This year’s ZooFest celebrates the historic Lincoln venue’s 43rd year of nurturing the vitality of blues and roots music and its players. After a special week of music in the club, the party takes to 14th Street between O and P streets Friday and Saturday, July 8 and 9. This year the Zoo hosts a truly all-star weekend with Friday night headliners soul-R&B legend Lee Fields & The Expressions (9 p.m.) and zydeco master Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Experience (11 p.m.) The rest of the Friday schedule includes Brave Combo (5 p.m.) and honky-tonker Dale Watson (7 p.m.). Saturday, July 9, the schedule features The Mighty Jailbreakers (3 p.m.), Mike Zito & The Wheel (5 p.m.), The Derailers (7 p.m.), rockabilly with Nikki Hill (9 p.m.) and A Ferocious Jungle Cat (11 p.m.). Daily admission is $17 advance or $20 day of show. A two-day pass is only $30. Advance tickets at See for complete details.

The rest of the month at the Zoo Bar offers some great acts including Janiva Magness Wednesday, July 13, and Rick Estrin & The Night Cats Thursday, July 14. Both shows run 6-9 p.m. Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal hit the Zoo Bar stage Friday, July 15, at 9 p.m. after a four-week run that includes a performance slot at Portland, Oregon’s, prestigious Waterfront Blues Fest. The Steepwater Band is up Saturday, July 16, at 6 p.m. Chubby Carrier brings his party-starting zydeco to the Zoo Wednesday, July 17, at 6 p.m. and Too Slim & The Taildraggers hit Thursday, Aug. 4, at 6 p.m.

Stars are Out

A couple of other big Lincoln shows include Tab Benoit Wednesday, July 13, at 8 p.m., at the Bourbon Theatre with Kris Lager Band opening up. See The always-amazing Lyle Lovett & His Large Band take the stage at the Rococo Saturday, July 16, at 8 p.m. The Rococo is booking more shows, so keep track of their latest lineup at

Lincoln’s Pinewood Bowl ( and Papillion’s SumTur Amphitheater ( both have great summer schedules that include cool roots shows.

21st Saloon Blues

Thursday, July 7, Chicago’s swingin’ blues guitarist Rockin’ Johnny Burgin hits The 21st with a special guest, the acclaimed SFCA Bay area harp player Aki Kumar. Kumar is making his Nebraska debut and the buzz is that this should be a great show. Michigan’s Rusty Wright Band is up Thursday, July 14. The Grammy-nominated funk of Blinddog Smokin’ is scheduled for Thursday, July 21. The Mighty Jailbreakers are booked Saturday, July 23, at 8 p.m., and The Bel Airs are back Thursday, July 28. Chris Duarte Group plugs in Thursday, Aug. 4. Thursday shows are 6-9 p.m.

Festival Fun

The second annual Benson Femme Fest organized by Rebecca Lowry celebrates women in the local music scene Friday, September 2nd, in Benson with 58 bands at eight venues. There is an event Friday, July 15, at 9:30 at O’Leaver’s to raise funds to help promote the festival. Playing the O’Leaver’s show are Mesonjixx, Anna McClellan and Badland Girls. See

The 2016 Hullabaloo at Bellevue’s Sokol Park is July 28-31. Kris Lager Band and Sophistafunk are among the scheduled artists. See

Hot Notes

Singer-songwriter-guitarist Matt Cox releases an excellent new record, The Cost of Everything & The Value of Nothing (Sower Records), this month. See CD release parties are scheduled for Saturday, July 16, at Lincoln’s Zoo Bar and Sunday, July 17, at Waiting Room. Check out the feature on Cox in this month’s music section.

Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal play the Harney Street Tavern Saturday, July 16, 9 p.m.

Chubby Carrier & The Zydeco Swamp Band headlines Shucks’ 10th Anniversary party Sunday, July 17, at the 119th & Pacific location. The music is free and it’s a parking lot party. Bring lawn chairs, but no coolers or outside food are allowed.

Blue House & the Rent to Own Horns kick off Midtown Crossing’s and OPA’s Jazz on the Green Thursday, July 7. Davina & The Vagabonds play the series Thursday, Aug. 4. See under events for the full schedule.

Hoodoo Blues sends condolences to Anna Jane Abbott‘s family and BluesEd family. The 18-year-old singer for BluesEd band Dilemma passed away Saturday, July 2, from medical complications following an asthma attack that led to cardiac arrest.

Follow the BluesEd youth performance program’s summer show schedule at

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