Ranked the 64th in the Top 100 Amphitheaters in the world by Pollstar, Stir Cove has been a summer staple in the Omaha area for the past several years. Under the Harrah’s Casino umbrella, the Stir Cove Concert Series has executed some incredible shows, including BB King, Kings of Leon, The Roots, Ice Cube, and Ziggy Marley. Visit www.harrahscasinoomaha.com for more information.
The annual Memorial Park Concert, which is sponsored by Bank of the West, is back. This time, it hosts the Under the Sun tour, featuring Blues Traveler, Sugar Ray, Uncle Kracker and Smash Mouth. Free to the public, the fireworks and show takes place from 6 to 10 p.m. on Friday, June 27. This is the show’s 24th year. Visit www.celebratesamerica.com for more information.
Playing with Fire, one of Omaha’s annual free summer music festival, is back again with more blues, rock, funk, R&B, and soul. Playing with Fire has been going strong for the last nine years. Through grants, corporate, private and fan donations and the amazing, hard work of volunteers, Playing with Fire supports local community causes and, through its Blues Ed program, promotes music awareness and education for the children of the Omaha region. Visit www.playingwithfireomaha.net for more information.
Without a doubt, the biggest band ever to emerge out of Omaha is 311. Formed in the early ‘90s, Nick Hexum, S.A. Martinez, Chad Sexton, Aaron “P-Nut” Wills, and Tim Mahoney have gone on to sell millions of records and secure an extremely dedicated legion of fans. On July 12, 311 headlines Omaha’s newest summer music event, The Grassroots Music Festival, in celebration of the 20th anniversary of 311’s sophomore effort, Grassroots. Visit www.311paradise.com for more information.
The Zoo Bar has seen some legendary acts walk through its doors over the years, including Buddy Guy, Otis Rush and Bo Diddley. The Zoo Bar celebrates its 41st Anniversary with its annual Zoo Fest from July 7 – 12. It features seven to ten multiple bands indoors. The show also moves outdoors on July 11 and 12 to continue its showcase of blues, country, rockabilly, funk, soul, and rock-n-roll. Visit www.zoobar.com for more information.
Hullabaloo is back for its fourth annual music festival. From July 24th-26th, Sokol Park in Bellevue will blossom with three days of camping and music. Although the lineup has yet to be announced, last year brought in a few reputable acts, which included the Gift of Gab (Blackalicous), Icky Blossoms and Aaron Freeman of Ween. This year should be just as eclectic. Visit www.hullabaloomusicfestival.com for more information.
Loessfest returns to the Tom Hanafan River’s Edge Park in Council Bluffs, an 85-acre preserve and recreational area located at the foot of Iowa Side of the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, stretching both north and south along the riverfront. This is the second year for Loessfest and it remains free and open to the public thanks to the numerous sponsors supporting the event. Headliners this year include Three Dog Night and The Guess Who. Visit www.loessfest.com for more information.
The beloved Jazz on the Green series continues another successful run this summer every Thursday beginning July 11 and ending August 15. Originally held on the grounds of the Joslyn Art Museum, it moved to the green space at Midtown Crossing in 2010. Always free of charge, Jazz on the Green rejoices in its 29th year and once again brings incredible talent to the stage. Visit www.jazzonthegreenomha.com for more information.
The Maha Festival has grown exponentially since its 2009 inception. As a nonprofit music festival, it’s organized and run by volunteers, and brought to the community through the support of many sponsors. With the idea of “community-building over profit,” the prospect of a homegrown music festival had been around for years, but they finally found the right group of volunteers in 2009. This year’s headliners include hip-hop collective Doomtree, indie darlings Death Cab For Cutie and The Head and the Heart. Visit www.mahamusicfestival.com for more information.