A house in northwest Omaha is hosting the city’s largest DIY rock music festival this weekend.
After last year’s success, Lucy’s Public House (aka Lucy’s Pub) and music label We’re Trying Records are pairing up for another House Fest. Thirty local and touring DIY bands are playing on two stages—one in the garage and one in the basement—over the course of two days.
Omaha native and UNO alum Jordan Hiebner started We’re Trying in 2015 after moving to Austin, Texas. At the time, he was working for Hear Nebraska and interning at multiple recording studios—finally deciding to try creating a label himself. Releases started with three Midwestern bands, playing a few small shows around Omaha and Austin.
Since, Hiebner has moved to Los Angeles and Pittsburgh—where he currently attends Carnegie Mellon University. Moving around allows Hiebner to look for opportunities for We’re Trying to expand within other music scenes. From SXSW showcases to shows in Los Angeles, the label has grown into something unexpected.
“It blows my mind that this little passion project has been a part of so many people’s lives in just over two years,” said Hiebner.
Artists on We’re Trying Records range from hardcore to indie—all with an emo base to them. Most bands on the label are based in the Midwest, including Omaha’s Super Ghost and Lincoln’s I Forgot To Love My Father. Each release is available on Spotify, Soundcloud or YouTube.
After being introduced to Lucy’s Pub owner David McInnis, Hiebner and McInnis worked together for months planning the first House Fest in 2017. The venue already had a reputation for being open and friendly, allowing the local music scene to grow closer. Lucy’s Pub is all-ages and alcohol free, which provides a more welcome environment for younger people who want to experience a show. Anyone who visits Lucy’s Pub is simply asked to “respect the house and respect each other.”
“Lucy’s is a staple in the Omaha music community,” said Hiebner.
Intermingling local and regional bands and bringing together a music-loving community were among the goals for the first House Fest, which were well surpassed. They’re doing the same this weekend but setting the bar even higher. Lineup highlights for House Fest II include Omaha hardcore band Jocko, Iowa City singer-songwriter Good Morning Midnight and Minneapolis-based emo band Heart to Gold.
“This year, we’ve spent a little more time putting it together,” said Hiebner. “We hope that everyone comes away with a new friend and a new band.”
Each year, Hiebner and McInnis have the audience vote on a cause to donate House Fest’s proceeds to. This year, the festival will fundraise for nonprofit Youth Emergency Services, an organization empowering homeless youth to get back on their feet. Not only will visitors hear a huge variety of music for $10 per day—they’ll help young people in Omaha who need it most.
“Omaha has an amazing scene and has a lot of people in it who are promoting bands, shows and each other,” said Hiebner. “If we can do anything, I hope we can continue to throw shows like House Fest that help bring the community together and shed light on the city’s amazing musicians.”
House Fest II starts Friday, March 16 at 6:30 p.m. On Saturday, bands will begin playing at 1:40 p.m. Both nights, artists play until approximately 1 a.m. Lucy’s Pub is located on 90th and Blondo. Due to limited space in the house, attendance for the festival will be capped at 200 as a safety precaution. Wristbands will be given each day and entrance will not be allowed without one. For more information on the event and lineup, visit We’re Trying Records’ Facebook page.