Iowa Soul Festival
Downtown Pedestrian Mall — Friday-Saturday, Aug. 4-5
The final festival of the Summer of the Arts’ 2017 season kicks off this Friday, Aug. 4 at 6 p.m. on the Ped Mall. The youngest of Iowa City’s three major summer offerings, the Iowa Soul Festival may be only four years old, but its ramped up schedule of events and top-notch music line-up have it rivaling its older siblings already.
Friday evening features the return of last year’s first-time fashion show, All Black Er’Thing 2. It’s produced by Born Leaders United, and features seasonal fashions not just from that label, but from Freshboi, Urban Greed Clothing and more. James da Barber hosts.
Following the show, Shade of Blue, the first of the festival’s musical acts, takes the main stage.
Two Saturday morning panel discussions celebrate and examine black work. Bridge Building to Black Wealth, a panel on black entrepreneurship, will convene at 10 a.m. at MERGE. At 11 a.m., Prairie Lights hosts the Black Authors Panel, featuring Glenance Green (Shades of Green), Dr. Lena Hill (Invisible Hawkeyes) and Dr. Deborah E. Whaley (Black Women in Sequence).
The music starts at 4 p.m. on the Main Stage with Des Moines rapper MarKaus, who had a stellar 2016, earning a spot on the Iowa Music Project compilation and organizing hip hop music festival Fresh Fest. He’s followed at 6 p.m. by Chicago’s TL Williams and the Storm Chasers. At 8 p.m., headliners Sidewalk Chalk take the stage.
The action on the Main Stage is interspersed with shows at the Youth Pop-up Stage, a new addition this year, located outside Yotopia. A back-to-school fashion show, spoken word performers, youth rappers and more will be featured.
A full festival schedule is available at the Summer of the Arts website.