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Festival & club dates mark the official start of summer including the Zoo Bar's annual 44th Anniversary featuring headliners the Ruthie Foster's Family Band and Charlie Musselwhite, plus a wrap-up of all the shows leading up to outdoor ZooFest!


Don’t forget some of these great shows coming our way. Midtown Crossing hosts the third annual, free Zydeco Festival Saturday, June 24, beginning at 3 p.m. The schedule promises a real Louisiana dance party. Headlining the show are Nathan & The Zydeco Cha-Chas, 9 p.m. Also putting down plenty of Louisiana dance beats are Major Handy (7:30-8:45 p.m.) plus Grammy nominee Cedric Watson with Desiree Champagne (6-7:15 p.m.) representing the next generation of musicians. Zydeco dancehall-circuit favorite John Wilson plays (4:30-5:45 p.m.). Omaha’s own Prairie Gators kick things off (3-4:15 p.m.). The weather sounds perfect for this great free celebration of Louisiana music and culture. Come ready to check out the food vendors. Bookmark facebook.com/midtowncrossingatturnerpark for updates.

Zoo Bar 44th Anniversary

The Zoo Bar calendar is smokin’ hot as they gear up for their 44th Anniversary.

Monday, June 26, catch the hard-driving, blues-picking powerhouse of Rev. Peyton and his Big Damn Band. If you dig acoustic blues and you haven’t seen Rev. Peyton, you are missing out. Mind-blowing traditional blues.

Other highlights of the week include Tuesday, June 27, when Atlanta blues-rocker Tinsley Ellis is up, 6-9 p.m. Teresa James & the Rhythm Tramps play Friday, June 30, 9 p.m.

Then it’s Zoo Bar Anniversary Week, with multiple bands each night in the club. The schedule has been in flux a little bit, I’ll do my best to update here but keep tabs on zoobar.com for any late-breaking schedule changes. Right now it’s looking like this.Monday, July 3, Duke Robillard, 6 p.m., and Cash’d Out, 9:30 p.m.

Tuesday, July 4, Bolzen Beer Band, 5 p.m., and Universe Contest later

Wednesday, July 5, Little Mike & The Tornadoes, 6 p.m., 24th Street Wailers, 8 p.m., and Tim Budig Band, 10:30 p.m.

Thursday, July 6, Blues Project, 6 p.m., The Wondermonds, 8 p.m. and AZP, 10:30 p.m.

ZooFest Street Fest happens out on 14th Street in front of the bar with a bunch of great bands. Friday, July 7, it’s The Bel Airs, 5 p.m., The Paladins, 7 p.m., Ruthie Foster Family Band, 9 p.m., and Sidewalk Chalk, 11 p.m.

Saturday, July 8, catch the BluesEd youth band showcase 12-2:30 p.m., Mezcal Brothers, 3 p.m., Hadden Sayers Band, 5 p.m., Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys, 7 p.m., Charlie Musselwhite, 9 p.m., and Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal, 11 p.m.

Hot Notes

BSO Presents at Chrome Lounge features Ghost Town Blues Band Thursday, June 22, and Teresa James & The Rhythm Tramps Thursday, June 27. Little Mike & The Tornadoes are scheduled Thursday, July 6. All shows 6-9 p.m.

Other shows of note include the “soul-influenced psychedelic southern rock” of the Marcus King Band with Hector Anchondo Band opening at Slowdown Friday, June 30, 8 p.m.Don’t forget The Bel Airs, Hector Anchondo Band, Tim Budig Band and more play the July 4 festival in Glenwood, Iowa. See facebook.com/MCTBluesandBrews for details. 

Jason Isbell & The 400 Unit with opening act The Mountain Goats are at Sumtur Amphitheater Wednesday, July 5, 7 p.m.

Don’t forget Saturday in the Park, Sioux City’s annual free music festival, takes place Saturday, July 1. National acts on tap include Joss Stone, Trombone Shorty, The Revivalists, JOHNNYSWIM and Eric Lindell. Gates open at noon. See saturdayinthepark.com.

Catch the July Hoodoo for more on outstanding live music options plus details on July’s two-night Playing With Fire extravaganza, including my profile interview with PwF promoter Jeff Davis. See playingwithfireomaha.net to get the scoop right now. 

Ruthie Foster, photo by Riccardo Piccirillo


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