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Summer of the Arts announces the schedule for the revamped Soul & Blues Festival

By May 15, 2019 No Comments

JC The New King of Funk

The Iowa Soul Festival is now the Soul & Blues Festival, changing the focus of the event to celebrate the Black Experience through the local and global reach of Soul & Blues music. The event takes place on August 2 & 3 in downtown Iowa City and features some incredible performers and more!

The Soul & Blues Festival, presented by MidWestOne Bank, brings back favorite events like the fashion show on Friday night and the Black Author’s Panel on Saturday morning at Prairie Lights Books.  This year’s panel includes local authors Venise Berry, Steven Torriano Berry and Rachelle Chase discussing their work at 11 AM.

Friday night’s fashion show kicks off the evening entertainment at 7:30 PM, but the fun starts at 5 with Culinary Delights, a Beverage Garden and music with DJ Freeze.  Immediately following the fashion show, DJ Freeze kicks off the evening’s dance party on the streets!  The party continues at 10 PM with Soul Shake at Gabe’s.

The festival hits the streets starting at noon Saturday with the Vendor MarketPlace, Fun Stops for kids, Culinary Delights and Beverage Garden while you enjoy fabulous entertainment on the Main Stage.

Our own local celebrity, the amazing Kevin B.F. Burt opens the festival on Saturday at 12:30 PM on the Main Stage. At the 34th Annual Blues Challenge Awards, Burt received first place in the solo/duet division and his electrifying presence is the epitome of blues and soul.  We are thrilled to have him kick things off on the Main Stage.

Goose Town

The Main Stage features two more local favorites with the persuasive grooves of seven-piece band Goose Town, followed by classic and contemporary blues from a woman’s point of view with the Tanya English Band.

At 5 PM we welcome Chicago blues guitarist Rico McFarland and his band to the Main Stage. At 7 PM we get funky with JC New King of Funk. Growing up in a musical family in Kansas City, JC’s first love is the bass guitar, but he has proven his proficiency as a vocalist, drummer, keyboardist, writer, arranger, composer and producer.


We close out the Main Stage with a special performance by Tomar and the FC’s at 9 PM. Bringing the soul from Austin, Texas, last year they were voted in the top five of the Austin Chronicle’s Music Poll for Best Blues, Funk, or Soul Artist. The party continues at 10:30 PM at Gabe’s.


In addition to these Main Stage performances, festival attendees can also enjoy Culinary Delights, a Vendor MarketPlace, kids’ activities, and a Beverage Garden, all on Iowa Avenue and Linn Street in downtown Iowa City.

For the complete schedule and additional information, please visit our website at


Summer of the Arts produces the Iowa Arts Festival presented by Veridian Credit Union, Iowa City Jazz Festival presented by GreenState Credit Union, Friday Night Concert Series presented by Toyota of Iowa City, Free Movie Series presented by Urban Acres Real Estate and GreenState Credit Union, and the Iowa Soul & Blues Festival presented by MidWestOne Bank.


The mission of Summer of the Arts is to build community by bringing people together in the heart of Iowa City to
experience, learn about, and enjoy free arts and cultural programs.

CONTACT: Lisa Barnes, Executive Director

Phone: 319-337-7944 | Email: