IOWA CITY,  Iowa — Downtown Iowa City is the place to be this summer for music, arts, culture and family fun.

Friday, Saturday Night Concert Series

Kick off your summer with the Friday Night Concert Series, presented by Billion Automotive, May 18, 2012, and enjoy the talented City High and West High Jazz Bands. Join the fun on the Iowa City Pedestrian Plaza each Friday from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. and bask in the music of David Zollo, The Fez, Orquesta Alto Maiz, The Funkdaddies and Tasty Trigger just to name a few. Downtown Saturday Night is now the Saturday Night Concert Series, presented by MidWest One Bank and Integrated DNA Technologies. This event now features many local favorites and some new bands in an eclectic lineup starting May 19, 2012, and running each week from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Weatherdance Fountain Stage on the Ped Mall. Check out performers such as Kevin B.F. Burt, Slip Silo, Mad Monks and The Beaker Brothers. Rain location for BOTH the Friday and Saturday Night Concert Series is the lower level of the Chauncey Swan parking ramp.

Iowa City Arts Festival

Los Lobos will rock the Iowa City Arts Festival on June 2, 2012. The festival, presented by Veridian Credit Union, runs the weekend of June 1 to 3, 2012. Local legend Greg Brown is coming home Friday night, June 1, with his friends and family including Pieta Brown, Bo Ramsey and The Pines. This special evening will kick off at 7 p.m. and they’ll play throughout the evening. New in 2012, portions of the Art Fair (Washington and Dubuque streets) will be open Friday evening from 5 to 7 p.m. Saturday provides an abundance of activities for the whole family including the Art Fair, Family and Weatherdance Fountain Stage performances, Global Village cultural activities for kids, and main stage performers from all over the country. The main stage features local and national favorites including Bree Nettie, Ben Schmidt, The Recliners, Joy Kills Sorrow, and Carrie Rodriguez. Saturday night’s headliner is sure to inspire as we welcome Los Lobos to the Iowa Arts Festival. Known for so much more than their hit "La Bamba," they continue to grow and create exciting new music. Sunday the main stage will feature performances from local talent including the Awful Purdies, Iowa City Community Band and Collectible Boys. The rest of the festival will offer a wide variety of activities including the Art Fair, Culinary Row, the Family Stage, FUN Zone, Emerging Artist Pavilion, Children’s Day Activities and of course the strolling entertainers throughout the festival.

Free Movie Series

The Free Movie Series presented by Knutson Construction and The Daily Iowan will start the following weekend on June 9, 2012, with "Night at the Museum," rated PG. Movies will be held Saturdays through Aug. 11 on the Pentacrest lawn in front of Macbride Hall at sunset. Be sure to bring your blankets and/or lawn chair to enjoy great movies like "The Goonies," "Hugo," and "The Lion King," starting at sunset. Watch for special activities before some movies and extended hours at the UI Museum of Natural History. NEW this year — we will have a rain location for the movies in Macbride Auditorium.

Iowa City Jazz Festival

The Iowa City Jazz Festival, presented by the University of Iowa Community Credit Union, is scheduled for June 29 to July 1, 2012, and features some new twists this year. Festival goers will enjoy four stages featuring a variety of jazz styles along with a combination of local, regional, and national talent. You’ll also have the opportunity to enjoy Culinary Row, the Artist Booths, FUN Zone and Beverage Garden. The main stage kicks off Friday night with some Iowa talent including the United Jazz Ensemble featuring students from City and West High Schools, Groove Theory, and the Iowa Jazz Orchestra joins vocalist Kevin Mahogany. At 54 years old, Mahogany has an extraordinary career and is described as “unquestionably one of today’s most exciting and musically adept jazz vocalists”. On Saturday you can enjoy more talented young people with the North Corridor Jazz All Stars, followed by the Marco Benevento Trio and Todd Sickafoose Tiny Resistors. The night wraps up with the Robert Glasper Experiment. Saturday’s performers fuse together jazz, rock, hip hop and some blues, so definitely something for everyone. The excitement continues on Sunday with the Al Naylor Group, featuring teacher and trumpeter Al Naylor. Also performing on the main stage are the Ariel Pocock Trio and Heath Brothers Quartet. The headliner Sunday night is a new venture titled “Mumbo Jumbo, a Tribute to Paul Motian.” The band is made up of Matt Wilson, Chris Cheek, Mat Maneri, Steve Cardenas and Thomas Morgan celebrating the life and talent of jazz drummer Paul Motian, who died last fall.

Sand in the City

Sand in the City, presented by Bank of the West, continues to grow in its fourth year. A few more slots are available for teams wanting to compete in this friendly team building contest. This year the theme is “Around the World”, providing the teams a great opportunity to really be creative with their sculptures. We will again feature live music throughout the weekend of Aug. 10 to 12, Culinary Row, Artist Booths and a FUN Zone, but this year we’ll also be adding a couple of new components to the festival. 7G Distributing will be bringing a Beverage Garden to the event and we’ll be hosting mini sand sculpting competitions for the public on Saturday and Sunday along with an expanded FUN Zone.


The City of Iowa City’s Summer of the Arts (SotA) is an umbrella organization for local arts and culture events which include: Iowa Arts Festival, presented by Veridian Credit Union; Iowa City Jazz Festival, presented by University of Iowa Community Credit Union; Free Movie Series presented by Knutson Construction and The Daily Iowan; Sand in the City, presented by Bank of the West; Friday Night Concert Series, presented by Billion Automotive and Saturday Night Concert Series presented by MidWest One Bank, and Integrated DNA Technologies. For more information on our programming, visit our website at The mission of Summer of the Arts is to build community by bringing people together in the Iowa City area to experience, learn about, and enjoy the arts.