by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
The last time I looked at the weather map, the forecast called for partly cloudy skies and temps in the mid-80s Saturday. I think it’s time you went ahead and bought those MAHA tickets. One thought that crossed my mind when writing this article: MAHA has 250+ volunteers. How many volunteers will there be on hand at Conor’s Concert for Equality in Benson, which could have nearly 3,000 people in attendance?
2010 MAHA Music Festival: All Systems Go
Omaha’s all-day indie music feast is slated for this Saturday.
With the second annual MAHA Music Festival a few days away, the only thing left for organizers to do is pray for sunshine.
Well that, and work out the kinks involved with organizing 250+ volunteers.
With a line-up that includes massively influential ’90s college rock band Superchunk, Omaha electro-dance punks The Faint, good-time alt-country rockers Old 97’s, singer/songwriter Ben Kweller, and headlined by indie powerhouse Spoon, tickets sales have been brisk.
“We already have sold more tickets than last year, and last year we sold two-thirds of our tickets the day of the show,” said MAHA organizer Tre Brashear last Saturday. He said that while their goal is to sell out the event — 6,000 tickets — their realistic expectations are to sell 4,500 tickets, adding that last year’s ticket sales totalled 3,000.
“We feel good about where we are,” Brashear said. “Selling out is a possibility. It would send a great message to our sponsors.” Those sponsors include presenting sponsor Alegent Health, main stage sponsor TD Ameritrade, and local stage sponsor Kum & Go.
Since this year’s line-up was announced in April, there have been a few ups and downs for Brashear and MAHA Festival organizers. On the upside: Immediate vindication that they choose the right bands. “No one has said a bad word (about the line-up), or said that we missed the mark,” he said. “Realistically, we did as well as we could, considering our budget and fiscal discipline. We wanted to make sure we didn’t spend more money than we could generate.”
But on the downside, only days after MAHA’s announcement, Des Moines’ two-day 80/35 Festival announced that it also would host Spoon as its headliner on July 3. “When we learned about it, it was ‘Holy Cow. This cannot be happening,'” Brashear said. “It is what it is. We’ll have better dialogue with 80/35 in the future. We agreed not to advertise our (festival) in Des Moines and they agreed to not advertise theirs here.”
Then just a couple weeks ago, Conor Oberst announced his Concert for Equality fund-raiser in Benson to be held the following Saturday, July 31. It will feature a plethora of classic Saddle Creek Records bands, including Bright Eyes and Cursive. Brashear brushed off any suggestion that it was “competition,” saying it only brings more awareness nationally to the area’s music scene. “Our job is to make sure people are aware of us, and don’t lose track of our event,” he said.
And with ticket sales reportedly going strong, apparently they haven’t. Now there’s just that little question regarding the weather. The MAHA Festival will go on rain or shine. There is no rain date and bands will perform — and get paid — no matter what the conditions.
“We’ve tried to cover every contingency,” Brashear said. “The weather is why we do this in July, and why we chose Lewis & Clark Landing as our site, where we don’t have drainage or mud issues. That area could handle a huge downpour in the morning and still be usable in the afternoon.”
Brashear suggested MAHA patrons bring a lawn chair, camera and sun block, but leave the coolers, pets and handguns at home. For those not taking advantage of the many food and drink vender options, bottles of water will be available for $2 that will be refilled for free all day, Brashear said. No outside food and drink are allowed.
The MAHA Music Festival is Saturday, July 24 at Lewis & Clark Landing, located directly east of Rick’s Cafe Boatyard, at 515 North Riverfront Drive, in downtown Omaha. Parking is open to the public in Gallup’s parking lots to the north (free) and Qwest Center’s Parking Lot A off of Riverfront Drive ($8/day). Advanced tickets are available for $33 at etix.com; tickets are $38 day of show.
Here’s the schedule:
Noon – Gates Open
TD Ameritrade Main Stage
1:15 – It’s True!
3:00 – Ben Kweller
4:45 – Old 97’s
6:35 – Superchunk
8:35 – The Faint
9:40 – Spoon
11:00 – Show Over.
Kum & Go Local Stage
12:30 – Voodoo Method
2:15 – Betsy Wells
4:00 – Landing On The Moon
5:55 – The Mynabirds
7:45 – Satchel Grande
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Tonight at Slowdown Jr., McAllen, Texas, indie band Dignan plays with The King and the Thief, Get Down and Skypiper. $10, 9 p.m. Meanwhile, over at The Waiting Room, Conchance and his hip-hop orchestra plays with Maxilla Blue and Rajeev Wins. $7, 9 p.m.
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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.