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Mission Creek 15 Spotlights Literary And Lyrical Wordsmiths

The Englert Theatre in Iowa City is one of the host venues for the festival. Artists Lucy Dacus, Black Belt Eagle Scout, and Parquet Courts headline the 15th annual Mission Creek.

Mission Creek is turning 15 this year. Festival organizer Andre Perry says he’s looking forward to bringing back some of the aspects of the festival that make it unique and has programmed this year's event with the intention of making it a more intense experience. 

Dates for this year’s fest are April 1-4. In the past, the event has spanned six days. This year, they’ve shortened it to four. 

“We basically kept our programming budget the same,” says Perry. “We’re really into having the most intense experience, so the quality is unassailable from start to finish.”

First-time festival goers can expect a much more up close experience than at Iowa’s other music festivals. This year’s music lineup is full of under-the-radar artists who are known for being strong lyricists.

Lucy Dacus, Black Belt Eagle Scout, and Parquet Courts are among the festival’s headliners. Several Iowa artists who have new music out recently, including Pink Neighbor and Lily DeTaeye,will also perform.

Mission Creek is unique on the festival landscape for its commitment to highlighting literary art alongside musical performances. Author Samantha Irby will appear days after the release of her new essay collection, and organizers are bringing back the Lit Walk.

Perry is especially excited about Kim Gordon’s “Sound For Andy Warhol’s Kiss” project. Gordon is the longtime bassist for the seminal alternative rock band Sonic Youth. Her most recent work is a collaborative, semi-improvisational soundtrack set to Warhol’s classic hour-long film “Kiss.” Her band for the project includes singer-songwriter and guitarist Steve Gunn, whose music has been featured on IPR’s Studio One Tracks.

Singer and composer Nadah El Shazly is this year’s artist-in-residence. In addition to her performance on Thursday night, she’ll be in Iowa City for the duration of the festival, recording new music at Flat Black Studios with Luke Tweedy. It’s a continuation of a program that dates back to 2012. In celebration of its 15th anniversary, Mission Creek will feature the work of past artists-in-residence in the run up to the festival.

Passes are on sale now, and tickets for individual events will be available in late January.

Tony Dehner is a Studio One Host