Column: Don’t like Red Sky’s lineup? Don’t go

The following is my column from today’s World-Herald, but I thought I’d post it here for you blog readers as well.

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 By Kevin Coffey
Copyright ©2011 Omaha World-Herald®

Mention the words “Red Sky Music Festival” to certain people around town and be prepared to have a shoe (or other blunt object) chucked at your head.

People are mad.

A ton of negative feedback has been piled on at the festival’s Facebook page. It’s to the point where people have called for the jobs of those organizing the festival.

I think those folks should chill out. (Suggested activities: Log off Facebook for a minute. Put on a Smiths CD. Go for a walk. Deep breaths.)

Don’t like the festival? Don’t buy tickets. Your message will be heard.

I’ll admit that I’m underwhelmed by the lineup, but I’m not surprised by it.

While in earlier writings I pined for names like Wilco, Jay-Z, Phoenix, Muse and R.E.M. to play the festival, I knew seeing all but maybe one of those was unrealistic.

All along, I’ve seen Red Sky and Maha Music Festival being two separate things: the former with a broader, more commercial reach and the latter with an indie music and arts focus.

I think having both is a good thing and will satisfy music fans of all stripes.

There’s certainly a fan base here for 311 and Kid Rock as sure as there’s one for Guided By Voices and Cursive. (I submit to you as evidence that this music writer owns albums by all four of the above-mentioned groups.)

I hope for bigger and better things for both festivals. I can’t wait for Maha to expand to encompass two days (or maybe three?) and a different, bigger venue. And I hope Red Sky looks at more indie and underground acts beyond STS9.

And they will. Eventually.

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What do you think? Let’s talk in the comments.

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One notion that I’d like to put to bed is that “the taxpayers will foot the bill if Red Sky fails.”

That statement has been thrown around a lot and is wholly inaccurate. Sure, the city owns the facilities that MECA operates. But MECA is its own business, uses its own profits and has its own cash reserves, which totaled $12.7 million in the last report by The World-Herald.

If Red Sky were to lose money, MECA and Live Nation are on the hook, certainly not the city.

Your tax dollars won’t figure into the equation at all.

For example, if MECA booked a performer at the Qwest Center and that concert lost money, MECA would pick up the slack. The city doesn’t have anything to do with it.

The same principle applies to Red Sky.

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THE BANDS
As it stands right now, these bands will be playing at each festival:

Red Sky Music Festival

Journey, Night Ranger, 311, Sublime With Rome, Kid Rock, Jason Aldean, Chris Young, Thompson Square, Better Than Ezra, George Clinton, Cowboy Mouth, The Fab Four — The Ultimate Beatles Tribute, Bruce Hornsby & the Noisemakers, Buddy Guy, 10,000 Maniacs, Sister Hazel, STS9, Five For Fighting

Maha Music Festival

Guided By Voices, Cursive, Matisyahu, J Mascis, Reverend Horton Heat, Noah’s Ark Was A Spaceship, The Machete Archive, The So-So Sailors

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