The Daily Iowan

The Northside Concert Series looks to expand for the 2022 performances

In light of additional funding and recent success, the Northside Concert Series expects to host six live music shows for the summer 2022.


Kate Heston

Audience members applaud Blake Shaw and Dan Padley as they perform outside Goosetown Cafe on Tuesday Oct. 7, 2020. Guests watched from their tables outside as others gathered within the street to listen.

Jami Martin-Trainor, Arts Reporter

As the year draws to a close and weather grows colder, Iowa City’s Summer of the Arts is already looking toward its titular season.

The nonprofit’s Northside Concert series has been successful since it began a few years ago. Hosting an array of performers, the event takes place in the Northside district of downtown Iowa City and provides the community with accessible live music.

Summer of the Arts Executive Director Lisa Barnes said the organization plans to expand the series next year by adding separate performances throughout the summer on the Northside.

“All of the concerts that we’ve had on the Northside have been very well attended, so it just made sense for us to be able to provide additional programming,” Barnes said.

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The Northside neighborhood is expansive, with an array of local businesses and community members. This year, funding for the concert series will be provided by both businesses and individual members of the community.

“All of the Northside businesses are given the opportunity to donate to sponsor the concert series. The more businesses that donate, the less amount they have to chip in,” Barnes said. “The other thing that they have done this year is that they actually reached out to the Northside neighborhood, the residents that live there, and asked them to help support.”

The Northside Concert Series also keeps Linn Street closed. Northside businesses have talked with the city about potentially closing down the street for entertainment on a more permanent basis.

Ofer Sivan, a resident on the Northside, member of the Summer of the Arts board and owner of Oasis Falafel, said several businesses and groups are working on this effort to make the area a community space.

“We want to keep the street closed at least during the summer, but hopefully permanently someday, so having events and shows where that space is used helps,” Sivan said.

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Sivan noted that expansion does not necessarily mean only adding more shows.

In addition to the 2022 series having more concerts, the nonprofit also has intentions to pay artists and staff more for their contributions.

“We feel like it’s time to pay the artists a little more,” Sivan said. “A lot of the artists and staff are from our community and a lot of them live on the Northside.”

Though closing down the street for the series can benefit the community, the main goal of the Northside Concert Series and the Summer of the Arts is to provide live, accessible music that everyone can enjoy.

“Our ultimate goal is bringing people together in Iowa City through arts and experiencing arts and cultural activities,” Barnes said. “All of our regular events that we produce are free for everyone to attend. It’s really important that the arts are accessible to everyone in the community.”

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