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University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 11, 2008

Photo: Patrice Pike, a musician from Austin, Texas, who melds rock, pop and soul, will be one of the featured artists at the Iowa Women's Music Festival Saturday, Sept. 20. Photo by Mary Burton.

15th Annual Iowa Women's Music Festival features diverse talents Sept. 20

More than 15 local, regional and national musicians will share their talents, ranging from soul to rock, at the 15th annual Iowa Women's Music Festival. The event is scheduled from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 20, in Upper City Park in Iowa City and is free and open to the public.

Planned and organized by Prairie Voices Productions, an all-volunteer collective, and the University of Iowa Women's Resource and Action Center (WRAC), the festival will highlight 15 years of free, outdoor celebrations of women's music and culture in Iowa.

The festival features both local and nationally touring performers, as well as artists, craftspeople, silent auctions and vendors in an open-air environment.

A new feature this year will be a series of workshops, concerts and supporting events leading up to and continuing after the festival. The first event is set for Tuesday, Sept. 16, and the culminating workshop will be held on Sunday, Sept. 21. To view a complete schedule and registration information, visit

The mission of Prairie Voices, a nonprofit corporation, is to support and promote the work of women artists and musicians through the festival and other events.

"We have always had a commitment to presenting local artists, especially younger women who haven't had a chance to perform at some of the more competitive local festivals like the Arts Fest or the Friday Night Concert Series," said founding member Laurie Haag, WRAC program developer.

Over the years, the festival has featured a wide variety of performers, especially younger independent female artists outside the mainstream music industry. Last year, more than 1,000 people attended the festival.

"It's important that people know that what we do doesn't happen anywhere else," said Haag. "We want to fill that gap and book artists that women and men can relate to."

Haag said that some people think that it is no longer necessary to organize such a festival dedicated exclusively to women's music.

"Some people say that we don't need this sort of thing anymore," Haag said, "because now women have the opportunities they never used to, but we believe that there is still a need."

This year's music festival will feature special guest emcee from Chicago, Kim-Char Meredith, spotlight artist Rachel Garlin, Iowa City's Diva Kai, Deidre McCalla, native Iowan Bejae Fleming Band, Ubaka Hill & Her Drumsong Orchestra, British signer Zoe Lewis, Ferron and Patrice Pike, a musician from Austin, Texas, who melds rock, pop and soul.

The 15th anniversary of the Iowa Women's Music Festival is dedicated to the memory of IWMF co-founder Kimela Nelson (photo, right), who died in August of 2008.

More information on the festival and a complete schedule can be found at For more information, see or For more information or special accommodations to attend this event, call WRAC at 319-335-1486.

Founded in 1971, the Women's Resource and Action Center is one of the oldest university-based women's centers in the United States. Among its services -- available to UI students, faculty and staff, as well as the public -- are information and referral, advocacy, support and discussion groups, individual counseling, and a wide variety of educational programs including seminars, workshops, festivals and discussions. More information about the center is available at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: Laurie Haag, WRAC, 319-335-1486,; Lois J. Gray, University News Services, 319-384-0077,; Writer: Caroline Jones