Hancher, IIHR cancel 2022 ‘The Big Splash!’ festival

After being postponed nearly two years, Hancher’s outdoor festival “The Big Splash!” has been canceled because of “uncertainty and repercussions” caused by the pandemic.


Tate Hildyard

Hancher Auditorium is seen in Iowa City on Sunday, September 20th, 2020.

Parker Jones, Arts Editor

A free two-day outdoor festival set for August 2022 has been canceled by Hancher Auditorium, IIHR — Hydroscience and Engineering, and the City of Iowa City. 

The event, titled The Big Splash! had been originally scheduled for August 2020, and was described as an “extravaganza” of music, dance, circus arts, and spectacle, free for all to attend on the banks of the Iowa River, according to a press release from Hancher. 

The event was rescheduled for August 2022  because of the pandemic, according to the release, where it would coincide with Hancher’s 50th anniversary season. Initially, the event was intended as a celebration of the 100th anniversary of the University of Iowa’s hydraulics laboratory, IIHR — Hydroscience and Engineering. 

The press release noted the decision to cancel The Big Splash! was based on multiple factors, including “uncertainty and repercussions” caused by the pandemic. 

The festival was also intended as a general celebration of the Iowa River itself, and the ways in which the UI campus and surrounding community interact and coexist with it, the release stated.

“It truly breaks our heart to cancel The Big Splash!,” said Chuck Swanson, Hancher’s executive director, in the release. “We were so excited about bringing this one-of-a-kind event to our campus and community. And we were so excited to work with such a great collection of partners—including the City of Iowa City and our friends at IIHR.” 

Some aspects of the festival will now be included in Hancher’s 2022-2023 season, but further details of that season will be announced in the summer of 2022.

“We are disappointed to cancel this event,” said Gabriele Villarini, director of IIHR, in the release. “It brought together partners from different backgrounds, and, even with this cancellation, it certainly paved the way for future collaborations between engineering and the arts.”