Eleven bands and more than 8,000 people crowded into Aksarben Village Saturday for the 9th annual Maha Music Festival.
“It’s an all-day party out here!” proclaimed executive director Lauren Martin. “We’ve got music non-stop throughout the day. We’ve got the community village of fellow non-profits, we’ve got food vendors and drink vendors.”
It’s a touch vintage.
“Kind of takes you back to how Volkswagen was in previous music festivals. Stop and check out the buses and go back in time,” said Dia Armbrust of Baxter Volkswagen. The Omaha VW club lent some restored and tricked out vintage VW Buses and a Bug for the occasion.
“Its great to see this traditional type of music carrying on,” said festival goer Mike Youngs. Youngs 12-year-old daughter would later play on stage with Omaha Girls Rock.
The festival also highlights modern Omaha.
“We’ve got local artists on the stage, and, I think, just really trying to make this place proud and really set it apart in a way. Of course, it’s a music festival, but you’re going to come in and experience what omaha’s really all about,” said Martin.
“Without trying to, we’ve kinda become an Indie music festival. A lot of times our artists aren’t really heard on the radio, but still really well known,” she elaborated.
“Last year, I was very impressed with the local bands. So far, super impressed,” said Laura Evans, a second-time Maha Festival goer. “I think i’m going to be a regular now.”
The big draw this year is headliners Run the Jewels, but local artists such as The Hottman Sisters keep the focus on track.
“The goal of Maha is really just to highlight our community,” said Martin.
Organizers want the festival to become a place of hope as well. Nearly two dozen non-profits were featured in the community village with a focus on mental health.
“Make sure people know that there’s help and there’s hope for suicide prevention. Let them know that they matter and that talk saves lives,” said Jennifer Moffett, Co-chair for the Nebraska Chapter of the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
“We see a greater need for suicide prevention awareness and making sure that people know that there’s help out there for them. So, if they’re feeling a little more anxiety about the current situation, they can come and get help and resources,” said Moffett.
“Show people that it’s alright to talk about this stuff and music is obviously an outlet for a lot of people,” said Martin.