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Mission Creek announces a virtual two-day fest, Duos, featuring Japanese Breakfast, Andrea Gibson and more

Mission Creek Festival Duos

Thursday and Friday, April 29-30, missioncreekfestival.com, $15-195

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Japanese Breakfast (Michelle Zauner), by Peter Ash — courtesy of Mission Creek Festival

Tickets are on sale now for the 2021 edition of Mission Creek Festival, Duos. Following on the heels of the community-beloved Ghost Creek film this winter, Mission Creek is once again delving into a virtual format to present a slate of not-to-be-missed performers. The fest was conceived last fall, when it became clear to the Englert team that an in-person program would still not be in the cards for spring 2021.

“Regardless of platform, our mission inspires us to support artists near and far and to connect those artists with our fans and supporters,” Mission Creek Festival co-founder and Englert executive director Andre Perry said in a press release.

The cancellation of Mission Creek 2020 was the first huge blow to the eastern Iowa scene following the onset of COVID-19 closures in March of last year. Englert Theatre has been a beacon in the community since, taking the lead in virtual programming and providing platforms for area artists, including their currently running Wednesday night Stages series. The Englert and Little Village co-programmed Witching Hour festival in fall 2020 set the bar for what a virtual, local festival experience could be.

Harlem-raised hip-hop artist Billy Dean Thomas, a.k.a. “The Queer B.I.G” — courtesy of Mission Creek Festival

The Duos program features Mission Creek’s usual mix of local and national performers, with the “duos” concept embodied by conversations between writers and musicians following their performances. The program will be streamed through outer/most. Highlights include Michelle Zauner’s indie-pop sensation Japanese Breakfast (whose third album is due out this summer); Boston-based hip-hop rising star Billy Dean Thomas; Iowa Writers’ Workshop alum Brandon Taylor, whose debut Real Life was described by LV reviewer Austin Yerington as “a compelling social drama adeptly complemented by Taylor’s prose”; and renowned slam poet Andrea Gibson. The full program is listed below.

Mission Creek is offering a wide variety of pricing options for this year’s fest. Basic community access to view the two-day event is $20, with a discounted rate of $15 available until midnight on April 4. The fan package, at $40 ($30 through April 4) includes a T-shirt. The Creek Freak level ($105/early bird $85) adds a commemorative poster, the latest issue of Fools magazine and a limited edition Elizabeth Moen vinyl. Supporters ($195/early bird $180) get all of the other perks as well as a Friends of the Englert membership.

Festival organizers are hopeful, the press release said, that 2022 will see a return to the full in-person festival format.

Music: Japanese Breakfast • SASAMI • Nat Baldwin • Ami Dang • Billy Dean Thomas • MC Animosity
Literature: Brandon Taylor • Andrea Gibson • Kiese Laymon • Donika Kelly • Chuy Renteria • Gina Nutt
Community: Creek Eats


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