Lazy-i Interview: The Both (Aimee Mann & Ted Leo); Maha: The Head Vs. The Heart (in the column)…

Category: Blog,Column,Interviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:57 pm August 14, 2014
The Both = Aimee Mann + Ted Leo. They're playing at Saturday's Maha Music Festival.

The Both = Aimee Mann + Ted Leo. They’re playing at Saturday’s Maha Music Festival.

by Tim McMahan,

The Maha Music Festival pre-coverage is hitting the streets today, including the stuff I worked on for The Reader.

Every year I do one Q&A with one of the traveling Maha artist, and this year it was with Aimee Mann and Ted Leo of The Both. Among the questions asked:

  • – Is playing together everything you dreamed it would be?
  • – Are you creating something with a new fan base or building on your solo fan bases?
  • – During the songwriting phase, Aimee, did you ask Ted to throttle back / Ted, did you ask Aimee to ramp it up?
  • – Aimee, did you foresee the decline of the music industry when you created your own record label in ’99?
  • – What do you think of Kickstarter?

And the question I was most interested in asking:

  • – Aimee, I have to ask a two-part Magnolia question: 1) What did you think when PT Anderson had the characters sing the lines to “Wise Up,” and 2) What did you think the first time you saw it in the finished film?

And so on. You can read the answers to those questions and more in this week’s issue of The Reader, or online right here.

Aimee and Ted were a lot of fun to interview, especially Ted, who reminisced about past shows he’s played in Omaha and how lousy they were. Leo came through with Dismemberment Plan in 2001, as a headliner at Sokol Underground in 2003, and opened for Against Me at Slowdown in 2008. He always puts on a great show, whether he thinks he does or not.

I have not had the best shows of my life in Omaha, and that’s not inflective of Omaha per se,” he said. “There’s so many factors that come together like a perfect crap storm to make a show crappy, there are so many moving parts and every day you’re on tour, you can’t blame it on one thing. I’m happy to be back in this context with Aimee at the Maha festival.”

This is the first time Aimee Mann’s been to Omaha, and she had no preconceptions about our fair city.  “I’ve heard nothing (about Omaha), so it’s a lovely clean slate,” Mann said. “The reason any musician doesn’t or does go to a town or area has nothing to do with personal preference, it’s all about the promoter or booking agent. If there’s not a promoter that thinks that people will come to see you, you don’t show up at that town.

Go read the interview. It’s long.

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In other Maha news, my column this week focuses on the future of summer music festivals and how Maha fits into the equation. For perspective, I interviewed Tre Brashear, one of Maha’s founders, about the challenges he and his team face putting the festival together every year, and where he thinks Maha is headed. You can also read that in The Reader or online right here.

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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 © 2014 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Where to now, Maha? (in the column) and one guy’s view of where it should go…

Category: Blog,Column — Tags: , — @ 12:42 pm August 16, 2012

by Tim McMahan,

The Maha Blackbird

The Maha Blackbird

In this week’s column, sizing up Maha and getting a bead on its future from Maha organizer Tre Brashear. With this year’s record crowd, does the festival have room to grow or will it be content being a one-day concert event? Read it in this week’s issue of The Reader or online right here.

Some other thoughts about Maha…

One of the most successful things about this year’s festival had nothing to do with the performances. Two years ago, no one knew what Maha looked like. This year with the help of Oxide Design, Maha became a recognizable brand that resonates with its audience. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like that blackbird emblem. You don’t get 40 people tattooing that symbol on their bodies unless they think it’s cool. It looks good on posters on T-shirts on everything and I have a feeling we’re going to see it all over town all year ’round. I don’t know what it cost the Maha folks, but it was worth every penny. Maha now has a graphic identity, and I can’t even begin to tell you how important that is.

In its fourth year, Maha took its first real step in defining itself. As successful as it was, Maha can’t be satisfied with merely repeating what it accomplished this year. If year five is just another one-afternoon/evening concert event it’ll be wasting any momentum gained last weekend. They’ve got to do something different and better in 2013.  So what would I do if I was running Maha and didn’t have to concern myself with such things as budgets and schedules and sponsors and vendors and the legacy the festival has built?

Raise the ticket price. If what they’re saying is true, Maha is henpecked by its thirty-something-dollar ticket price when it comes to being able to draw larger-name band(s). Price the festival in conjunction with what your biggest name’s tickets would sell for. Jane’s Addiction is $45-$65. Morrissey is $55+. We gladly pay for these shows that feature really only one band (We don’t even think about who’s opening). With Maha, you could pay for the headliner and get the rest of the festival for free. That’s a good deal, especially if you’ve got a couple additional kick-ass bands on the docket.

Ease into expansion. When they talk about goals, the Maha folks rarely mention attendance numbers; instead they talk about wanting to expand the festival to a full weekend. What’s the easiest way to expand Maha to two days? Start it the night before. Book the park for two (or three) days. Set up the stages on Day One and work the bugs out of the system by hosting an evening of bands the night before the main day. Maybe only use the small stage. Bring in the vendors; open the beer garden. Make it a pre-show party from 7 to 11. Get people psyched about tomorrow. You might even sell some more tickets to the big show. (And yes, get a headliner for the preview night, and charge for it. Sell a package that gets you into both.)

Decide on a theme. The Maha folks seem to have more luck booking legacy indie acts than current indie high fliers. Look at the past four years of headliners; Garbage (’90s band), GBV (’90s band), Superchunk/Spoon (’90s bands) Dashboard Confessional (dreadful ’90s band). I see a theme here, and it ain’t necessarily a bad one. To my knowledge, there’s no festival that’s declared itself as “thee” national classic indie rock festival. Maha could be that festival. We’re talking booking ’90s legends like The Pixies, Pavement, Cat Power, Sonic Youth, Dead Can Dance, Ride, Daft Punk, Pulp, Jesus Lizard, Stereolab, Weezer, Portishead, GYBE, Aphex Twin Cocteau Twins, Sugar/Bob Mould, Magnetic Fields, Built to Spill, Chavez, Jeff Mangum/NMH, The Lips, friggin’ Fugazi, heck just about anyone on Matador / Touch and Go / Sub Pop / Merge / Mute / Thrill Jockey / 4AD / Drag City from the ’90s (or before), The trick, of course, is getting more than one, and market them as if they were gods.

And no, I’m not suggesting this because I’m an old guy who likes “his music.” If given a choice between listening to a new album recommended by Chris Aponick or Jeff Runnings or that scores high on Album of the Year versus listening to a ’90s album I’ll pick the new album every time. The fact is that  Lolla, ATP, Pitchforkfest, Coachella and SXSW have cornered the market on attracting the hottest new indie acts (not to mention all the UK festivals). There’s only so many weekends per summer and you’re never going to be able to compete with those huge festivals for those weekends. But as Maha has proven, they can get the ’90s bands. And believe me, folks in their 30s and 40s will take time off work and travel if they think they’re getting something that can’t get anywhere else.

Reunited (and it feels so good). To coincide with that ’90s theme, host at least one, if not two, classic Omaha or Lincoln band reunions. Think about the possibilities: Mousetrap, Sideshow, Ritual Device, Secret Skin, Cellophane Ceiling, Digital Sex, Grasshopper Takeover/The Kind, Secret Skin, Cactus Nerve Thang, Culture Fire, Commander Venus, Fullblown. A one-time reunion of one of these bands would actually sell tickets versus Maha’s current model, which places bands that play regularly around town on the second stage. Icky Blossoms was awesome and one of my favorite performances from this year’s festival. They’re also playing Sunday night at Slowdown.

Get them there early. I know I know I know I know — no “headliner”-quality band wants to play at 2 p.m. You’ve got all this money riding on a band, you can’t afford to waste it by putting them on stage to play for crickets. I’m just saying, for one year, try it. Maybe you can get a band headed to Lawrence or KC willing to play an early afternoon show on their way to Missouri. Imagine how much your vendors would appreciate have a few thousand people in the park at 2 p.m.

What else?

I realize this was their fourth year, but in a lot of ways, this was Year 1 for Maha. It’s emerged with a new identity and is riding a wave of success. The organizers are going to face some big decisions in the coming months that will determine if Maha will become the festival that they want it to be, or will remain just another concert in the park…

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Maha 2012 goes Girl Power (Dum Dum Girls, Delta Spirit, Eli Mardock added), fest reports strong early ticket sales…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , — @ 12:40 pm May 7, 2012

by Tim McMahan,

Maha LogoLast year the Maha Music Festival was something of a sausage party. No matter what organizers tried, they couldn’t book a main stage band with even a single female member let alone a frontwoman. This year, Maha is practically a Midwestern Lilith Fair, with co-headliner Garbage (with frontwoman Shirley Manson) and now the all-woman Sub Pop post-punk rock band Dum Dum Girls, announced last night along with Delta Spirit and Eli Mardock. Add to that Icky Blossoms headlining the local stage featuring the sultry vocals of Sarah Bohling (along with rumors of another female-fronted band on the local stage) and holy moly it’s Maha Girls Rock.

So did Maha go out of its way to book a more diverse lineup?

“It wasn’t our overarching concern, but it certainly was a focus,” said Maha main stage organizer Tre Brashear. “(We) wanted to make sure we secured some female performers at the beginning of the lineup process so we didn’t end up getting burned like last year with unavailability when it came time to finish out the lineup. I know it sounds simplistic, but last year the list of available performers that came back from our inquiries didn’t have as many females. This year, there were more choices that we thought would be appealing to Maha fans.”

Yesterday’s announcement also adds diversity from an age demographic perspective. Maha was on the verge of becoming an indie legacy festival, with Guided by Voices and Superchunk in years past and Garbage and Desparecidos this year — a veritable tribute to past decades. Yesterday’s announcement changes all of that. Dum Dum Girls, who will be coming off an appearance at this year’s Lollapalooza Fest, and Rounder recording artist Delta Spirit, are among the hotter new indie acts on tour, while Icky Blossoms is an emerging post-punk-dance-rock dynamo.

Fans seem to like the lineup, if strong early ticket sales are any indication. “We are running 80% ahead of 2010, so, yes, very strong considering that we have traditionally gotten 10-20% of our sales on the day of show,” Brashear said. “VIP tickets are also going well, especially with the out-of-towners. (We) sold one in Australia last Friday.”

For Maha to “sell out,” it would need to nearly double last year’s attendance. “We will treat ourselves as sold out at 6,000 GA tickets,” Brashear said of Stinson Park’s capacity. “(We) could likely sell more for that space, but don’t want to overwhelm ourselves and want to make sure that we create a good experience for everyone attending with space to spread out, parking, etc.” Tickets to the Aug. 11 concert, held at Stinson Park, are $35 and available at

Maha announcements aren’t over yet. Look for one more announcement in the near future to round out the festival’s lineup. Can the multi-million dollar Red Sky Festival match up to Maha? Guess it all depends on how much you like C&W and hair metal. MECA just announced three of its four headliners: Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and Def Leppard. Yee-hawwww!

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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 © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


MAHA is making its list, books Stinson for ’12; Org Music Confirms Capgun signing; They Might Be Giants tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: , , , — @ 1:19 pm November 1, 2011

by Tim McMahan,

MAHA logo

A couple weeks ago, the folks at MAHA announced on their Facebook page that they’ve booked Stinson Park at Aksarben Village for the 2012 MAHA Music Festival, scheduled for Aug. 11. In addition to that, MAHA organizer Tre Brashear said they’ve already started sorting through the bands they’d like to book for the festival.

“We’ve got a tentative list started (always subject to change),” Brashear said, adding that the promoter will begin contacting the bands’  agents later this month. “(We’re) going to tell them, ‘Hey, we’d like to have you, so please let us know when you’re ready to start lining up your summer schedule.’ (We) want to get our interest established earlier than January, which is when we’ve started the last two years. Doesn’t mean we’ll be able to afford everyone on our wish list, but don’t know pricing or availability until you ask.”

Among the bands on their wish list: Death Cab for Cutie, Feist, Regina Spektor and Wilco, who would be the ultimate get. There are a lot of Wilco fans ’round these parts, and competition to get the band is going to be fierce.

Brashear said using Stinson Park again in 2012 was an “easy decision” because fan response to the venue was so overwhelmingly positive. I agree with them. Stinson Park is hands-down a better venue than Lewis & Clark Landing for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which are its central location and overall comfort — I’d much rather sit in grass than sit on pavement.

* * *
From Andrew Rossiter at Org Music:

“I came across your post about Capgun Coup signing to Org Music. It’s absolutely true, and we couldn’t be more excited to have them. Details about the new album release are still being confirmed, but it will definitely be out in 2012, and it’s fantastic. We haven’t posted anything official on our website, as we’re in the process of building a new one, which should be up in the next 3-4 weeks.”

Org’s signing of Capgun Coup is indeed a coup for a label that already counts 400 Blows among the bands on its roster.

Check out Capgun’s new video for “Claire Doesn’t Care” at YouTube.

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Tonight at The Slowdown They Might Be Giants takes the stage with opener Gold Motel. The band is celebrating the release of its new 18-song album Join Us, and their 30th year of performances. $23, 8 p.m.

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Column 336: All Systems Go for MAHA; Tim Kasher instore tonight (Feldman show Saturday); Lincoln Calling lineup announced; Lepers, KMFDM tonight…

Category: Blog,Column,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:37 pm August 11, 2011

Column 336: All Systems Go for MAHA

by Tim McMahan,

MAHA Music Festival 2011

When the first band takes the stage at this year’s MAHA Music Festival (at exactly 12:30 p.m. this Saturday), event organizers can take pride in knowing they’ve pulled together a program that not only tops last year’s event, but also establishes itself as the area’s premiere indie music festival.

Lord knows, it wasn’t easy. Along the way, their difficult path was filled with unexpected turns, frustrating indecisiveness, and last-minute demands. And though everything is in place just days before show time, as is the case with any outdoor festival its success is far from guaranteed — even the best-made plans mean nothing in the face of monsoon rains.

But why even consider such a bleak possibility?

Regardless of the weather, they’ve got a lot to be proud of. Saturday’s MAHA concert will mark the third-to-last appearance ever of Guided By Voices , as well as a reunion of the original Cursive lineup (with powerhouse Clint Schnase on drums) and a rare Midwestern festival appearance by J Mascis of Dinosaur Jr. It’s going to be a veritable smorgasbord of classic indie rock.

On the downside: You won’t see a single female musician on stage the entire afternoon. Not one. It’s a fact that MAHA organizer Tre Brashear said couldn’t be avoided, despite all of their efforts.

“Realistically, I think it shows how in demand female performers are,” he said of the scheduling challenge. “We made several offers (to female-fronted bands) because we think it’s important, but just couldn’t get it done. Looking back, the time we ‘lost’ waiting for commitments that didn’t happen impacted our ability to secure female artists, because those female artists were committing to other shows during that time.”

In fact, Brashear said dealing with indecisive bands was the hardest part of piecing together this year’s program. “We received several tentative commitments that ended up backing out,” he said.

In the end, he was more than satisfied with the final lineup, so much so that this year MAHA marketed beyond the city limits. “We have advertised more nationally,” Brashear said. “Also, our street team work has been much more regional, with people at the 80/35 Festival, Pitchfork, Lollapalooza and Kanrocksas.”

But despite the extra marketing, ticket sales are “pretty comparable” to last year at this time, he said. “Although this is also when we see a surge, after people have seen the weather forecast and know that they have no other conflicts that weekend.”

Brashear said ticket sales comprise roughly half of MAHA’s revenue, with sponsors filling in the other half. “We don’t have a set number of tickets that we have to (sell) to keep doing MAHA, but sales do matter in terms of showing that this whole effort is ‘worth it,'” he said.

Keep in mind that MAHA is the product of a nonprofit organization — it isn’t designed to make money. The goal always has been to fill a void in the local music calendar for an indie rock festival. However, organizers don’t want to lose money, either.

“Since we started doing this, much has changed,” Brashear said. “There’s Kansrocksas, Red Sky, indie shows at Stir, increased success by 1% (Productions). Heck, even Hullabaloo (held last week at River West Park) is meeting a need for ‘camping and music,’ Given all that, ticket sales matter because they show that people like our event and think it is different than what is out there. Positive comments in social media are nice, but people ‘vote’ with their money.”

They also vote with sponsorships. MAHA continues to attract support from some of the area’s largest companies, including TD Ameritrade (main stage sponsor), Kum & Go (local stage sponsor) and Weitz Funds. This year Whole Foods joined the project as a sponsor, vendor, even filling the bands’ riders.

That extra help will come in handy, as the seemingly unending Missouri River floods forced the event from its former home at Lewis & Clark Landing to Stinson Park at Aksarben Village. Despite the benefit of Stinson’s fixed stage, the move from the Landing will mean higher costs for things like fencing, generators and overnight labor (everything has to be cleared out by Sunday morning, in time for the weekly Farmer’s Market).

Helping them figure out how to pull it off was last month’s Playing With Fire concert that featured Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings — an event that also had been moved from Lewis & Clark Landing to Stinson Park. By watching PWF, Brashear and his team not only saw how their event could look and sound, they saw ways to improve on PWF’s event design.

“We learned that you need to work to integrate the east side of the area so it doesn’t get ‘forgotten’ with all the activity on the north and west ends,” Brashear said. “We also learned that the park is so big that you need to have a satellite beer/drink stand.”

As a result, MAHA is moving the entrance and the drink ticket windows to the northeast corner of the park, on Mercy Street, forcing patrons to walk past the vendors, which this year includes Mangia Italiana, Parthenon and eCreamery. Featured nonprofit organizations, such as Omaha Girls Rock, Joslyn Art Museum and Omaha Public Library, will see their tents located on the park’s east end to improve foot traffic in that area.

“As for the satellite drink stand, we’ll have one located along the south side, in addition to the primary tent on Mercy Street,” Brashear said. Refreshments will include Lucky Bucket Lager and IPA, PBR, Coors Light, Mike’s Hard Lemonade, three kinds of premade mixed drinks, and for you teetotalers, Pepsi products, Red Bull, iced tea and bottled water.

Sounds like they got it all covered. Even Accuweather is predicting 82 and sunny. Will it be a record year for MAHA? Buy a ticket and find out.

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That ol boy Tim Kasher is awful busy these days. He and his cohorts in Cursive are working on a new record and will be playing the MAHA Music Festival Saturday night. At the same time, he’s promoting a new EP, Bigamy: More Songs From The Monogamy Sessions, with a free in-store performance at the brand-spanking new Saddle Creek Shop (located in the Slowdown compound) this evening at 7 p.m. (where you’ll be able to pick up your copy of the EP five days before anyone else).

Omaha World-Herald‘s Kevin Coffey has a super-keen Q&A with TK about his ongoing projects as well as a new Good Life album, right here.

And if that weren’t enough, Kasher also is going to be a guest on Michael Feldman’s Whad’Ya Know, which tapes live this Saturday, 10 a.m. to noon, at the Holland Performing Arts Center. You can listen to the program live on KIOS 91.5 FM, Omaha’s NPR affiliate. If you’ve never listened to the show, it’s mostly Feldman chatting with the audience, a couple call-in current events quizzes, witty banter with his traveling band and, for the road version of the show, interviews with local celebs — in this case Kasher. I don’t know if TK will be performing as part of this gig, but based on how Feldman has presented past guests, it’s unlikely. Tickets are available to the taping for $25 to $25 at

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The next annual (what is this, seventh annual?) Lincoln Calling Festival initial lineup was announced last night. The event, which is held in bars throughout downtown Lincoln, will be held Oct. 11-15.

Festival organizer (and unofficial mayor of Lincoln) Jeremy Buckley said he had to throttle back this year’s lineup after losing Scion as a sponsor (due to the tsunami in Japan). The full lineup is available on the event’s Facebook page, right here, but highlights include Icky Blossoms, Conduits, Little Brazil, Talking Mountain and Ideal Cleaners. More info to come.

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Much to do tonight.

At O’Leaver’s, The Lepers headline a show with Snake Island and a band called Digger (one assumes, named after a certain foot fungus mascot). $5, 9:30 p.m.

Down at Slowdown in the big room it’s industrial pioneers KMFDM along with Army of the Universe, 16 Volt and Human Factors Lab. $25 and an early 8 p.m. start. Bring your earplugs.

And finally, Bluebird is playing on the newly christened Mojo Smokehouse stage (actually, I don’t even know if they have a stage or not, they do have pretty good sliders) located in Aksarben Village (right next to the movie theater). With Chicago’s Machinegun Mojo; 10 p.m., $5.

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.


Fencing Out the Freeloaders: MAHA talks about its move to Stinson Park / Aksarben Village…

Category: Blog,Interviews — Tags: , , , — @ 12:53 pm July 6, 2011

by Tim McMahan,

Yesterday’s blog post that talked about Playing With Fire’s move to Aksarben Village now also applies to the MAHA Music Festival. MAHA organizers announced yesterday afternoon that they’re following PWF’s lead and moving to Stinson Park / Aksarben Village for their Aug. 13 event.

There is a major difference between these two events, however. Playing With Fire is a free concert. The MAHA Music Festival is a $30 ticket. How does MAHA keep freeloaders from just watching and listening from the sidelines? That was one of the questions posed to MAHA Festival organizer Tre Brashear.  And here are his answers:

The view from the fixed stage at Stinson Park / Aksarben Village.

The view from the fixed stage at Stinson Park / Aksarben Village.

Lazy-i: I assume there will be a fence that surrounds the Stinson Park compound? Will it circle just the park area?

Brashear: Yes, we will have an 8- foot-high privacy fence (i.e., can’t see through) that will encircle the entirety of the park (including Center St. and Papio Creek sides).  However, we will expand fence to include Mercy St. between Aksarben Dr. and 67th St. so that that portion of the street will be part of the MAHA grounds.

How will you be able to keep freeloaders from simply watching/listening to the concert from outside the fence?

First and foremost, we’ve tried to keep our ticket price low enough that people can afford to attend.  After all, part of the festival experience comes from being in the crowd, feeling the energy, dancing with your friends, etc., so standing around listening will never be as good as being there.  Also, given our nonprofit status, we are hopeful that people will “want” to actually buy a ticket in order to be supportive and help us grow the event in future years.

That said, we are realists and know that people will always look for a chance to take advantage, but we’ve spent enough time at the site and evaluating the sight lines that we feel comfortable that the 8-foot fence will prevent anyone from being able to watch the show without paying.  As for listening, we can’t prevent that.  However, people who are content merely to listen probably weren’t going to buy a ticket anyway.

Will you be able to block off Mercy St. for the event? Where do you intend to set up vendors?

Yes, Mercy St. will be fenced in and included as part of the festival grounds between Aksarben Dr. and 67th St.  Part of the street will be used for our production activities and the other part will house some of our vendor and sponsor tents.

Have you brokered deals for parking either at UNO or in the parking garages?

We have access to the entire parking garage immediately to the east of the park as well as an open area to the northeast, so we will have enough parking for everyone within two blocks of the festival.  Also, the fact that Aksarben Village is both on a bike trail and within walking distance for many of our fans will cut down on some of our parking needs.

Is there a forced noise ordinance to deal with? A concert cut-off time?

There is no noise ordinance specifically.  Only specific requirement is that we be done by 11 p.m., which would be the same anywhere we went within city limits, so that is when the show will end.

Lighting/PA-wise, what will you need to bring in to make it work?

From a music/lighting/performance standpoint, we are going to have bring in all the same equipment that we had to bring in at the Landing, so that’s not a big change.  However, we are upgrading our local stage from last year with better sound and lighting and inclusion of a roof and backdrop.

What’s the biggest challenge about making Stinson work for MAHA?

Besides the general need to encourage people to buy a ticket and not plan to freeload, we suspect our biggest challenge will come after the show is over because we have to have everything cleaned up and moved out before the Aksarben Village Farmer’s Market on Sunday morning.  We can do it (or we wouldn’t be there), but it’s certainly going to be a hassle and make for a long night.

With an expected crowd about half the size of PWF’s, MAHA probably won’t have to worry about getting everyone comfortably inside that 8-foot-high fence. In fact, MAHA will have the advantage of learning from whatever mistakes PWF makes at its show, which is just a week from Saturday.

Moving to Aksarben Village appears to be a home run for everyone involved, and some might consider it a sizable upgrade. Parking will be easier and cheaper, Aksarben Village businesses will be introduced to some new clientele, it just seems like the whole thing will have more of a festival, community atmosphere. The only apparent downside is freeloaders, but there won’t be a lot of room for them to roam around outside the compound. And like Brashear said (though more tactfully) those cheap bastards weren’t going to buy a ticket to the show anyway.

Speaking of which, have you bought your ticket yet? For just $30 you get Guided By Voices, Matisyahu, Cursive, J. Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.), The Reverend Horton Heat and newcomers The Envy Corp along with So-So Sailors, The Machete Archive, Noah’s Ark Was a Spaceship, Somasphere and one more band TBD this weekend at the OEA Summer Showcase in Benson. Plus booze and food vendors galore. Find out more, get tickets or volunteer at the MAHA website.

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Tomorrow: An interview with Saddle Creek Record’s newest band, Big Harp.

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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 © 2011 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.



Lazy-i Interview: MAHA Music Festival’s Tre Brashear; Dignan, Conchance tonight…

Category: Interviews — Tags: , — @ 1:00 pm July 22, 2010
Appleseed Cast at 2009 MAHA Festival.

Appleseed Cast performs at the 2009 MAHA Music Festival. Organizers expect larger crowds this year.

by Tim McMahan,

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; 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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Tomorrow: Superchunk

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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 © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.