Tag Archives: Maha Music Festival

Don’t Come Undone

August 16, 2018 by

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Friday, August 17 to Saturday, August 18:  It is the 10th year for Omaha’s MAHA Music Festival, and they’re not holding back. With both local and international acts from across the musical spectrum—from R&B to country to, of course, indie rock—fans are guaranteed a good time. Plus, this year Maha joins forces with the well-established Big Omaha tech conference as the two entities celebrate the culture and creativity found in Omaha for a combined three-day event. Don’t forget to visit the Community Village—a collaboration with The Kim Foundation—to connect with local nonprofits such as Defy Ventures and Aqua Africa. You may just get inspired and get involved. Learn all about this  more-than-a-music festival here.

Friday, August 17th: What’s the best way to celebrate the fact that it’s still summer? With a block party, of course! The 33rd Friday Block Party: 30th Anniversary Edition is happening at Gifford Park. This is the 30th year for the event, so it is going to be big. Besides the regular Gifford Park Neighborhood Market, there will be live music, dancing, games and prizes, a bounce house, and so much more! Find out all about this event here. Learn more about the Gifford Park Neighborhood here.

Saturday, August 18: If MAHA doesn’t seem like your scene but you’d still like to get out and enjoy a day full of good music, head to the Jazz and R&B Festival at the Levi Carter Pavilion on Saturday. You can catch performances by saxophonist Walter Beasley, local musicians Ed Archibald & Friends, and Jazz In Pink, an all-star ensemble of musical women, as well as several other artists and entertainers. Gates open at 11 a.m. Get all the details here.

Saturday, August 18th: Yes, beer is still a thing. And you will find so much of it at the 2018 Great Nebraska Beer Fest this year. Taste brews from across the country—from Milton, Delaware, to Kailua Kona, Hawaii—including all your local favorites from small towns across Nebraska and Iowa. Celebrate all that makes craft beer great as you try the samples and learn from some of the best craft brewers around. Tap here to get the full rundown.

Sunday, August 19 and 26: Get your culture in this weekend at Worldfest at the Omaha Children’s Museum. Learn about the food, customs, and people of Omaha’s sister cities—Braunschweig, Germany; Siauliai, Lithuania; and Yantai, China, on the 19th and Naas, Ireland; Xalapa, Mexico; and Shizauka, Japan, on the 26th. Awesome activities will include making alpine hats and learning about Chinese knots. Of course, there will be food samples from each of the counties, including bratwurst and spätzle, butter cookies, and a variety of Asian food. Take a tour of all the upcoming fun the museum has to offer here.

 

Omaha Fashion Week

2017 July/August Concerts

Free Concert series

Enjoy an eclectic array of live music, including rock, R&B, blues, jazz, and county from local and national musicians. Located in some of Omaha’s most vibrant metro areas, these summer concert series are sure to get the whole family grooving.

• Bridge Beats (The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge Plaza, 705 Riverfront Dr.): 6-9:30 p.m. Fridays, July 14 and 28.

• Jazz on the Green (Turner Park in Midtown Crossing, 3110 Farnam St.): starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursdays through July and Aug. 3, 10.

• Music in the Park (Bayliss Park, 100 Pearl St. Council Bluffs, IA): 6-8:30 p.m. Thursdays through July and Aug. 3.

• Playing with Fire Festival (Turner Park in Midtown Crossing, 3110 Farnam St.): 5:30 p.m. July 14 and 4:30 p.m. July 15.

• Rockbrook Village (2800 S. 110th Court): 7-8 p.m. Fridays, except July 7.

• Sounds of Summer (Nebraska Medicine Amphitheater, Shadow Lake Town Center, 72nd St. and Highway 370): 6:30-8:30 p.m. Fridays through Aug. 18.

• Stinson Concert Series (Aksarben Village, 2285 S. 67th St.): 7-10 p.m. Saturdays July 8, 22, 29; and Aug. 5, 12.

• Vibes (Village Pointe, 17305 Davenport St.): 6:30-8:30 p.m. Saturdays through Aug. 19.

Awolnation: July 7 at Stir Cove, 1 Harrah’s Blvd., Council Bluffs. Alt-rock band Awolnation comes to Council Bluffs as part of Stir Cove’s summer concert series. 8 p.m. Tickets: $35-$98. 712-329-6000.
ticketmaster.com

Queen + Adam Lambert: July 8 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. Queen and Lambert’s collaboration began in 2009 on American Idol followed by many joint performances. Next up is this highly-anticipated 25-city summer arena tour. 8 p.m. Tickets: $27.50-$137.50. 402-341-1500.
ticketmaster.com

Conor Oberst (CANCELLED)July 13 at The Waiting Room Outdoors, 6212 Maple St. The Waiting Room Lounge will move outdoors for a unique concert experience in the heart of Benson. Conor Oberst has partnered with Plus1 and will donate $1 to Planned Parenthood for every ticket sold. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $30. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

AJR: July 16 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. Three brothers, born and raised in New York City, make up AJR–the independent band who writes, records, and produces all content in their living room. Their electro-pop single “I’m Ready,” has over 1 million YouTube views. 8 p.m. Tickets: $15 in advance, $18 at the door. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Blondie and Garbage: July 19 at Stir Cove, 1 Harrah’s Blvd, Council Bluffs. New-wave/punk band Blondie and alt-rock band Garbage come together for their “Rage and Rapture Tour.” 7 p.m. Tickets: $50-$178. 712-329-6000.
ticketmaster.com

Cody Johnson: July 20 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. A country singer from Texas, Cody Johnson has self-released six albums–the sixth, Gotta Be Me, debuted at No. 2 on Billboard’s country album chart. 8 p.m. Tickets: $18 in advance, $20 at the door. 402-345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Goo Goo Dolls: July 21 at Stir Cove, 1 Harrah’s Blvd, Council Bluffs. The grunge-rock icons behind “Iris” and “Give a Little Bit” are coming in promotion of the band’s latest album, Long Way Home. 8 p.m. Tickets: $45-$178. 712-329-6000.
ticketmaster.com

Nickelback: July 21 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. Join the Canadian multi-platinum rock band at their “Feed the Machine” tour with special guests Daughtry and Shaman’s Harvest. 7 p.m. Tickets: $27.50-$220. 402-341-1500.
ticketmaster.com

Dashboard Confessional & The All American Rejects: July 22 at Stir Cove, 1 Harrah’s Blvd, Council Bluffs. Want to know a “Dirty Little Secret”?  The All-American Rejects will let you in on one as they tour with Dashboard Confessional this summer. 8 p.m. Tickets: $39-$118. 712-329-6000.
ticketmaster.com

RiverJam 17: July 21-23 at Riverwest Park, 23301 W. Maple Road. The fifth installment of the summertime classic will bring bands and DJ performances, with  local headliners to include Linear Symmetry, Funk Trek, and Peach Truck (an Allman Brothers tribute). Friday: 2 p.m., Saturday: 9 a.m. Admission (includes camping): $25 weekend pass, $15 day pass. 402-953-4731.
riverwestpark.com

Paul McCartney: July 23 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. The “One on One” tour features dozens of classics from one of the most beloved catalogs in popular music, spanning McCartney’s entire career as a solo artist, member of Wings, and of course, as a Beatle. 8 p.m. Tickets: $97.50-$250. 402-341-1500.
ticketmaster.com

Come Together: A Musical Celebration of the Beatles: July 29 at Village Pointe, 17305 Davenport St. Bring your lawn chair and arrive early to get a good seat. Come Together: A Musical Celebration of the Beatles plays non-stop to give the concertgoers as many of their favorite tunes from The Beatles as possible. Free. 6:30-8:30 p.m. 402-505-9773.
villagepointeshopping.com

Tempo of Twilight Concert Series: Through Aug. 1 at Lauritzen Gardens, 100 Bancroft St. This outdoor concert series brings a spectacular lineup of local entertainment to the garden for a harmonious blend of music and nature. 6-8 p.m. Admission: $10 adults, $5 children (6-12), free for under 6 and members. 402-346-4002.
lauritzengardens.org

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo: Aug 4. at Stir Cove, 1 Harrah’s Blvd, Council Bluffs. The “Love is a Battlefield” singer teams up with longtime collaborator Neil Giraldo for a summer tour. 8 p.m. Tickets: $40-$128. 712-329-6000.
ticketmaster.com

Lady Antebellum: Aug. 4 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. The country music group is on the road again for their “You Look Good Tour 2017,” featuring special guests Kelsea Ballerini and Brett Young. 7:30 p.m. $28.50-$119. 402-341-1500.
ticketmaster.com

Shawn Mendes: Aug. 5 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. On his third concert tour, join the 18-year-old Canadian singer and songwriter in support of his second studio album, Illuminate, on his “Illuminate World Tour” with special guest Charlie Puth. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $18-$65.50. 402-341-1500.
ticketmaster.com

Delta Rae: Aug. 8 at The Waiting Room, 6212 Maple St. From Durham, North Carolina, the six-piece American folk rock band has headlined more than 100 shows each year and are regulars on the festival circuit since forming in 2009. 8 p.m. Tickets: $16-$20. 402-884-5353.
waitingroomlounge.com

Sylvan Esso: Aug. 8 at Sokol Auditorium, 2234 S. 13th St. Sylvan Esso formed in 2013. From Durham, North Carolina, the duo is made up of singer Amelia Meath and producer Nick Sanborn. Their sophomore album, What Now, was released April 28. 8 p.m. Tickets: $21 in advance, $23 day of show. 402-346-9802.
sylvanesso.com

Young the Giant: Aug. 8 at SumTur Amphitheater, 11691 S. 108th St. After breaking out with their 2010 self-titled debut album, the Los Angeles quintet continues to brave new terrain with their wildly eclectic arrangements. Special guests will include Cold War Kids and Joywave. 7 p.m. Tickets: $33. 402-597-2065.
sumtur.org

Green Day: Aug. 12 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Grammy-winning rock band will kick off its summer tour in August, featuring their latest album Revolution Radio—which included the No. 1 single, “Bang Bang.” 7 p.m. Tickets: $27.50-$250. 402-341-1500.
ticketmaster.com

Blues Cruise with Swampboy Blues Band: Aug. 13 at River City Star, 151 Freedom Park Road. Soak up the local scenery along the Missouri River at a fun, lively pace with a drink in hand and live blues music as a soundtrack. 3-5 p.m. Tickets: $20. 402-342-7827.
rivercitystar.com

Coldplay: Aug. 14 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. Join the seven-time Grammy-winning, British alternative rock band on their seventh concert tour, the “A Head Full of Dreams Tour.” 7 p.m. Tickets: $67.50-$223. 402-341-1500.
ticketmaster.com

City and Colour: Aug. 16 at Slowdown, 729 N. 14th St. City and Colour, aka world-renowned singer, songwriter, and performer Dallas Green, has traveled the globe on tour and has released numerous successful albums. Most recently, he released his acclaimed fifth studio record, If I Should Go Before You, which debuted at No. 16 on the Billboard 200 Chart. Tickets: $35 in advance, $40 at the door. 8 p.m. 345-7569.
theslowdown.com

Lady Gaga: Aug. 19 at CenturyLink Center Omaha, 455 N. 10th St. Following her Super Bowl performance, the international superstar brings her world tour, “Joanne,” to Omaha. 7:30 p.m. Tickets: $86-$250. 402-341-1500.
ticketmaster.com

Maha Music Festival: Aug. 19 at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village, 2285 S. 67th St. Omaha’s one-of-a-kind, annual nonprofit indie music festival is back with headliners Run The Jewels and 10 other acts, including Belle and Sebastian, The Faint, Sleigh Bells, and more. Noon-midnight. Tickets: $55 general admission. 402-554-3689.
mahamusicfestival.com


This calendar is published as shown in the print edition.

We welcome you to submit events to our print calendar. Please email event details and a 300 ppi photograph three months in advance to: editintern@omahamagazine.com


*Times and details for any event may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

CJ Mills

December 23, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

On a fresh autumn night, chatter filled a Lincoln home-turned-music-venue. A few guests trickled through the front door. “No big deal,” CJ Mills thought. It was just a handful of people. Moments later, more appeared. The trickle turned to a flood. All of a sudden, there were 80 people jam-packed against the makeshift stage.

An astonished Mills stood two feet from the standing-room-only crowd. “I couldn’t breathe,” recalls the 31-year-old singer from Omaha. “I went out the side door to take a few deep breaths.”

The moment was surreal.

This was all new to her. The jam-packed house party. The live acoustic sessions. The impromptu performances and scheduled studio time.

Life as a new musician moves fast—a constant hustle.

Three years earlier, Mills (a self-proclaimed introvert) could have never fathomed performing in front of other people. Yet, her soulful, bluesy-folk voice has garnered quite the reputation as a crowd-pleaser. Singing her most cherished words—short poems in lyrical form—only heightened the level of intimacy.

cjmills1Mills has a profound gift for turning raw expressions of human frailness into something bordering on sacred. There’s something about her voice that commands complete attention. She can make a song cry.

She began singing in church as a young child. “I had always been singing since I was a kid. My family was very religious…Because I could sing, I was always made to,” says Mills, who began writing poetry during her early years.

“As a kid, I was huge into reading,” she says. “When I did something well, my mom would take me to the library or buy me a book.”

Soon after, Mills felt compelled to write her own short stories, which turned into poetry she later sang. That was, perhaps, her earliest simultaneous personal and artistic growth.

As a teen, singing wasn’t much of a highlight. She attended Marian High School, then ran track at Kansas State University, but was injured her junior year. While weightlifting, she squatted heavy one day and suffered a bulging disc. “Only time heals that wound,” she says.

Six months to be exact. With all the down time, she saw a decorative ukulele and taught herself how to play. She progressed to a guitar rather quickly. “I didn’t like the way it was strung,” she says of the first right-handed guitar she purchased, “so I flipped it upside down and restrung it so I could play it left-handed.”

Ambidexterity is kind of her thing. “I’m pretty even-handed. I write with both hands,” she says. “[But] I could not play that guitar. I don’t know why. Seemed so odd to me. After a month of trying, I Googled how to restring it.”

In terms of playing chords, she learned by listening to others. She was influenced by the stylings of Lauryn Hill, India.Arie, and Tracy Chapman. “Simple chords, yet, powerful lyrics,” she says. Their music spoke volumes to how Mills hoped to be perceived as an artist someday. Writing songs was a natural next step.

Mills graduated from college, then went on to the workforce. She became a health inspector, not the restaurant kind. More like the Breaking Bad kind. Off stage, she has been sent to investigate meth labs.

Mills has been playing live music for about three years, and with a band for one year. The band—featuring Mitch Towne, David Hawkins, and Max Stehr—has been a great collaboration of like minds, she says.

Mills began to develop her own individual style after college. Blending a mixture of reggae, folk storytelling, jazz melodies, and atmospheric harmonies. She performed her first show at Pizza Shoppe Collective in December 2013. There, she met All Young Girls Are Machine Guns frontwoman Rebecca Lowry, who took to Mills. She asked her to take the stage with her at a local venue.

Now for the whirlwind. Mills released her illuminating debut EP Quiet in 2015, which appeared on multiple lists of the year’s best Nebraska releases. She played the inaugural Femme Fest (organized by Lowry) that same year and returned as the festival’s headliner on Sept. 2.

Since then, Mills has stayed busy playing shows in Omaha and Lincoln. The music newcomer was featured at this year’s Maha Music Festival. Most notably, Mills was nominated for two Omaha Entertainment and Arts Awards: Best Singer-Songwriter and Artist of the Year.

Although she’s insanely talented, she’s modest and humble. “The only time I feel comfortable with music is when I’m by myself creating music or on stage playing it,” she says.

Back to that special autumn night. Mills turned that ordinary Lincoln house party into a musical theater.

She composed herself before stepping back on stage, frenetically rapping as she moved through her song “Retail Star” before launching into “I Can’t Be.”

Visit soundcloud.com/cjmillsmusic for more information.

cjmillscover

Maha Music Festival 2013

June 20, 2013 by

It’s hard to believe the Maha Music Festival will celebrate its fifth anniversary this year. First held in 2009 at the Lewis & Clark Landing in Downtown Omaha, the all-day outdoor indie rock festival moved to Stinson Park at Aksarben Village in 2011, where it remains today. Each year, the event expands and evolves into a bigger musical machine than it was the year before.

Even more surprisingly, Maha is a nonprofit endeavor, run strictly by volunteers and supported by a host of generous corporate sponsors, including Centris Federal Credit Union, Weitz Investment Management, Schnackel Engineers, and 20 other local and national companies. The event is built on a love for the Omaha community and a passion for music. But that doesn’t mean it’s an easy feat. Maha Board President Tre Brashear admits he didn’t exactly know what he was getting into when it first began.

Photo by Chip Duden.

Photo by Chip Duden.

“I jokingly say if we knew how much work [Maha] was going to be, we probably would have never done it in the first place,” Brashear says. “But once it gets in your blood a little bit, you want to make it better and better so it keeps going. It was hard to explain to our families that we weren’t making any money [laughs].”

This year’s music lineup announcement sent shockwaves through the Omaha community when people got word The Flaming Lips were headlining the August 17 event. Lips’ frontman Wayne Coyne and his wild, gray-streaked Afro are all over television lately, with Coyne serving as the spokesperson for Virgin Mobile. Not only are The Flaming Lips huge right now, they’re also the most expensive act Maha has ever booked. The organizers spent 25 percent more on talent this year than last, Brashear shares.

Photo by Josh Hollowell.

Photo by Josh Hollowell.

The initial Maha concept was to generate enough profit from the event to donate to various nonprofit organizations around the community; so far, that hasn’t happened. But the Maha committee is determined to make that goal a reality. With The Flaming Lips headlining and prolific artists such as Matt & Kim, The Thermals, and Bob Mould (Sugar) rounding out the bill, Brashear is hopeful this is the year.

“We thought we’d come out gangbusters out of the gate, but we didn’t do that,” he says. “We’re trying to get enough money to put aside so we know Maha is safe and will continue on, even if it rains or nobody likes the headliners. We are slowly getting there, but it’s not to the point we can distribute anything [to nonprofits] yet.”

Despite the challenges, Maha always has an eye on the future. Hip-Hop has been noticeably absent over the years, and the festival also seems a bit confined with just one day of performances.

“Our vision for Maha is to have multiple days on a weekend,” Brashear explains. “We want to be able to expand to different genres. We still want to be true to all of our indie fans that have grown up with us, but we’re not trying to only be this indie music festival. We want to go beyond that.”

Tickets for the Maha Music Festival are available for purchase online at mahamusicfestival.com. Advanced general admission tickets are $45, and day-of general admission tickets are $55.