online at or at the Englert Theatre Box Office. Individual tickets to select events will go on sale in January 2018.

Full Week Pass – $150
Our usual full week pass, granting access to all Mission Creek Festival ticketed performances (music, comedy). Entrance to ticketed events at The Englert Theatre and Hancher is guaranteed at all times. Entrance to other venues is subject to capacity. Special programs like culinary events are not included in the festival pass and require the purchase of additional tickets.

Weekend Pass – $75 (NEW THIS YEAR)
Introducing the weekend pass, friendly to folks with busy schedules or those traveling from afar. The weekend pass grants access to Mission Creek Festival ticketed performances (music, comedy) Friday through Sunday, subject to capacity at all venues. Special programs like culinary events are not included in either festival pass and require the purchase of additional tickets.

Confirmed Lineup Includes:
Performance – Music
Built to Spill
Wye Oak
Jamila Woods (Reading + Performance)
Julien Baker
Margaret Glaspy
Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
Cakes Da Killa
Laurel Halo (Live + DJ Set)
Xylouris White
The Weepies
Horse Lords
S. Carey
Alex Zhang Hungtai
Horse Feathers
Current Joys
Paul Cary
Squirrel Flower
Peanut Ricky & The Fiends
Hot Tang

Jack Lion
Mission: Beat
Sister Wife
Dana T
Elizabeth Moen

Performance – Comedy
Quinta Brunson and Friend

Bassem Youssef

Roxane Gay + Carrie Brownstein + Amber Tamblyn (In Conversation)
Lidia Yuknavitch
Jamila Woods
Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib
Deb Olin Unferth
Sarah Viren
Lina Maria Ferreira Cabeza-Venegas
Sandra Allen
Jesus Carrasco
Lyz Lenz
Brandon Taylor
Stephen Ira
Hafizah Geter
William Johnson
Cathy Linh Che
Helene Achanzar
Melody Gee
Lambda Literary
The Believer
The Rumpus
Dorothy, a publishing project
Forklift, Ohio: A Journal of Poetry, Cooking, & Light Industrial Safety
The Iowa ReviewTwo Dollar Radio

Iowa Youth Writing Project

Rescue Press

Title Sponsor:
University of Iowa Community Credit Union

Little Village

General Festival Sponsors:
City of Iowa City
SCOPE Productions
Iowa City Downtown District
The Tuesday Agency
Iowa House Hotel
Big Grove Brewery
Iowa Public Radio

Event-Specific Sponsors:

The Tuesday Agency (Carrie Brownstein + Roxane Gay + Amber Tamblyn [In Conversation])
SCOPE Productions (Jamila Woods, Wye Oak)
The Iowa Review (keynote reading with Lidia Yuknavitch, Jamila Woods, and Hanif

Grant Support:
Iowa City/Coralville Area Convention & Visitors Bureau

About Mission Creek Festival:

Mission Creek is dedicated to delivering a riveting 6-day artistic experience for our community that builds on the cultural geography and capital of downtown Iowa City. Programming focuses on music performances, literary readings, film screenings, public lectures, local food culture, and educational outreach. Nestled in the heart of downtown Iowa City, with most venues within a five minute walk of each other, Mission Creek thrives on intimacy and cross-medium experiences, turning music lovers on to new literature, writers on to new music, and expanding
appreciation of arts, community, and culture. Our focus is on quality, independent-minded sounds, words, and events. We are keen on emerging artists and embrace renegade spirits who have been around for years. Intimacy is integral to the Mission Creek experience: Our smallest festival venue fits 30 people and our largest holds 1800; but most rooms are in the 200-300 capacity range, allowing for visceral connections between artists and audience. The festival is presented and produced by The Englert Theatre, Iowa City’s 105-year-old historic
performing arts space.