Go Cedar Rapids

Event Schedule

Three days of music, art and inspiration

I want to grow. I want to be better. You grow. We all grow. We're made to grow. 

You either evolve or you disappear.

~Tupac Shakur

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newbo evolve is a multi-faceted festival. It is a celebration  of music, art and inspiration. This inagural year will be three days of more than 40 keynotes, activities, sessions, exhibits and experiences. A typical day of the festival looks like this:


WELLBEING  newbo evolve will host activities to promote a productive and happy lifestyle. Imagine yoga on the garden rooftop of the Cedar Rapids Public Library as the city gathers for the 200+ vendor Downtown Farmers Market and meditation sessions along the river. Additional programming is in development. newbo evolve plans to bring in a recognized instructor to lead activity and participate in interactive educational sessions for a deeper dive into the wellness topic.



  • Alexis Ohanian, co-founder of Reddit, the social news aggregation, web content rating, and discussion website, and bestselling author of “Without Their Permission,” a guidebook for how other aspiring entrepreneurs can follow in his footsteps, will be one of the keynote speakers.
  • Screenwriter, film director and author John Waters will perform a one-man, spoken-word lecture entitled “This Filthy World,” a “vaudeville” act celebrating the film career and obsessive tastes of the man William Burroughs once called “The Pope of Trash.”


  • The subject areas covered by the panel sessions will be about dance; fashion; gardening/landscape design; culinary arts/cooking; technology; writing; and wellbeing. Other topic sessions being considered include art, and personal and professional growth. 
  • Many of the sessions will be interactive, some will be educational, but all will be led by subject-matter experts and/or celebrities, such as Adam Berinsky (MIT Professor and "fake news" expert); Clint Harp (carpentry and woodworking); Carson Kressley (fashion and style); Adam Rippon (Oylmpic figure skater) and Christian Siriano (fashion design). Depending upon the subject, panel sessions may last anywhere from 60 to 90 minutes.
  • Each celebrity or expert will be doing something slightly different based on their area of expertise. Some talent also will be available exclusively to newbo evolve passholders for books signings and pop-up shops.


  • On Sunday, August 5, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. come celebrate local and regional artists at the NewBo Arts Fest. NewBo Art Fest welcomes applications from all artists, and is known for showcasing high quality artwork in the eclectic NewBo District. This event is free and open to all. Learn more.



MUSIC We're thrilled to announce Kelly Clarkson as the headline act on Friday and Maroon 5 with The Shadowboxers for Saturday. Opening acts will be announced at a later date. All newbo evolve three-day passholders will receive preferred section seating at Friday and Saturday concerts. On Sunday, August 5 the newbo evolve concert stage will welcome a local lineup headlined by The Pork Tornadoes (today’s hits), along with Soul Sherpa (original funk/soul), Adam Keith (country), Four Day Creep (classic rock), Kevin “B.F.” Burt (blues) and Slap N Tickle (80s/hair metal).


ZIP LINE Fun and adventurous, the Cedar Screamer Zip Line is a nod to the resilience of our community and the beauty of the Cedar River that devastated Cedar Rapids neighborhoods 10 years ago. The 1,000+ foot zip line will take daring adventurers up 10 stories for a unique excursion across the Cedar River. This is the only zip line in Iowa that crosses such a body of water. The zip line will be up throughout the summer.

ART/GARDEN/LOUNGE The NewBo District will be transformed with installations throughout the festival footprint with a bohemian tone: creative, expressive and unconventional. Expect the unusual, cool and downright fun, along with performance and street art will strongly represent the bohemian spirit. Plan to spend time in the passholder exclusive newbo evolve lounge and performance area and dig into design ideas you'll find in the newbo evolve pollinator garden.


newbo evolve will be adding sessions times, more talent and additional programming as the festival approaches. Follow along at Facebook.com/newboevolve and twitter.com/newboevolve.

Purchase your newbo evolve pass today!