The University of Iowa
Mission Creek banner image with cut outs of L'Rain, Neko Case, and Hanif Abdurraqib

Neko Case | L'Rain | Hanif Abdurraqib

An evening of music and literature

Presented by
Mission Creek Festival
, and
The Englert Theatre
Last Call Early Bird Full Pass*: $105 – available January 12 through February 1
Regular Full Pass: $115 – available February 2
Thursday Day Pass: $55 – available February 2
*limited quantities available
Thursday, April 4, 2024, 6:00 pm
  • 4:30 p.m. – Doors and café open to the public
  • 6:00–7:00 p.m. – Reading and Q&A with Hanif Abdurraqib, moderated by Tisa Bryant
  • 7:30–8:15 p.m. – L'Rain
  • 8:50–10:00 p.m. – Neko Case

Hancher Auditorium is thrilled to host the opening ceremonies of Mission Creek Festival 2024 on Thursday, April 4! Mission Creek Festival returns to downtown Iowa City on Thursday, April 4, through Saturday, April 6, for a weekend of music, literature, and community events. The official lineup and early-bird passes are available now, with the full schedule and additional passes releasing in January.

For Mission Creek's opening day, Hancher will transform into a single-site festival venue and present a multidisciplinary program featuring a reading and conversation with MacArthur Genius Grant Fellow Hanif Abdurraqib, who last visited the festival in 2018. On tour for his new book, There’s Always This Year, he is set to appear in conversation with writer and professor Tisa Bryant from the University of Iowa’s Nonfiction Writing Program. Performer and arts curator Taja Cheek, aka L’Rain, plays after Abdurraqib in support of her celebrated new record, I Killed Your Dog. The evening closes with a set from Neko Case and her band. One of our generation’s most critically acclaimed songwriters, Case celebrates her career-spanning retrospective LP, Wild Creatures.

In its 19th year, Mission Creek continues to embrace independent voices in music and literature. Hancher is honored to welcome these revered, rising, and remarkable artists to our community and the University of Iowa. 

Neko Case: A storyteller at heart, Neko Case transcends genres and captures the essence of the human experience in her lyrics. With a career spanning over twenty years, Case is most known for her collaboration with The New Pornographers and Case/Lang/Veirs in addition to releasing many critically acclaimed solo albums. From the hauntingly beautiful Fox Confessor Brings the Flood to the raw energy of Hell-On, Neko's sound is an adventure that refuses to be confined. 

L'Rain: Multi-instrumentalist, composer, performer, and curator L'Rain's sonic explorations interrogate how multiplicities of emotions and experience intersect with identity. Critically acclaimed by NPR, named album of the year in The Wire magazine, and #2 in Pitchfork's best albums of 2021, Fatigue propelled L'Rain towards a new audience while further cementing her place within experimental and art institutional spaces. Described by AllMusic, L'Rain makes "dreamy, genre-blurring music [...], reflecting on grief, change, joy, and resistance through a collage-like mixture of soul, psychedelia, gospel, musique concrète, and numerous other genres."

Hanif Abdurraqib: Poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio, Hanif Abdurraqub is described on Articulate with Jim Cotter as one "of a generation that is helping to redefine poetry." His first collection of essays, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in winter 2017 by Two Dollar Radio and was named a book of the year by Buzzfeed, Esquire, NPR, Oprah Magazine, Paste, CBC, The Los Angeles Review, Pitchfork, and The Chicago Tribune, among others.


All passes for the Mission Creek Festival will be solely available from The Englert Box Office—both online and in person.

Full festival passes—which grant guaranteed access to the engagements at Hancher and festival events on April 4–6 in downtown Iowa City—are on sale now online and at The Englert’s box office.

Single-day Thursday passes—which only grant guaranteed access to these events at Hancher—will go on sale on February 2.

Note: All seating for the events at Hancher Auditorium will be general admission.

Mission Creek Festival website

Neko Case website

L'Rain website

Hanif Abdurraqib website

Preorder food from the Stanley Café!

Avoid the lines by making your food selections before you come to Hancher Auditorium. Cheese boards are only available through preorder and cannot be purchased on-site at the performance. Snacks and beverages will be available on-site.

Orders must be placed by noon the day before the performance.

Preorder food

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all University of Iowa sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires a reasonable accommodation in order to participate in this program, please contact Paris Young in advance at (319) 467-4849 or at