It's Visually – & Audibly – Delicious!

By: Jim Minge Email
By: Jim Minge Email

What: Omaha Summer Arts Festival

When: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (artists market) and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. (music stage) Friday and Saturday, June 6 & 7; and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, June 8

Where: Next to the Gene Leahy Mall, between 10th and 15th streets on Farnam Street.

Admission: FREE


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So the Omaha Summer Arts Festival is officially a cougar now, right? But you know what – at 40 years old, the annual arts and entertainment celebration looks more vibrant than ever.

In addition to the 135 artists – who represent a wide variety of mediums – this year's event offers new features, including a hands-on T-shirt coloring activity for kids, downtown public art tours and a special area for the tiniest of sprouts to create a take-home art piece.

All that is very cool. But I'm going for the food and free live music. I especially want to see the band that performed last year, which went down as my best SAF experience. Ever.

But, Jim, it was a non-stop rainy affair last year – how could that be a good experience? Easy. It was all because of the MarchFourth Marching Band (aka M4), which is back for the second time this year.

Beginning from rain-soaked 10th and Farnam streets, this colorful, multi-instrumental collection of crazy cats from Portland march west under a steady drizzle. Behind them, about 100 soggy festival-goers like my wife and I followed, clapping and whooping it up as the group's stilt-walkers provided grin-inducing visuals. Funky horns, guitars, drums and plenty of rock-fueled marching beats made the water-logged event magical.

I expect lightning to strike twice. Of course, I mean that figuratively – although it was a blast in the rain last year, I'd like to see M4 under drier circumstances this time. The ensemble will march through the festival at 6:30 p.m. Friday (June 6) and then perform a full set at 9 p.m. Get a feel for what this band has in store by watching a video of them performing. Just click on the link at right to see it.

Below you'll find a schedule of the live music for the Omaha Summer Arts Festival, Friday, Saturday and Sunday (June 6, 7, & 8) – and it's all FREE!

FRIDAY, June 6

  • Noon – Omaha Musicians Association Jazz All-Stars
  • 5 p.m. – Southpaw Bluegrass Band
  • 6:30 p.m. Parade featuring the MarchFourth Marching Band
  • 7 p.m. – Josh Hoyer & the Shadowboxers (funk, blues, soul)
  • 9 p.m. – MarchFourth Marching Band (read above)

    SATURDAY, June 7
  • 11 a.m. – Crossfire (country dance)
  • 12:30 p.m. – Brad Colerick (folk)
  • 2 p.m. – Electroliners (honky-tonk roots rock)
  • 3:30 p.m. – Steve Raybine (jazz, pop)
  • 5 p.m. – Marc & Tori Band (Latin, rock)
  • 7 p.m. – Euforquestra (world beats, funk, soul)
  • 9 p.m. – Sister and Brother of Soul (Soul, blues, R&B, pop)

    SUNDAY, June 8
  • Noon – Mariachi Zacatecas (traditional Mexican music)
  • 1:30 p.m. – Luigi Inc. (jazz combo)
  • 3 p.m. – Terrance Simien (pictured at right) & the Zydeco Experience (Cajun, Zydeco)

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