Jazz Fest features renowned performers in a weekend jam-packed with entertainment

Iowa City Jazz Festival

downtown Iowa City — July 1–3, 2016

Marquis Hill, Iowa City Jazz Festival
Marquis Hill performs Saturday at Jazz Fest with the Marquis Hill Blacktet — photo via

Fresh off of being named one of the country’s best Jazz Festivals in 2015, the Iowa City Jazz Festival returns this weekend to invade downtown with live music and culture. A key part of Iowa City’s Summer of the Arts, it kicks off this Friday, July 1 at 4 p.m. The festival spans over three blocks downtown and is packed with arts, food and entertainment.

The performances for the weekend are split among four stages: a local stage, a college stage, a youth stage and the main stage. The Iowa City Jazz Festival has been operating since 1991 and the committee this year has again succeeded in bringing top tier talent to our community. John Kenyon, a member of the Jazz Fest Music Selection Committee, says that he considers all acts on the bill a highlight, but there were a few decorated artists in particular that he was excited about.

Vijay Iyer, Iowa City Jazz Festival
Vijay Iyer plays the mainstage of the Iowa City Jazz Festival with his trio on July 2 — photo via

The Vijay Iyer Trio, (Saturday, 7 p.m., main stage) features New York native and Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Vijay Iyer who had a great year in 2015. Last year Iyer was named DownBeat Magazine’s artist of the year. He was also featured in an NPR Tiny Desk Concert. The Marquis Hill Blacktet (Saturday, 5 p.m., main stage) features Chicagoan Marquis Hill, winner of the 2014 Thelonious Monk International Trumpet Competition, who Kenyon referred to as, “a young trumpeter on his ascent.” Also mentioned was The Edmar Castaneda Trio (Sunday, 4 p.m., main stage). Kenyon calls Castaneda a jazz harpist who “must be seen to be believed.”

Outside of the music, the entertainment downtown will feature a beverage garden, culinary row and various artist booths, as well as this year’s newly added FUN Zone. The Summer of the Arts committee puts on these events for eastern Iowa residents and jazz fans through the generosity of local business donations. All events are free to the public.

The Jazz Festival is still currently in need of volunteers for this upcoming weekend. If you’re interested in helping out, contact information is available on the Summer of the Arts website. The festival will finish this Sunday at 9:30 p.m. with a fireworks show that one can view while relaxing on the Pentacrest lawn.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.