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Mission Creek announces their 2023 festival lineup

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The Englert Theatre has just announced their lineup for the 2023 Mission Creek Festival. National and local acts in both music and literature are slated to perform at the festival on April 6–8.

Mission Creek announced their 2023 lineup today. The Iowa City music and literature festival will feature musical performances from Cat Power, Kevin Morby and Sudan Archives, as well as readings from Japanese Breakfast frontperson Michelle Zauner and more.

Since 2006, the Mission Creek Festival has graced downtown Iowa City with both literary and musical compositions, in both free and ticketed spaces. The community-focused festival will return for three days in 2023, presenting big names and local favorites from April 6–8.

Musical performers on the just-released lineup include: Cat Power, Kevin Morby, Sudan Archives, Courtney Marie Andrews, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Divino Niño, Yasmin Williams, Natural Information Society, TEKE::TEKE, McKinley Dixon, Water From Your Eyes, The Heavy Heavy, Friko, Ebony Tusks, FlyLife, Greg Wheeler & The Polygamist Mall Cops, Mr. Softheart, Extravision, BCJsPs, Karen Meat, mars hojiila, The Uniphonics and Pictoria Vark.

Literary acts include: Michelle Zauner (of Japanese Breakfast), Camonghne Felix, Shelley Wong, Michael Torres, Zoë Bossiere, Joe Wilkins, Courtney Marie Andrews, LitHub Radio's Thresholds Podcast hosted by Jordan Kisner and Lauren Haldeman.

There will be one more headliner for the festival revealed in January.

Notable acts

Headliner Cat Power is known for the eclectic mix of indie, folk, punk, blues, and soul present throughout her career, which spans three decades. Fans may recognize her for her esteemed rendition of “Sea of Love,” which is featured on the Juno movie soundtrack.

Kevin Morby is a Texas-born indie-rock singer-songwriter. While there have been many notable tracks from his seven solo studio albums, including 2022’s “This Is A Photograph,” Morby is perhaps best known for his song “Beautiful Strangers,” which was recently featured in a string of Airbnb commercials.

Sudan Archives, who made her last Iowa festival appearance at the 2021 Riverview Music Festival, is fresh off the success of her 2022 album “Natural Brown Prom Queen.” If her Riverview performance is any indication of what her Mission Creek appearance will be like, audiences will be in for a violin-filled treat.

Courtney Marie Andrews will be performing on both the musical and literature sides of Mission Creek. The Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter just released her debut poetry collection “Old Monarch” in 2021.

Iowa audiences last saw Michelle Zauner as the frontperson of Japanese Breakfast when they played the Hy-Vee Main Stage at the 2022 80-35 Music Festival. Zauner will return to the Iowa festival scene at the 2023 Mission Creek Festival, this time on the literature side of events. Zauner’s 2021 memoir “Crying in H Mart” explores her navigation through life surrounding her mother’s death from cancer. It spent 60 weeks on the New York Times hardcover non-fiction bestseller list.

According to its website, LitHub Radio’s “Thresholds” podcast, hosted by essayist Jordan Kisner, “is a series of intimate, surprising interviews with artists you love about the transformative experiences that have shaped their work.” It will be interesting to see how Kisner translates this format to a live audience.

Local artists

Mission Creek 2023 will also feature a number of Iowa acts, including Des Moines rapper FlyLife, garage punk rockers Greg Wheeler & The Polygamist Mall Cops, Des Moines three-piece Mr. Softheart, psych-folk singer-songwriter Extravision, Iowa City’s Karen Meat, central Illinois- and Iowa City-based musician mars hojiila, Eastern Iowa funk/soul band The Uniphonics, and Iowa City songwriter and bassist Pictoria Vark.

Tickets available now

Early bird, student, and Friends of the Englert member passes are available now on the Mission Creek website.

Early bird public passes are now $85 for the three-day festival, and will go up to $110 on January 13. Friends of the Englert members will be able to secure tickets at the $80 price point from now until the festival, and student passes are $55, but there is a cap of 50 student passes sold. Day passes for Mission Creek will become available on January 13.

Mission Creek is put on by The Englert Theatre in Iowa City, a performing arts organization that is over 100 years old. More information about the festival can be found at missioncreekfestival.com.

This story was corrected on Friday, Dec. 9 to remove reference of Ani DiFranco being part of the Mission Creek line-up. Ani DiFranco is not confirmed to be participating in the event.

Cece Mitchell is a Music Producer for IPR