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Mission Creek festival to take over downtown

BY LILY ABROMEIT | MARCH 30, 2015 5:00 AM

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Literature, art, music, food, and film will come together this week to take over downtown Iowa City venues for the 10th-consecutive year.

Mission Creek Festival, which will be located in a variety of locations, focuses on literary readings, public lectures, local food, music and comedic performances, and educational outreach.

“I think what’s really amazing about Mission Creek is that it takes an area like the Downtown District and uses so many different venues,” said Nancy Bird, the executive director of the Iowa City Downtown District. “I think what makes it special is that Mission Creek just integrates into the fabric of downtown in a way that really creates an authentic feel to a festival.”

The minds behind the Mission Creek Festival have had nine years to perfect an authentic feel.

“I think we’re just lucky to be able to do a 10th festival,” Festival Director Andre Perry said. “Our philosophy was to just keep growing … to see if we could keep putting together a great festival.”

Perry said the growing Iowa City and University of Iowa community have played a role in maintaining the festival.

“I think this festival has grown with the Iowa City cultural scene,” he said. “I think everything’s just kind of been growing, and I think the festival is just a part of that story … and I think the audience for such events and organizations has grown as well.”

This year, while the festival will continue to present literature, art, music, and food, there has been a new dedication to visual arts programming. Film will be featured through installations throughout the week, including several showings at FilmScene, 115 E. College St.

Bird said she is happy to see the festival growing, because it creates more opportunities for intimate interactions and allows people to connect at a personal level.

“I know that it’s not their first priority to grow the festival, but personally I am excited that it is growing,” she said. “It brings more people to see these spaces, [and] it’s an intimate festival as well.”

Bird said she thinks the growth and additions in the 10th year will attract a larger audience.

“Maybe it’s just the feeling that more and more people are recognizing this event and this festival … it’s becoming more familiar in the landscape,” she said. “The brand of Mission Creek is growing, and that’s really good, it puts Iowa City on the map.”

Jen Knights, the Mission Creek marketing director, said the people there expect to see approximately 10,000 people in attendance over the week, a number similar to last year’s.

Welcoming around 10,000 people is what Perry said he expects as well.

“We’ve been hitting that for the last few years so that seems to be the sweet spot we’re in right now,” he said. “Our biggest audience is certainly from Johnson and Linn Counties. On the weekend, we get a lot of folks coming in from Iowa … we also do get people filing in from other parts of the country.”

Erin McMeen, the front house and events manager for the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., said this recognition for Iowa City is one thing she appreciates from the festival.

“It’s amazing how big of a festival we can get … I think it’s just really, really good for the community,” she said. “We absolutely we need it; it’s such a great showcase.”

Bringing the different venues, from food to literature to music, is also a benefit, she said.

“It’s good for all of the people who work in those places, too, to come together and kind of rally instead of competing,” McMeen said.


Mission Creek schedule of events

Mission Creek Festival, which is located in a variety of local venues in Iowa City, focuses on literary readings, public lectures, local food, music and comedic performances, and educational outreach. The festival runs from Tuesday to April 5.

Follow The Daily Iowan for live coverage during the week.

Tuesday
• Iowa Screendance Festival, FilmScene, 6:30 p.m., tickets $10
• Glenn Kotche & Jeffrey Zeigler, Englert, 7 p.m., tickets $10

Wednesday
• Michael Morse reading, Prairie Lights, 6 p.m., free
• Cameron Esposito, Englert, 7 p.m., general admission tickets $20

Thursday
• Kerry Howley reading, Prairie Lights, 6 p.m., free
• First Kiss performance art, Old Capitol Town Center, 7 p.m., free
• Jeff Chang reading, Mill, 7 p.m., free
• Real Estate, Englert, 8 p.m., general admission tickets $20

Friday
• Lit Crawl, numerous locations, 5 p.m., free
• SQÜRL Live Film Score, FilmScene, 7 p.m., sold out
• Shovels & Rope, Englert, 8 p.m., general admission tickets $20

Saturday
• Innovation Conference, hotelVetro, 9 a.m., ticket prices vary
• Indie Presses Book Fair, Mill, 11 a.m., free
• Eula Biss reading, Prairie Lights, noon, free
• What a Load of Craft, Blue Moose, noon, free
• Jad Abumrad, Englert, 8 p.m., general admission tickets $30

April 5
• Father John Misty, Englert, 7 p.m., sold out


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