Mission Creek Celebrates Its Tenth Year

The Mission Creek Festival logo

The Mission Creek Festival logo

Sophia Schlesinger, Video Editor

As the snow melts and Iowa City shakes off another cruel, midwestern winter, there’s a change in atmosphere. Everyone returns to the community, people walk and bike, and everyone awaits the summer weather. This season ushers in an annual Iowa City tradition, one that has been a celebrated success for many years now.

Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival is celebrating it’s tenth year. Since it’s pilot in 2005, Mission Creek has utilised Iowa City’s local venues– including the Englert, the Blue Moose, the Yacht Club, and many others– to showcase music, literature, lecture, film, food, and education.

Headlining in music this year include: Real Estate, Freddie Gibbs, Father John Misty, Sidewalk Chalk, Foxygen, and Shovels & Ropes. Literary performances will include: Eula Biss, Kiese Laymon, and Lorrie Moore. Mission Creek is also hosting stand-up comedian Cameron Esposito this year, who was described by Jay Leno as, “The future of comedy.”

The festival annually brings in many locals, as well as people from outside of the community, according to the festival’s marketing director, Jen Knights.

“Not only people who have moved away from Iowa City and come back to town for Mission Creek–but also music lovers who enjoy the intimate festival experience that we can offer,” said Knights. “Anecdotally, we know we have festivalgoers coming this year from nearby–like Chicago, Omaha, St. Louis, Madison, Milwaukee, and Detroit–as well as far-flung attendees coming in from California, New York, and North Carolina.”

The spread of this festival during it’s 10 years in Iowa City is an impressive feat in itself, but even finding its way to our community was an entirely other accomplishment. Mission Creek actually began in San Francisco by Jeff Ray, who wanted to represent more experimental and underground artists to compliment an existing festival, Noisepop, which featured more well-known and mainstream music. The festival found it’s way to Iowa City through Andre Perry, a friend of Ray. Perry moved to Iowa City in 2005, and quickly discovered the local music scene, organizing the first ever Iowa City Mission Creek Music and Arts Festival.

Having been around for a decade now, the festival has grown to include more diverse kinds of performances, including those in technology and education.

“It’s the second year of our Innovation Conference,” Knights said, “which in its first year focused on technology, but now is a two-track conference (with some elements overlapping) highlighting technology and entrepreneurship.”

This year, the Innovation Conference includes Jad Abumrad from the NPR Radiolab show, who will be doing a multimedia presentation about the creative process. Mission Creek has also evolved in terms of its more artistic performances.

“This year we have also expanded our Visual Arts component, with artist installations in various venues all week long–and in several cases we are pairing up an artist with an author and/or a musician for ‘Mission Boutique’ events,” Knights said.

This kind of innovation is characteristic of this festival, which focuses on finding new ways to construct performances.

“We continue to look for ways to explore how different art forms overlap and interact,” Knights said.

For lineup information and more, check out: http://www.missionfreak.com/