Sam Parker wants to help his patrons find that feeling—the rush of emotion that happens when people lose themselves in a song.
A true-to-form millennial, Parker has pursued passion projects and labors of love from city to city. Originally a transplant from the Washington, D.C., area, he came to Omaha some years ago to study business marketing. He later left to work with Paper & Plastick Records in Florida and returned to find that Omaha’s creatives were ready to put his business savvy to good use.
If you are a musician or an artist in town, you have likely crossed paths with Parker. Though he sits at the helm of a couple major operations and has his hands in even more, he is quick to state that nothing he does is a solo effort: “I have a very solid group of people surrounding me in every project that I’m doing. I really couldn’t do any of this without them.”
That collaborative vision is a thread weaving through all the enterprises Parker is involved with, from his role as co-founder of production company Perpetual Nerves, to his position as talent buyer for the music festival Lincoln Calling, to his work at Hi-Fi House, a vinyl record musicology lab/library (founded by Kate Dussault). Parker wants his ventures to foster connection and further the movement for social progress. His new music venue, Milk Run, is no exception.
Milk Run, which opened last fall, defines itself as an all-ages community space. Primarily hosting concerts, the site is on Leavenworth Street, tucked between Shucks and Club Vibe. On the front door is a yellow sign which reads “Safe Space,” signifying an inclusive ideology that welcomes all.
Stepping into Milk Run feels a bit like visiting your cool grandma’s house, with black and white walls and a string of lights behind the performance area. It is intimate, modest, and entirely unpretentious. The space invites you to be yourself.
Milk Run was founded on Parker’s desire, and that of his colleagues, to help grow Omaha’s music scene; he says they “wanted to see more bands come to town, including artists who are under the radar.” When asked whether he thinks Omaha is ready to support eccentric creators, his stance is confident: “There are a lot of people who want change.”
As with all of Parker’s projects, Milk Run does more than promote musicians. They also provide organizations like Omaha Zine Fest and Feminist Book Club with a space to meet when needed. “We get so many different kinds of people walking through these doors, I feel like I’m constantly learning.”
Ultimately, that’s what he cultivates: opportunities for folks to experience something new and to connect over live music. “It’s cool to see people come together. Omaha is an evolving city, and I want to be a part of that.” It is clear that Parker has already begun to influence our city’s evolution, pointing us toward a more dynamic future, one great show at a time.
Visit facebook.com/milkrunomaha or @milkrunomaha on Twitter, for more information. Encounter