ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR
Aksarben Village, near University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Pacific Campus, will get a lot of attention this August as the site of two music festivals. Maha and New Generation music festivals announced lineups last week, and New Generation is adding more acts to the lineup every day.
In its 8th year, the regionally-successful Maha Music Festival has nabbed popular indie pop acts Passion Pit and Grimes as the headliners for the festival. Other acts include hip hop artist Vince Staples, indie rock band The Joy Formidable and newcomer indie buzz-band Car Seat Headrest.
Massachusetts’s Passion Pit received critical acclaim in indie music with their “Chunk of Change” EP and the following “Manners” album in 2009. Passion Pit’s release of “Gossamer” in 2012 garnered mainstream attention largely with its single “Take a Walk.” The band released its latest effort, “Kindred,” in 2015.
Grimes is the pop-electronic project of Canadian vocalist and producer Claire Boucher. 2015’s “Art Angels” was commercially successful due to her addition of more melodic pop in her artful production. After releasing her third studio album “Visions” in 2012, she received national attention and even signed to Jay Z’s label Roc Nation in 2013.
Garage punk bands Diarrhea Planet and Diet Cig add a little grunge to the pop-heavy lineup.
Diarrhea Planet hasn’t released any new music since 2013’s “I’m Rich Beyond Your Wildest Dreams,” but they tour the country consistently and have been featured acts in festivals like SXSW. Diet Cig released a slew of singles and an EP in 2015 and music journalism sites like Stereogum have named them a “Band to Watch” in 2016.
Even with the buzz of popular and rising national acts, Maha also impresses with its well-rounded crop of local bands.
Matthew Sweet is a Nebraska native currently making rock music and touring nationally out of Los Angeles. Omaha’s See Through Dresses impresses as a new group on the alternative/emo label Tiny
Engines, which boasts bands such as The Hotelier and Beach Slang. Lincoln’s Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal and Omaha’s CJ Mills round out the rest of the local lineup.
The lineup announcement party at Reverb Lounge on April 21 featured a video by New BLK Production who has produced advertising materials for UNO. General admission tickets are available for $55 for the August 20 all-day festival.
New Generation Music Festival, also at Stinson Park, has taken to sporadic Facebook posts for lineup announcements for its inaugural event, starting by introducing hard rock/metal band Screaming for Silence as the headliner on Wednesday and announcing four more slots on Friday.
The music festival’s event page boasts a lineup with both local and regional acts, though only local acts have been announced so far. Omaha’s Jocelyn, Marcey Yates as Op2mus, XOBOi, Dilla Kids, Chemicals and J. Crum with ALTR were reported Friday as playing the August festival.
Pop singer-songwriter Jocelyn recently gained viral attention on Facebook with a video of her singing. 5 Quad, a rising teen pop band, posted the video on social media Wednesday with the caption “She deserves to be heard.” At press time, the video had reached over 1 million views and over 12 thousand shares on Facebook.
Hip hop artists Marcey Yates as Op2mus and XOBOi are taking up a single slot with Dilla Kids.
Yates, who is Op2mus and a member of Dilla Kids, is behind Raleigh Science Project, the production company putting on New Generation Music Festival. Yates and XOBOi have previously worked together under the name STDNT BDY.
Chemicals is a new band fronted by Omaha music veteran Dereck Higgins, whose involvement in local music since the ‘70s includes such bands as InDreama, Paddy O’Furniture and his solo project. His Bandcamp pages includes 33 albums of his own work or compilations that his music has been featured on.
J. Crum is a hip hop artist accompanied by his backing band ALTR. He released his latest album, “Black Sheep,” in February, which is available on all major streaming and music purchasing sites.
New Generation will be releasing lineup information with 10 more acts on Monday and Tuesday, and “even more” on Wednesday, according to the music festival’s Facebook page. Tickets are available for at an “early bird” price of $20 for the August 5 event.