A number of local bands that will be playing the the Qwest parking lot have been solidified this week, after more than a month's worth of "Battle of the Bands" competitions. Five headliners will take the stage including, Journey, 311, Jason Aldean, Kid Rock and the Zac Brown Band.
"The lineup actually is very diverse and appears to a broad range," said Mike Fratt, General Manager of Homer's Music. "I mean, Jason Aldean's about as big as you can get in country at the moment, sort of a heavy metal country."
Eric Ziegler of Omaha is not quite as enthusiastic. "You know, initially, I was a little disappointed. I was expecting a kind of wow factor. Because some of the bands have been here before, and I've seen them come through. So, I was kind of expecting something new and different."
For a debut year, though, he said, organizers did a decent job of securing acts, "even the smaller bands, Cowboy Mouth, George Clinton, Bruce Hornsby and the Rain." Other acts on the parking lot stages include 10,000 Maniacs, Better Than Ezra and Five For Fighting, to a name a few. Those national acts will begin playing about three hours after local bands take the spotlight on each of the festival days.
However, festival organizers do not have a headliner for the final night. "I think maybe they were a big ambitious for the first year," said Fratt, "and maybe should have gone with a three day event like Summerfest in Milwaukee. But again, we hope they're successful because that's good for the community and provides more choices for everyone."
Roger Dixon, President and CEO of the Metropolitan Entertainment & Convention Authority, overseeing the event, said ticket sales have been going well. "Omaha's been known as a community that will support the artists that come through here. First year with Red Sky, we're excited. We think we've got a wonderful line-up."
Fratt said, "I don't think any of the shows will sell out. But I do think the turnout will be strong, and we want them to succeed because then the event will come back next year, and hopefully, with an even stronger line-up."
Tickets are $15 for a day of the smaller stage performances, discounted when several days are purchased together. Headliner tickets range in price from $25 to $125, with Journey having the top-tier prices. A ticket purchase for a main stage event also gets concert-goers access to the smaller stages on lots B and C of the Qwest Center.
For more information on the event, visit www.RedSkyFestival.com.