Maha Music Festival CANCELED due to COVID-19…

Category: Blog — Tags: , — @ 12:13 pm April 7, 2020

by Tim McMahan,

The folks behind the Maha Music Festival today announced that they’re canceling the 2020 festival, scheduled for Aug. 7-8, because of COVID-19 concerns. Is anyone surprised by this?

No doubt we’ll be well out of quarantine by August, but everything else surrounding the festival depends on planning and faith in the unknown, from whether booked acts would continue to be available to organizing volunteers to sponsorships.

Lacking confirmation that a festival of this scale will be considered safe by public health officials in August, cancellation arose as the most viable option to preserve the annual event and organization as a whole,” said the Maha press release.

Executive Director Lauren Martin said if Maha had been forced to cancel after ticket sales started they might be in a position where they’d have to refund tickets after having spent the money. “Canceling now helps ensure that Maha can return in 2021, and for years to come,” Martin said in the press release.

No word on if Maha already had booked the festival’s acts, though you’d have to believe everything was all in place by now. The 2020 line-up will remain one of those great mysteries. Was this the year that Maha finally got Wilco or LCD Soundsystem or Arcade Fire or Bright Eyes? We’ll never know…

The news is just one more bummer in a list of COVID-related bummers knee-capping the Omaha music scene. Yes, it sucks that Maha isn’t happening, but it’ll be back next year. Maha is an established brand with a track record that any sponsor would be proud to support.

At this point I’m more concerned about the financial well-being of our local musicians, venues, recording studios and the rest of the creative ecosystem. What will be left when we emerge from our houses and apartments in late May/early June?

One thing we know for certain is that the nation will be in a fairly deep recession. For a lot of people, money will be tight. Not everyone is going to get their jobs back right away. And let’s face it, more than one of your favorite businesses and/or restaurants / bars won’t reopen.

The good news is there will be a new appreciation for live music, for bars and restaurants, for having fun as part of a community. The year 2020 is going to remembered as a dark, soundless void, but 2021 could emerge like spring after a long winter.

One last Maha-related thing: Omaha Lit Fest is still slated for the Blackstone District Aug. 5 & 6, and Maha has not ruled out the possibility to launch alternate programming later in 2020, as COVID will allow. I foresee a large fundraiser in the organization’s future…

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at — 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 © 2020 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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