You’d expect the state’s largest city to have a strong music scene, and Omaha delivers with concert venues that pack all kinds of artists and audiences under their roofs. Partially owned by the famed Saddle Creek Records, intimate Slowdown in North Downtown Omaha offers balcony seating and a sunken floor. Hip bands and local barflies mix at O’Leaver’s, owned by members of rock band Cursive.
Architectural details enhance shows at the 1920s Orpheum Theater, while acoustics shine at the modern Holland Performing Arts Center. Rock and country fans head to the CenturyLink Center for upcoming summer shows, such as Coldplay and Shawn Mendes.
Orpheum Theater, Omaha. Photo courtesy of Nebraska Tourism.
Omaha leads the state in recording studios for up-and- comers and the already famous in the music biz. Saddle Creek Records (with an adjacent shop selling musical merch) hosts native Nebraskan Conor Oberst and his Bright Eyes group. Ware House Productions attracted Lady Gaga, and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks laid down vocals at Rainbow Recording Studios.
Head west to Lincoln’s Haymarket district to find shows at Pinnacle Bank Arena, where more than 15,000 fans fill the seats. Artists of all genres play the Bourbon Theatre, a renovated 1920s movie theater, while Broadway musicals and more take the center stage at the Lied Center for Performing Arts.
Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln. Photo by Jay Wilde.
In Norfolk (northwest of Omaha), Divots Concert Series attracts fans from all over. And in the southwest corner of the state, musicians, usually with folk roots, play shows among exposed brick walls at Sehnert’s Bakery and Bieroc Cafe in McCook. Five Rocks Amphitheater in Gering offers a backdrop of Scotts Bluff National Monument.
Five Rocks Amphitheater, Gering. Photo courtesy of Nebraska Tourism.
Listen to your favorite music style at events throughout the state. Evergreens surround the stage at the Pinewood Bowl Theater in Lincoln’s Pioneer Park. The sounds of banjos and mandolins fill the air at the North Platte Country Bluegrass Festival at the Lincoln County Fairgrounds. The Nebraska Folk and Roots Festival brings a peaceful, summer jam to the hills of Branched Oak Farm near Raymond. Join jazz-lovers for free shows in July and August at Omaha’s Jazz on the Green.
Hot Tickets in 2017
Itzhak Perlman April 22, 2017; Lied Center, Lincoln
One of classical music’s superstars, this 16-time Grammy Award-winning violinist wows audiences with his incredible technique and personal charm.
Tim McGraw and Faith Hill
May 12, 2017; Pinnacle Bank Arena, Lincoln
September 22, 2017; CenturyLink Center, Omaha
The country megastar couple combines their solo hits and duets in a reprise of their record-breaking Soul2Soul tour. This is Hill’s first tour in a decade.
The Good Living Tour
June–August, 2017; Various cities
Nebraska’s top original bands and DJs perform free, all-ages concerts in outdoor spaces across Greater Nebraska, thanks to Hear Nebraska, a nonprofit dedicated to bringing cultural events to local communities.
August 5, 2017 ; CenturyLink Center, Omaha
This Toronto teen guitarist rose to fame via social media and his catchy tune “Stitches.” Now the clean-cut pop star headlines his first world tour, Illuminate.
Maha Music Festival
August 20, 2017 ; Aksarben Village, Omaha
Groove to big national and hot local alternative bands and DJs at this daylong, outdoor festival at urban Stinson Park.
Maha Music Festival, Omaha. Photo courtesy of Maha.