Not your typical midwestern music festival: Maha rocks Aksarben Village

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Trent Ostrom
Contributor

This year Maha Music Festival was back bigger and better than ever with a well-rounded lineup and it’s first ever sold-out crowd.

Indie rock band Modest Mouse headlined the festival and performed in front of an audience of 9,000. While many came to see Modest Mouse, there were plenty of supporting acts to attract a large audience.

Recently formed supporting acts like Purity Ring, Wavves, Alvvays, Speedy Ortiz and Ex Hex intrigued the crowd with new music, while established groups like Atmosphere and the Jayhawks delighted the crowd with fan favorites.

Maha was conscious of also keeping the festival local and had local groups such as All Young Girls are Machine Guns and The Good Life. Maha also showcased slam poetry performances from “Louder than a Bomb,” students between acts throughout the day.

While Maha may seem like just another music festival to some, it’s a lot more than that to those who go and to those who perform. Performers saw the difference between what Maha does and other festivals they play at.

“We play festivals where 103 bands are there and three are female identified,” said Sadie Dupuis of Speedy Ortiz. “So half of the bands being identified as female groups makes Maha pretty cool.”

Maha’s diverse lineup of genres, genders and generations makes the festival unique, but it’s format of back to back sets also sets it apart from other festivals. The audience had the opportunity to see each of the bands listed on the bill and performers got to see bands they’ve been wanting to see.

“We’ve been chasing around Ex Hex all summer and it was great we finally had the chance to see them,” said Molly Rankin of Alvvays.

In the end, Maha delighted those who came and those who performed. The energy was infectious and the atmosphere felt like one big family.

While quite a few may have come just to see Modest Mouse, it seemed the energy was well delivered elsewhere as well. Frontman of Modest Mouse Isaac Brock said it best, “I have an ‘I like you’ list and you’re on it.”

 

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