Screen readers: Two navigational links to follow.Skip to site navigation.Skip to page content.
The University of Iowa News Services
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release


Sept. 3, 2010

The Refugees headline Iowa Women’s Music Festival Sept. 16-18

The 17th Annual Iowa Women’s Music Festival (IWMF), produced by Prairie Voices Productions and the Women’s Resource and Action Center at the University of Iowa, is gearing up for three days of women in music Thursday, Sept. 16 through Saturday, Sept. 18 in Iowa City.

The headline musical group will be The Refugees (photo, left), performing at 4:50 p.m. Saturday. Sept. 18, in Upper City Park on the main stage. The Refugees are filling in for iconic, eight-time Grammy-nominated artist Janis Ian, who had to cancel her headline performance to recover from recent hand surgery.

“Though we’re disappointed Janis can’t make it, she’s promised to perform at next year’s future festival,” said Laurie Haag, (photo, right) festival founder and WRAC program developer. “She’s also donating her CDs to the festival in the hopes that people will buy them and help defray the expenses the festival incurs because of this. It will still be an incredible experience for all who attend.”

The Refugees are accomplished solo artists Cindy Bullens, Deborah Holland and Wendy Waldman, who came together as The Refugees in 2007. Each of The Refugees has logged more than three decades in the industry, with 19 solo albums and multiple Grammy Award nominations to their credit, featuring musical styles that blend country, rock, folk and Americana.

The IMWF is one of the longest continuously running festivals featuring women performers in the country, eclipsed most notably by the National Women’s Music Festival and Michigan Womyn's Music Festival, both of which turn 35 this year.

There is entertainment for everyone at the IWMF, including folk, pop, rock, country, Americana, hip-hop, spoken word, acoustic blues, soul and alternative music, as well as provocative performance art, according to Haag. From an Internet mega celebrity, to a feminist violin virtuoso, to multilingual world folk-rockers, the eclectic line-up features it all, she added.

In additional to nationally recognized musicians, a number of local musicians will also perform including several UI students, including Emily Louise, Kelly Carrell and Natalie Brown.

Accessibility is the aim of the IWMF, Haag said, and the festival events will provide American Sign Language interpretation for the deaf and hearing-impaired. All performances will be open to the public, with most being free of charge or “sliding scale /pay-what-you-can.”

The 2010 festival kicks off with a multi-act show at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 16 at The Englert Theatre, 221 E. Washington St. in Iowa City. IWMF’s opening night features performance artist/comedic satirist/gem sweater queen/YouTube phenomenon Leslie and the Lys, of Ames, Iowa, paired for the first time ever with Bitch, an outspoken alternative-folk musician and poet. Popular Minneapolis-based band Caroline Smith and the Goodnight Sleeps open the show. Tickets are available for $16 at the Englert, by phone at 319-688-2653 or online at

The Blue Moose Tap House, 211 Iowa Ave. in Iowa City, is the place to be when Iowa Women’s Music Festival showcases some of the best local female musicians for its anniversary party Friday, Sept. 17. On tap are Lojo Russo, The Vagabonds, Sarah Cram and the Derelicts, Natalie Brown, Kelly Carrell and more. A sliding-scale cover charge will be requested at the door and all donations will benefit the 2010 festival.

The festival’s traditional main event, the “Day Stage” in Iowa City’s Upper City Park, comes to life at noon Saturday, Sept. 18 and continues until approximately 6 p.m. The non-stop stage lineup includes (in reverse order) headliner The Refugees, Chris Pureka, Ruth King, Desdamona with Carnage, Mary McAdams and a singer-songwriter round-robin with Rae, Emily Louise and Jenny Kohls. Emcee Kim-Char Meredith returns for the third year to host the show. The “Day Stage” is the main event of IWMF, and it’s free to attend.

The festival blasts indoors to the Mill Restaurant, 120 E. Burlington St. in Iowa City at 8 p.m. on Saturday night. The closing celebration lineup features edgy alternative duo The State Of, passionate world-music trouba dour SONiA and disappear fear, and Congress of Starlings featuring IWMF veterans Andrea Bunch and Aerin Tedesco. A sliding-scale cover charge will be collected at the door.

The Day Stage in Upper City Park on Saturday afternoon is free, everyone is welcome and families are encouraged to attend. Food and merchandise vendors will line the festival, and Iowa Shares will host a silent auction. Attendees should bring blankets or chairs for grass seating. The park is wheelchair accessible. Pets on leashes are welcome. In case of inclement weather during the outdoor portion of the festival, the rain location will be The Mill Restaurant in Iowa City.

For more information or special accommodations to attend, call WRAC at 319-335-1486.

NOTE TO EDITORS: Womyn’s is official festival name; SONiA and disappear fear are the correct spellings with upper and lower case as marked.

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

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