These “predictions” have dragged on long enough. In my defense, other than complaints about live reviews, I get more feedback about my annual predictions column(s) than anything I write. People just love being told what’s going to happen (or maybe they love being told what to do). Just to be clear: There is no “insider information” being let slip below; no rumor or innuendo being repeated. These visions are pure hocus-pocus; absolute hunches fueled by coffee and fatigue and all those annoying voices arguing inside my head. Do with them what you will. This final chapter will explain what will happen in the local music scene in 2011. Read on, if you dare… — Omaha’s festival season gets a lot more crowded with MECA’s mega orgy of music, the Red Sky Music Festival to be held at the TD Ameritrade baseball stadium. In its first year, ticket sales will fall below their projected target as MECA realizes no one is interested in dropping big bucks for the 6-day ride pass, and even fewer want limited-access tickets to the B- and C-list bands playing outside the stadium. Disappointing ticket sales will cause the Red Sky/MECA/Live Nation team to rethink its booking approach. Look for even more mainstream (i.e., country, jam, bland pop) acts lined up for 2012. — In a year when it needs to differentiate itself from the Red Sky and other outdoor music events, MAHA will take fewer chances than last year for fear of messing up all the good it accomplished in 2010. Instead of forking over big bucks for major indie stars (i.e., Arcade Fire), they’ll go for an easy-access, locally grown act, and ticket sales will suffer. The good news: It’ll wake up organizers and force even riskier behavior in 2012, including the realization that the answer isn’t going to be found at Lewis & Clark Landing, but at a baseball stadium of their own. — The local interwebs are going to get mighty crowded in ’11, but the fact is, Linoma’s small handful of local music fans don’t need seven or eight different “one-stop-shop” music resources to figure out what to do on Friday nights. Watch as a couple of the online outlets fail to catch traction with readers and lose interest in updating their content, beginning that slow, familiar slide into “404 Not Found” obscurity. Meanwhile, one website will emerge as the true winner of an online war where victory is counted in clicks rather than dollars. — In a completely unexpected turn, at one least one local over-the-air radio station will take the plunge and commit to a “new music” college format that includes CMJ-caliber indie rock in regular rotation. And it won’t be The River. — Get those Facebook protest pages ready. Another long-running local music venue will be in danger of being gobbled up by a developer. Can anyone save this lovable dump? — Despite all the doom and gloom talk about the end of the Compact Disc, Homer’s Records will have one of its best years in recent memory in ’11, and will consider opening a new storefront in Benson. — Riding high on the new Bright Eyes release and a resurgence of interest in The Mynabirds, Saddle Creek Records will add yet another local band to its roster. Their choice will surprise no one who follows the local music scene. — I know I say it every year, but this time I mean it: Another band will emerge from Linoma and attract national attention, and it won’t be a Saddle Creek act. Could Nebraska become the next capital of the punk music world? — Speaking of record labels, watch as another enterprising young businessman comes out of nowhere and launches a new subscription-based vinyl records club like Simon Joyner’s Grapefruit Records, but with a focus on 7-inch singles a la the Sub Pop Singles Club. Sign me up! — With every other influential old-school local indie band reuniting over the past couple of years, one more will take the stage in ’11, if only for one song. Better dig that guitar out of the closet, Mr. Nansel. — A new band will add a unique twist to the recent rage over classic ’90s-era rock as its members will consist of musicians who are the progeny of members of one of those classic ’90s-era bands — carrying on Omaha’s fine music tradition as the next generation of punk bands — literally. — Two new live music venues will open in Omaha in ’11. One will be located along an already crowded Maple Street in Benson (and I’m not talking about The Hole). The other will be the first live music venue west of 72nd Street to book serious local and touring indie bands since the good ol’ Ranch Bowl met a wrecking ball. — Emerging from the bloody carnage of the winter recall election — and flying in the face of record deficits — the City of Omaha will get behind the return of a “youth concert” in Memorial Park that was left bending in the wind during the Suttle administration. — Lady Gaga will return to Nebraska, and this time she’ll be wearing a pork-chop dress (because pork is the other “white” meat. Get it? Wearing white? GET IT? All right, it’s a stretch).. — Bright Eyes will once again be nominated for a Grammy, but this time it’ll be for their music. And (surprise) they’ll win.

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