This really is your father’s (or grand-father’s) Red Sky Festival; Bloodcow tonight…

Category: Blog — Tags: — @ 1:06 pm May 8, 2012

by Tim McMahan,

It would be easy to pile on to the mountain of complaints about this year’s Red Sky Music Festival.

Held at the massive Ameritrade Ballpark and launched with so much withered promise a year ago, Red Sky announced three of its four headliners yesterday over the lunch hour.

MECA, the folks behind Red Sky, is like a group of out-of-touch parents planning a senior prom.

Scratch that. Try again.

Unveiling the Red Sky lineup is like unwrapping a Christmas gift from your grandmother.

OK, waitaminit…


MECA, contemplating Red Sky...

The Red Sky lineup has about as much artistic merit as a Thomas Mangelsen ‘Bad Boys of the Arctic’ polar bear photo.

Hold on…

Red Sky is so ugly…

Look, I could go on all day with the metaphors.  The fact is MECA’s underwhelming choices should be a surprise to no one.

The combination of Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and Def Leppard is about as far away from a “progressive concert lineup” as anyone could imagine. I get carsick just thinking about it. But here’s the thing. As crappy as those bands are, each night of Red Sky easily will outsell the amazingly diverse Maha Music Festival. Easily.

It’s not about art. It’s about commerce. As I’ve said so many times in the past: You could add up every album sold by every artist on Saddle Creek Records and it wouldn’t equal the sales of one Paisley or Leppard or Rascal Flatts album. Indie music is more interesting, more intelligent, more artistic, more daring than anything produced by this year’s RS bands, which is exactly why it’ll never be as popular.

So let Red Sky be Red Sky. They were never targeting you in the first place. They were targeting your parents or your boss or your typical Lee Terry voter. Conservative. Dry. Old-fashioned. Boring. Visionless. You weren’t invited, but that’s OK. You didn’t want to go to their party anyway…

* * *

Hey MECA, there’s still room for one more Red Sky headliner, and I can’t think of anyone more straight-laced and conservative than Bloodcow. When these guys aren’t doing volunteer work at the local VA, they’re busy leading bible study classes and hosting Republican party get-togethers at Applebees. Their style of wholesome, feel-good pop music is exactly what your typical Red Sky ticket buyer is looking for. Don’t believe me? Then check them out tonight when Bloodcow headlines at The Waiting Room with Bible of the Devil, Leeches of Lore and The Matador — nice, upstanding Christian boys one and all. $7, 9 p.m. Bring the kids!

* * *

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.


  • “It’s not about art. It’s about commerce.”


    Comment by Andrew — May 8, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

  • Word floated around last year that Jay-Z or Kanye were coming. That would count as commerce.

    Comment by Ian — May 8, 2012 @ 1:43 pm

  • I don’t disagree, but what i would pay to see is T-Mac going up to all the RS lineup artists and saying that.

    “It’s not about art. It’s about commerce.”

    Then the watch a torrent of tribal tattoos, teased hair, cowboy hats and makeup explain why thats wrong

    Comment by mmm — May 8, 2012 @ 2:23 pm

  • I think it’s a pretty hilarious line up myself, and it’s clearly about commerce and not art, but I disagree in the sense that I do not personally know these bands and not sure where there heart is in there music.I also disagree that Maha is any different as I’m 100% positive its about commerce as well, maybe not on as large of scale but it would be a lie to say it’s not and it’s solely about art.It just seems like someone is always catering to someone whether they want to admit or not. “Money ultimately rules all” even the indie artistic bands are Pay to play these days. Someone always gets paid.

    Comment by Koby4kenobi — May 8, 2012 @ 6:13 pm

  • Well done, Tmac.

    Comment by Big AL — May 8, 2012 @ 7:50 pm

  • I think the Red State Music Festival would have been better off if it had never compared itself to Summerfest, which is large enough to be everything to everyone. I know a lot of people complained last year about the line-up, but what we’ve seen so far of this year lacks anything interesting. Redneck Music Festival is setting itself up to compete with free shows and state fairs, which is not a great business model.

    Comment by Ryan the Angry Midget — May 9, 2012 @ 8:06 am

  • While I can’t say much for Rascal Flatts or Def Leppard, I think it’s unfair to group Brad Paisley in with the “commerce over art” crowd. Brad Paisley is hugely successful commercially, and I’d bet dollars to donuts that that has everything to do with his inclusion, but the man also makes consistently interesting pop music. His lyrics are frequently clever and thematically challenging in ways that many indie bands would/could never approach. Especially considering Paisley’s genre, you have to tip your 10-gallon hat to someone who is writing songs for a pop country audience about multiculturalism (“American Saturday Night”), race relations vis a vis technological advances (“Welcome to the Future”), or why displaying a confederate flag is stupid (“Camouflage”). Paisley is genuinely transgressive (again, in relation to his audience), as opposed to, say, the Arcade Fire going on about shopping malls or something to a bunch of kids who think they’re Marxists because they’ve taken a comp lit course (Also looking at you, Desa). Plus, Paisley can really shred.

    Comment by Louis Tully — May 11, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

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