Friday, January 6, 2012

Anchor Inn closing. What does it mean for Omaha music?

[UPDATE:] Here's the full news story from the OWH's Roseann Moring, who has all of the details concerning the city planning director and Omaha's zoning laws (which state the Anchor inn can't be rebuilt).

And the land lesees responded with a statement saying they think they're not violating zoning laws.

So, the city is telling the Anchor Inn that it can't rebuild and re-open. The nitty-gritty details have a lot to do with FEMA money, flooding, city land leases and all that.

But the short story is that the bar (and occasional concert venue) won't be re-opening even though they've started rebuilding the property.

I dropped a line to Marc Leibowitz at 1% Productions to ask him what he thought of it.

Marc told me that 1%'s lone 2011 booking at the bar's riverside stage - Yonder Mountain String Band - had to be moved because of flooding problems.

Leibowitz wasn't planning on booking anything at the Anchor Inn this summer.

"There's no reputable agent that would book a venue that doesn't exist," he said. "It (currently) has no stage and it hasn't been open so it doesn't exist as a venue."

Anchor Inn had been used in the past primarliy because promoters couldn't find a similarly-sized venue. Other outdoor locations such as Westfair Amphitheatre east of Council Bluffs are cost-prohibitive for small concerts. ("You can't put 1,000 people at Westfair," Leibowitz said.)

Leibowitz said 1% is looking at places including Sumtur Amphitheater in Papillion for outdoor shows. Lewis & Clark Landing in Omaha (where Maha Music Festival debuted) is another option, but Leibowitz said it's booked just about every weekend.

What do you think about the closure? Do you have any epic Anchor Inn memories?


  1. My most memorable experiences at the venue were these:
    She & Him - Good show and we got to see M. Ward cover "Roll Over Beethoven."
    Black Label Society - They actually didn't play because BLS frontman Zakk Wylde got transported to an Omaha hospital. It sucked.
    Conor Oberst & The Mystic Valley Band - Oberst & his pals' gear didn't arrive until 30 minutes AFTER they were supposed to go onstage. This was one of my first professional reviews. I had to write it after seeing 15 minutes of music. Good show though.

  2. I've only been to a couple shows there, but She & Him was a favorite of mine. I loved seeing them cover the Beach Boys. Also, back in high school, saw Better than Ezra with Val Emmich there. That was a fun show.

  3. It was like a mini adventure heading to the Anchor Inn for a big show. some favs were:
    Pat Benatar
    Conor Oberst and the Mystic Valley Band and Jenny Lewis
    Everclear was fun too!

  4. I always had a blast at the Anchor Inn. It was like being at an awesome outdoor bar with your favorite band as the house band.

    I saw Conor Oberst & the Mystic Valley Band as well as the Black Keys out there.

    Sad to hear that I will not have any future experiences at this unique venue.

  5. It is not definetely closing. They are in the middle of the appeals process. If you do not want to see it go, please call the mayors office and voice your opinion.

  6. RTB
    Just more typical Omaha corruption. The city says they cannot rebuild because they do not have permits. The city will not give them permits because 20,000 people are there on holidays, instead of getting raped up on meca drive. Keep it classy you FSB's


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