For the first time since 2019, Maha was back this year as a two-day festival packed with musicians, both local and not, representing a range of genres.
After COVID-19 pandemic protocols led to a scaled-down event with fewer people last year, its return to Stinson Park on Friday and Saturday with more music, food, drinks and activities was welcomed.
Maha co-director Rachel Grace said organizers were expecting around 11,000 to attend the event this year.
The pandemic canceled the 2020 festival and shortened last year’s event to one day with reduced capacity. Grace said it was exciting to bring back some components that were cut last year, such as the Community Village, an area where nonprofits set up informational booths and offer activities.
“It’s so central to our mission to share the stage in that way, that last year didn’t quite feel right,” she said. “We’re also just able to have a few more food vendors than last year and a few more activities, so it’s kind of the real full experience.”
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Friday’s headliner was indie-rock group Car Seat Headrest. Beach House, a dream pop duo from Baltimore, was set to headline Saturday night following a performance by rap and hip-hop artist Princess Nokia.
The event’s lineup also featured several local music artists, including Marcey Yates, The Real Zebos, Dominique Morgan, Las Cruxes, Bad Self Portraits and DJ Shor-T.
Besides the music, the event included several food and drink vendors, the Community Village, and activities like cornhole and photo booths. This year’s Maha also boasted an expanded local beer selection.
“Nebraska has such a wonderful craft brewery scene, so we wanted to make sure that we’re highlighting that,” Grace said.
Multiple attendees described Saturday’s weather as “perfect,” as temperatures reached a high of 84 degrees in the afternoon and were to fall into the 70s in the evening.
Daniela Padilla, a 35-year-old from Omaha, said this was her second time attending Maha. She brought her daughter and said she appreciated the family-friendly atmosphere.
“It’s been fun watching the bands and all the activities they have going on,” she said. “Surprisingly, there’s a lot of stuff that kids are able to do.”
Heriberto Salinas Rivera, a 28-year-old from Omaha, said he’s a Beach House fan and was also excited to see PUP on Saturday.
While Maha is far smaller than other Midwestern festivals like Chicago’s Lollapalooza and Milwaukee’s Summerfest, Salinas Rivera said he’s excited to have a local festival offering a diverse music lineup.
“It’s still growing and hopefully continues to grow,” he said.
Mia LaHood, a 23-year-old from Omaha, said she last attended Maha when Lizzo headlined in 2019, and was excited to see Beach House and Princess Nokia this year.
“I think they do a really good job with getting up-and-coming artists,” she said.
Photos: 2022 Maha Festival