Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Nebraska Pop Festival dates announced

The Nebraska Pop Festival has announced dates for this fall, running a full five days from Sept. 15 to 19.

Three Benson venues will be hosting the festival, including The Sydney (one night), P.S. Collective (two nights) and Barley Street Tavern (two nights).

Admission will be $5 per night and the fest plans to host 25 to 30 bands over the five nights.

They're boasting that bands will come from all over the world, with a lot of Midwestern and Lincoln/Omaha groups thrown in there too.

The whole thing is a benefit for UNO MAV Radio, and bands won't be getting paid for their performances.

I'm all about the fest and all about the radio station making itself some money, but not paying bands always worries me. I think bands should be getting paid for their performances, even if it makes ticket costs go up for a benefit like this.

Now, this is a benefit and anyone that believes in the cause is more than welcome to give up their time for free. But the two things that worry me are these: Young bands will think that they need to give away their stage time for more exposure when they should be getting paid AND with good artists around town expecting to be paid, it can hurt the lineup at festivals like this.

I say pay the bands. At least the headliners for each night. You'll get bigger names locally and regionally, ticket prices will only go up a little bit.

One fraternity at Creighton does an annual benefit for the ALS and they usually raise more than $10,000 each year. How do they do it? They book big bands at Sokol (Blue October and Eric Hutchinson are past groups). They pay these groups, tickets are $25 to $30 and they make a killing. Just a thought.

Anyway, no lineup has been announced (and the press release said it won't be until July), but it makes me wonder who they'll get if they won't be able to pay anyone.

Get more info on the five-night concert at their MySpace. You can listen to the radio station through their website (you're looking for the poorly-placed "Listen Here" link at the top of the site).


  1. You make a valid point. To make money you must spend money. That's the world we live in, I suppose. I don't think Christopher wants big names on this thing, though. He's a purist!

  2. Yeah, I realize it's not exactly what he's going for and that's totally understandable.

  3. How the hell do you apply for this festival when you have to be a friend to read his damn blog on myspace?

    NO Pay!!! Bullshit!

    There's nothing pure about saying your music isn't worth a shit. Or the driving, the practice, or the expensive recording...we do it cause we love it but it still cost money.

    Good luck booking any poor bands for this event. Nothing pure about it.

  4. Well, guys... the pop fest is over... I played in one of the bands and stuck around for almost the entire festival... here's what I have to say:

    The fact that the bands weren't played wasn't as much an issue as the fact that NOBODY was invited to watch the shows!!! The advertisements for the festival were about three 8 1/2 by 11 flyers, posted at the venues and a few record shops in the old market. The flyers themselves mentioned nothing about the radio station, and the stations website mentioned nothing of the pop fest. There was one guy there on thursday that worked for the station that interviewed a few people, but a night later, another person that worked at UNO MAV had stumbled upon the P.S collective, and when told it was a benefit, she was shocked.

    around 30 bands came from around the country, and yes, some from germany, canada, sweden, and france, and ultimately, we played to the sound guy, and the other bands that were playing the night of, and were kind enough to stick around. I imagine, with the $5 cover charge, keeping in mind the fact that the door guy gave up and let people in and out as they pleased by friday... the Nebraska Pop Festival raised something like 40 bucks for the radio station, which was, by the way, in no danger of being shut down, and will continue to be supported by the student's tuition.

    All in all, we had a blast, it was a great excuse for our band a some other friends to come out to Omaha and get drunk for 4 consecutive nights in a row, but if you want an honest opinion about the actual shows, they were a disaster. Some of the bands were incredibly talented, with amazing sets, but it doesn't change the fact that they were playing to the sound guy, and therefore gained almost zero exposure.

    Experiencing this train wreck was even more frustrating when we found out that Tilly and the Wall had agreed to play for $3000 and were turned away. This price would have been easily paid given the band's draw. It's just like you said, raise the cover charge a bit, and if 200 people had shown up to pay $15, Tilly and the Wall would have made this festival worth the drive. As it stands, however, we've thrown better house shows with two weeks notice, and the emails started for this thing back in January!

    Christopher, if you want this to be anything more than a disaster next year, please:

    Don't make opening night a WEDNESDAY
    Don't make closing night a SUNDAY
    Don't turn away notable bands
    Don't neglect to advertise the show! A flyer won't cut it... maybe the radio we raised some change for would be willing to announce it on their website???

    UNO students had no idea this was going on, and as a result, good bands spent their own money on flights and gas, and didn't even sell one CD. I'm sure it was a financial loss for every single band that played. I hope that Chris gets this shit together by next year, stops sending the bands weekly emails starting in January and spends more time advertising the Festival!

    The 2nd annual Nebraska Pop Festival was like watching a train crash into a very empty venue for five consecutive fucking nights.


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