Maha Music Festival sells out to biggest crowd yet


Kylie Squiers

Rap artist Lizzo belts out one of her hit songs. Photo by Kylie Squiers/the Gateway

The 11th annual Maha Festival once again stole the heart of Omaha, selling out for first time ever.

The festival consisted of Maha Discovery and the Maha Music Festival, giving thousands of individuals the opportunity to explore music, arts, technology and local businesses over the course of four days.

The music festival took place in Stinson Park, which is located in Aksarben Village. The park was filled with roughly 10,000 people who enjoyed the live music while roaming around the different booths and, of course, the food and beverage stands.

Maha’s first debut was in 2009. Now, 10 years later, Maha has grown into the city’s biggest party yet.

“The first time I attended Maha was in 2014 when Death Cab for Cutie headlined,” said UNO student Claire DeCoster. “It was a packed crowd then, so seeing what Maha has become today makes me so happy. For Omaha to have such a creative, inclusive festival that draws in thousands and amazing artists reminds me how wonderful our city can be.”

When the artist lineups were released back in April, the hype began to buzz about this year’s headliner, Lizzo – a rising alternative rap artist that expresses soul and body positivity.

Lizzo gave the final performance on Saturday to a packed house and sold-out crowd. The set began with her strutting down the stage in a skin-tight, purple leotard, ready to rock the show.

The excitement rose, and the audience was instantly captivated by her confidence, and of course, her sass.

“Lizzo was too good,” UNO student Kylee Morris said. “Everyone in the crowd was definitely living their best life during her performance. I also loved how she interacted with the audience during her performance. No one wanted it to end.”

Fans at Maha Music Festival. Photo by Kylie Squiers/the Gateway

Aside from Lizzo’s up-beat celebration, there were also a handful of other artists at the festival such as Matt Maeson, Jenny Lewis, Matt and Kim, Courtney Barnett and Oh Sees. A fan-favorite trait of Maha is that the artists always have a wide variety of styles and music.

“What I love about Maha is that they always have a diverse lineup, so you get to hear rappers and soul singers and indie-rock artists,” DeCoster said. “I feel like all the artists had a message of love over hate, and I think that’s so important at this time.”

As Maha continues to bring art and culture together, the festival is only going to get bigger. And, if Maha also keeps up with their diverse and dazzling lineups, Omaha can expect more sold-out festivals in the coming years.

“I was so bummed when I got on the website Monday morning to see they sold out of Saturday tickets,” Morris said. “I posted everywhere looking for a ticket, and after many scammers reached out, I finally found got ahold of one that looked legit. Right after I Venmo’d her, she emailed me a real ticket. I really lucked out. I feel bad for all the people that got scammed. Next year, I’ll know to be more on top of things and get my ticket ASAP.”

Maha is more than just a festival, it is an experience – something different, something new. Keep a lookout for next year’s lineup, and grab your ticket ASAP.