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Mission Creek Festival decides to cancel all events for 2020

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HIDE’s Heather Gabel performs at the Yacht Club during Mission Creek Festival, Friday, April 5, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

On March 12, when Mission Creek Festival organizers announced the cancellation of their April 1-4 fest due to the rising threat of COVID-19, they also announced plans to host “a special Mission Creek event in the late-summer/early-fall,” featuring some of the artists scheduled for the spring event.

Those plans have now been dropped as well.

“We have decided to cancel the special fall edition (September 17-19) of Mission Creek Festival 2020,” festival co-founder Andre Perry said in a written statement released Friday. “We are very sad about this outcome. The public health situation remains in flux and it is impossible to know if we will be able to ensure the health of Creekers by this fall. Likewise, the musicians and writers we work with are also unsure how their fall tours and engagements will play out. Under these conditions, we cannot design the aesthetically inspiring festival we had hoped to provide.”

Mission Creek Festival — a music, literature and arts fest held at various venues in downtown Iowa City, now in its 15th year — will return in spring 2021, Perry said. Mission Creek has provided an online form for ticket- and passholders to apply for refunds. However, they encourage people to consider donating the cost of their tickets to the festival’s presenter, the nonprofit Englert Theatre, or convert the cost of their ticket/pass into an Englert gift certificate.

While in-person events are officially canceled this year, Mission Creek is producing a short film titled Ghost Creek, which they describe as a “multi-genre movie [combining] narrative and documentary elements as well as guest performances featuring artist from our community and beyond.” The film is scheduled to be released on digital platforms in the fall.

“If you enjoyed Mission Creek Underground, this will be the next level,” Perry said, referencing the series of six filmed performances by local artists and authors (all Mission Creek alums) Mission Creek organizers released this spring.

The lineup for the 2020 festival included musicians Kim Gordon, Black Belt Eagle Scout, (Sandy) Alex G and Adia Victoria; writers Garth Greenwell, Samantha Irby and Tommy Pico; and many more interdisciplinary artists.

“We do know that we don’t know what’s going to happen going forward,” Perry told Little Village in March, “but we can hope that there’s a time when the situation dies down a little bit in terms of being dangerous, and it’s not a public health crisis anymore. When that time comes, we’re really going to think hard about how can we celebrate that.”


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