by Tim McMahan | Lazy-i
Last year the Maha Music Festival was something of a sausage party. No matter what organizers tried, they couldn’t book a main stage band with even a single female member let alone a frontwoman. This year, Maha is practically a Midwestern Lilith Fair, with co-headliner Garbage (with frontwoman Shirley Manson) and now the all-woman Sub Pop post-punk rock band Dum Dum Girls, announced last night along with Delta Spirit and Eli Mardock. Add to that Icky Blossoms headlining the local stage featuring the sultry vocals of Sarah Bohling (along with rumors of another female-fronted band on the local stage) and holy moly it’s Maha Girls Rock.
So did Maha go out of its way to book a more diverse lineup?
“It wasn’t our overarching concern, but it certainly was a focus,” said Maha main stage organizer Tre Brashear. “(We) wanted to make sure we secured some female performers at the beginning of the lineup process so we didn’t end up getting burned like last year with unavailability when it came time to finish out the lineup. I know it sounds simplistic, but last year the list of available performers that came back from our inquiries didn’t have as many females. This year, there were more choices that we thought would be appealing to Maha fans.”
Yesterday’s announcement also adds diversity from an age demographic perspective. Maha was on the verge of becoming an indie legacy festival, with Guided by Voices and Superchunk in years past and Garbage and Desparecidos this year — a veritable tribute to past decades. Yesterday’s announcement changes all of that. Dum Dum Girls, who will be coming off an appearance at this year’s Lollapalooza Fest, and Rounder recording artist Delta Spirit, are among the hotter new indie acts on tour, while Icky Blossoms is an emerging post-punk-dance-rock dynamo.
Fans seem to like the lineup, if strong early ticket sales are any indication. “We are running 80% ahead of 2010, so, yes, very strong considering that we have traditionally gotten 10-20% of our sales on the day of show,” Brashear said. “VIP tickets are also going well, especially with the out-of-towners. (We) sold one in Australia last Friday.”
For Maha to “sell out,” it would need to nearly double last year’s attendance. “We will treat ourselves as sold out at 6,000 GA tickets,” Brashear said of Stinson Park’s capacity. “(We) could likely sell more for that space, but don’t want to overwhelm ourselves and want to make sure that we create a good experience for everyone attending with space to spread out, parking, etc.” Tickets to the Aug. 11 concert, held at Stinson Park, are $35 and available at mahamusicfestival.com.
Maha announcements aren’t over yet. Look for one more announcement in the near future to round out the festival’s lineup. Can the multi-million dollar Red Sky Festival match up to Maha? Guess it all depends on how much you like C&W and hair metal. MECA just announced three of its four headliners: Brad Paisley, Rascal Flatts and Def Leppard. Yee-hawwww!
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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2012 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.