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Festival Space - 2023

by Mitch West

Music festivals are back and by great numbers. If you didn't know by now, the 2023s festival season may just be one for the record books around the Midwest so we thought it only makes sense to take all of these announcements and put them into one place. As you'll see there is quite the list of festivals with some pretty incredible lineups to boot and there are STILL others that haven't been announced yet! Some of these festivals have been going on for years while others are newer to the area having launched only within the last few years. Most of these festivals are within a 5-hour drive of Lincoln. As time goes on we'll do our best to keep up and make sure all the details get ironed out. If you've heard about something you don't see here, please let us know! We hope to talk with the individuals behind some of the festivals to give you a more in-depth look as well as interview some artists along the way who are performing. If you're involved with any of these events listed and/or performing please reach out!

June 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th

One of the most beloved events is Jazz In June. This free all-age family concert series takes place every Tuesday evening during June outside of the Sheldon Art Gallery. The free concert series, held each Tuesday in June, will feature two sets of music from 7-7:45 p.m. and 8-8:45 p.m., respectively, with a 15-minute intermission. Beyond the performances, the series will include education outreach coordinated by community centers and artists. A market will offer food and drinks from 5 to 9 p.m. each Tuesday. Bike Valet will provide free, secure parking for bicycles from 5 p.m. until an hour after each concert at the east end of the market. This year's performers include (6/6) Alexis Arai y Su Grupo Latino(6/13) Angela Hagenbach Sextet, (6/20) The Metro Jazz Quintet, and (6/27) Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience.

June 17th

The Omaha Freedom Festival is a one-day music festival celebrating Juneteenth, a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the abolition of slavery in honor of enslaved African Americans. Hosted by Freedomtainment, a 501c3 non-profit organization located in North Omaha, Nebraska. Omaha Freedom Festival features a variety of musical performances, food and drink vendors, and family-friendly activities. This years line up Musiq Soulchild, Lyfe Jennings, and Enjoli & Timeless with hosts Josh Jones of 'Beats N Sheets' with Ivan Alferez and music by Dj Chain, The Omaha Freedom Festival is a great opportunity to learn about North Omaha culture, celebrate Juneteenth, and have a great time with friends and family. Get your tickets HERE

July 6th - July 10th

Meadowlark’s mission is to make chamber music of all kinds a necessary component of every Nebraska’s definition of “The Good Life”. Nebraska’s sole international summer chamber music festival and winner of the Governor's Arts Award, Meadowlark hopes to expose as many people from different races, ages, economic statuses, and educational levels to chamber music. This year's lineup includes Xavier Foley on Thursday, July 6th followed by Mark Feldman on Friday, July 7th, and Astral Mixtapeon Saturday, July 8th to wrap up the festival.

July 6th, 7th & 8th in downtown Lincoln, NE

Lincoln is home to one of the world's best blues venues, The Zoo Bar. In a downtown Lincoln, Nebraska building built in 1921 sits the ZOO BAR, a narrow nightspot that’s been a staple for live music in downtown Lincoln since 1973. Some big-time acts have walked through the hallowed club’s doors including Buddy Guy, Bo Diddley, Albert Collins, Robert Cray, and Otis Rush. This year Zoo Fest will be celebrating 50 years of their world-renowned Zoo Bar bringing Lincoln three days of the best live music downtown. The celebration starts July 6th with Charlie Mussels White, Igor & The Red Elvises, and Bel Airs ending the night. July 7th with Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Amythyst Kiah, The Jimmy's, and

Andy Williams & Nebraska All-Stars. The last day of Zoofest on July 8th will features Shemekia Copeland, The James Hunter Six, John Primer & The Real Blues Band, Lightning, Bugz/Fabtones, and The 50th Waltz. Get your tickets HERE

July 20th-22nd at Quasar Drive In Vally, NE

Country music fans unite! MRL Music Festival invites you to come to spend the day and enjoy a wide range of activities before, during, and in-between sets. This jam-packed country music festival not only has three days of country music but also includes well over 200 vendors, activities, games, rides, beer gardens, and more. Lineups include Joystick, Tanner Sovereign, Luke Mills, Dj Du, Emily Earle, Frank Ray, Drake White, and Carly Pearce on Thursday, July 20th. Friday, July 21st features: Ecko, Trayer Band, Dylan Bloom, Dj Du, Tom O'Connor, Thompson Square, Morgan Evans, and Craig Morgan Friday, July 21st, and Secret Weapon, Jason Mayer, Aaron Kantor, Dj Du, Lewis Brice, Jerrod Niemann, Rose Falcon, and Rodney Atkinson Saturday, July 22nd. Get Tickets HERE

July 28th - July 29th Aksarben Village Omaha, NE

Maha Music Festival is an annual two-day music festival held in Omaha, Nebraska featuring a wide variety of musical genres, including indie rock, hip hop, electronic music, and more. In addition to live music, Maha also features art, food, and drink vendors, and a variety of activities for all ages. In its 15th year Maha will feature acts Turnstile, Alvvays, Ekkstacy, Icky Blossoms, Hakim, BIB on Friday, July 28th, and Big Thief, Peach Pit, The, Beths, Terry Presume, Black Belt Eagle Scout, Say She She, M34N, STR33T, Garst, Ebba Roseon Saturday, July 29th. Get tickets HERE.

August 4th - August 6th in Saint Charles, IA.

Hinterland Music Festival is an annual four-day music festival in St. Charles, Iowa. It features a variety of musical genres, including folk, indie rock, country, and Americana. The festival is known for its intimate setting and relaxed atmosphere. It is the perfect destination for music lovers looking for a unique festival experience. In 2022, the festival featured headliners Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson, and Brandi Carlile. Other notable performers have included Sturgill Simpson, Hozier, Maggie Rogers, TV on the Radio, Dwight Yoakam, and Tyler Childers. 2023 builds on last year's line up with an even bigger one. Friday, August 4th features: Bon Iver, Sylvan Esso, Houndmouth, The Regrettes, and Skegass. During its second day Hinterland keeps the good vibes going with Zach Bryan, Orville Peck, Angel Olsen, Noah Kahan, The Teskey Brothers, Joy Oladokun, Wilderado, Patrick Droney, Riley Downing, Pony Bradshaw and to close out this year's festival with Maggie Rogers, Wallows, Alex G, Fay Webster, Del Water Gap, Tomberlin, Spill Tab, and Yot Club. Get your tickets HERE.

(Omaha) August 4th (Lincoln) August 5th-6th

Nebraska Crossroads Music Festival is an annual 3-day music & art festival featuring 13 concerts and over 30+ artists that celebrates music and culture from around the world with Nebraskan roots. The festival features a diverse lineup of musical acts, as well as a variety of food and drink vendors, art installations, and activities for the whole family. The Nebraska Music Festival is a great way to experience the best of Nebraska's music scene and learn about the state's rich cultural heritage. This year's festival features performances by: Kinan Azmeh, Jon Hadfield, Oscar Rios, Layale Chaker, Daniel Martinez, Erik Higgins, Aisslinn Nosky, Marie Sonderskov, Olga Smola, Yulia Kalashnkova.

August 11th & 12th Falconwood Park

Outlandia Music Festival boasts two days of music, community, and adventure music in Bellevue, Nebraska. The festival sits on 170 acres of beautiful Nebraska countryside, nestled amongst the Platte River Valley at Falconwood Park - Just 10 minutes south of Downtown Omaha. Outlandia features a variety of musical genres, including indie rock, hip-hop, electronic music, and more. In addition, to live music, Outlandia also features art, food, and drink vendors, and a variety of activities for all ages. This year's two-day festival features: Lord Huron, Gregory Alan Isakov, The Good Life, The Envy Corps, and Minne Lussa on Friday, August 12th then keeps the show going with Modest Mouse, Jimmy Eat World, Manchester Orchestra, The Faint, Cat Power, Horsegirl, and Criteria on Saturday, August 12th. Get your tickets HERE!

Friday September 8th 188th & Pacific Street

Since its start, Shadow Ridge Music Festival has featured bands like Big Head Todd & The Monsters, Blue Moon Ghetto, Violent Femmes, Soul Asylum, Matthew Sweet, The Millions, The Hangin Cowboys, Chris Kattan, The Nadas, Everclear, Sponge, Fastball, Gin Blossoms, Blue October, Lit, Eve 6, Tropidelic, and 311. The 5th Annual Shadow Ridge Music Festival flies high and kicks it up a nostalgic notch with Barenaked Ladies, Collective Soul, Todd The Wet Crocket, and The Samples. Last year we got the chance to have a Q&A with Justin and Elen Shanahan of Shadow Ridge to talk more about the festival and how it's all put together. You can check out that article HERE. In the meantime, hurry up and grab your tickets while they're still available. Click HERE

2023 has continued to set the bar extremely high for events in and around Nebraska. This year just might have set the record for the most music festivals with the most varied lineups of any year prior around the good life state. There is an event for just about every type of music fan and age. We'll be sure to keep everything up to date throughout the year as details change or are added. Be sure to check back on each festival's website and/or social media for the latest updates and other important information. Stay tuned for upcoming interviews with artists, festival faculty/staff, and more. If you know of one we need to talk about and have listed please let us know!

*Updated 6/5/23*


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