Mission Creek Festival 2018
Various venues — Tuesday, April 3-Sunday, April 8, 2018
• Built to Spill
• Wye Oak
• Jamila Woods (Reading and Performance)
• Carrie Brownstein, Roxane Gay and Amber Tamblyn (In Conversation)
• Julien Baker
• Lidia Yuknavitch
• Quinta Brunson & Friends
• Margaret Glaspy
• Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith
• Cakes Da Killa
• Laurel Halo (Live and DJ Set)
• Hanif Willis-Abdurraqib
• Xylouris White
• Deb Olin Unferth
• The Weepies
• Horse Lords
• S. Carey
• Alex Zhang Hungtai
• Horse Feathers
• Current Joys
See more below
As Iowa City’s Mission Creek Festival hits lucky number 13 this year, they’re pulling out all the stops with a wide range of artists across genres and disciplines offering something for everyone. This year’s festival runs from Tuesday, April 3 through Sunday, April 8, and one exciting change is the introduction of a weekend pass for folks who want to get in on just the Friday-Sunday action — a great deal for those coming in from out of town. Six-day passes are $150 this year, and the weekend pass is $75. Both go on sale today, Friday Dec. 8 at the Mission Creek Festival website. Look for tickets to individual events in January.
The festival will once again offer a full Saturday of free activities on April 7. The ICE CREAM comics and zine fair returns, as do the ALT (Art + Life + Tech) speaker series, the small press book fair and a free show at Big Grove Brewery and Taproom. Friday and Saturday’s literary programming, which also includes the Lit Walk, is being reframed under the umbrella of Litscape. A keynote reading, sponsored by The Iowa Review, will feature memoirist Lidia Yuknavitch (The Chronology of Water).
The highlight of 2018’s literary programming is a conversation between Carrie Brownstein, Roxane Gay and Amber Tamblyn. Brownstein is well-known as a musician (with seminal ’90s punk act Sleater-Kinney) and actor (on Portlandia, the award-winning series she created with Fred Armisen and director Jonathan Krisel), but has been writing since the early 2000s as an interviewer and music blogger. Her memoir, Hunger Makes Me A Modern Girl, came out in 2015.
Tamblyn, also an actor (known for Joan of Arcadia and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), has become well known in recent years as a poet. Her most recent collection, Dark Sparkler, was released in 2015. Essayist and short story writer Gay has a long history in Iowa City. She came to town for Mission Creek in 2013, and in 2016, at the Iowa City Book Festival, she was named the fifth recipient of the Iowa City UNESCO City of Literature’s Paul Engle Prize. The conversation is sponsored by the Tuesday Agency.
Bridging the boundary between the literary and music worlds is poet and songwriter Jamila Woods, presented in partnership with SCOPE Productions. The soul singer will both give a reading of her written work and perform during the festival.
Built to Spill, who have been making indie rock headlines for 25 years, lead the packed selection of stellar musical acts for this year’s festival. The Boise, Idaho band released its eighth studio album in 2015, Untethered Moon, their first in six years. Also key on the music lineup is Baltimore, Maryland duo Wye Oak, also jointly presented by SCOPE. Wye Oak’s sound has a wide appeal — the dream pop pair’s track “Civilian,” from the 2011 album of the same name, has been featured on television shows from The Walking Dead to One Tree Hill.
Other indie darlings on the schedule include Margaret Glaspy, who last year’s attendees will remember from performances with Andrew Bird and Bridget Kearney, Memphis singer-songwriter Julien Baker, and S. Carey, drummer from Bon Iver, who kicked off his solo career in 2010 with All We Grow and has his sixth album, Hundred Acres, due out next year.
Artists from a wide variety of other genres round out the extensive listing. Atlanta’s Algiers released their self-titled debut in 2015, followed close on by 2017’s The Underside of Power. Their sound is an intoxicating amalgam of gospel, post-punk, experimental and more. Xylouris White reps the world music scene, a free-jazz and traditional music collaboration between laouto player George Xylouris of Crete and Australian drummer Jim White. Electronic musician Laurel Halo will both perform and offer up a DJ set.
Featured on the comedy side of things is internet darling Quinta Brunson, who skyrocketed to fame on Instagram, with its first viral video, in 2014. Her newest project is Up for Adoption, an online mockumentary where all of the pets featured actually are available to adopt.
Additional performances from:
Cathy Linh Che
Lina Maria Ferreira Cabeza-Venegas