Hear Nebraska brings 10-week summer concert series to Grand Island; SWMRS, PLEASURES, Xenia Rubinos tonight

Hear Nebraska brings 10-week summer concert series to Grand Island

Nebraska’s musical diversity is coming to Grand Island’s center stage Fridays this summer.

Hear Nebraska has announced a 10 week summer concert series in the Central Nebraska city, bringing free, all-ages concerts to the new Railside Plaza downtown Friday evenings June 24 to Aug. 26. Each “Hear Grand Island” installment will feature a pair of Nebraska musical acts representing genres from funk to indie rock to country. The events begin with food trucks at 6 p.m., followed by music from 7-9 p.m.

Downtown Grand Island business and building owner Sharena Anson and Grand Island/Hall County Convention & Visitor’s Bureau Executive Director Brad Mellema spearheaded the project. Anson says she’s excited for the concert series to provide a glimpse into downtown Grand Island’s future as an increasingly vibrant cultural destination.

“Grand Island is prime, eager and ready for a concert series and opportunity like this. We’re excited to see the impact on the arts community as well as the quality of life this will have, and it’s only the beginning,” Anson said. “There’s so much talent in Grand Island and not just musically. Being part of bringing Hear Nebraska to GI is exciting — but what’s more exciting is the potential and opportunity that things like this open up for us all.”

Hear Grand Island joins similar Lincoln and Omaha series on HN’s summer programming menu by putting Nebraska music in public spaces for free, family-friendly concerts. Hear Nebraska Executive Director Andrew Norman says that the series is designed to feature diverse Nebraska artists in a convenient and accessible way for audiences, making Railside Plaza a regional Friday night destination.

“After the Grand Island Good Living Tour show, [Omaha folk songwriter] Simon Joyner mentioned how 20 years ago, no one thought Omaha could have a thriving music scene,” Norman says. “We don’t see any reason why Grand Island couldn’t become known for awesome music culture in Central Nebraska in a similar way. We hope the area’s artists and leaders will be encouraged by this development and be inspired to continue the great work they’re doing in new ways.”

HN’s programming expansion into Grand Island joins the Good Living Tour concert series in the organization’s push into Greater Nebraska. It represents another step toward its vision to make Nebraska an internationally known cultural destination.

“​Everyday, amazing national bands drive right right past Grand Island en route to and from Denver, Kansas City, Des Moines, Chicago and Lincoln/Omaha,” Norman says. “We believe Hear Grand Island is an important step toward developing Grand Island’s music community and industry, so we can start getting more and more of those bands — and others — to play concerts in the city.”

Mellema says events like these benefit their host cities more than just financially.

“Although the economic benefits are very real, the effects go deeper than that; it helps to enhance and deepen our entertainment culture,” Mellema says.

Hear Grand Island lineups and further details are on the way. RSVP to the series here, and stay tuned for future announcements.

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Concert Round-Up

An unusually busy Monday begins in Omaha, where Oakland beach punks SWMRS plays Lookout Lounge, 320 S 72nd St, with The Frights. SWMRS comes hot off its debut album Drive North, fittingly produced by FIDLAR frontman Zac Carper. The four-piece has toured recently with Wavves and Twin Peaks. The Frights also released an album in February (You Are Going To Hate This), also with Carper. Local bands The Beat Seekers and The Way Out open the 8 p.m. show. Entry is $13. RSVP here.

Also tonight, Florida synth noise band PLEASURES begins a two-night Nebraska run. It plays O’Leaver’s, 1322 S Saddle Creek Rd, tonight with Omaha’s Stephen Nichols and tomorrow night at Duffy’s Tavern with Flannel Mouth. The DIY band’s live show is quite the site, bursting with strobe lights and visual effects to enhance its sexually charged dark-synth sound. RSVP to tonight’s $5 show here.

And in Lincoln, Brooklyn singer/songwriter Xenia Rubinos plays Vega, 350 Canopy St, with Jacoby Vann. Rubinos blends Caribbean, R&B and indie rock styles together for a unique, soulful sound. Rubinos signed with Anti- Records earlier in the year, and is currently on a U.S. tour. Entry to tonight’s 9 p.m. show is $12. RSVP here.

Head to our statewide calendar here for a fuller listing. If you don’t see your show or one you plan to attend, email us at news@hearnebraska.org, add it yourself via the “contribute” button on our website or add it in the comments. And keep those story ideas and news tips coming.