Column: Red Sky’s demise can’t be blamed on just one thing

From the pages of the Omaha World-Herald.

Goodbye, Red Sky. You’ll be missed.

Well, some will miss you, but not all.

I was amazed how many people I heard from (especially on social media) who said something to the effect of “Finally!” or “No surprise there.” (Of course, these are the same people who never gave it a chance and probably hoped for it to fail. I’m sure everyone appreciates their support.)

I’ve written a lot about the festival, which was hosted by Live Nation and the Metropolitan Entertainment and Convention Authority. It lasted two years and seemed originally designed to put something in TD Ameritrade Park other than the College World Series, as well as do something fun.

Red Sky had some broad strokes that were great (big names, good venue), but a lot of little details (miscues, bad weather, scheduling and plenty more) killed it.

Naysayers always wanted something (namely an indie rock festival) they were never going to get. Red Sky was never intended to be Omaha’s Coachella.

I’m certainly not happy to see it go. It was a good event for Omaha even if they booked Kid Rock and Brad Paisley. It served an audience that a Coachella — or, for that matter, Maha Music Festival — isn’t serving and would never serve.

There were many elements planners could have improved. Now they will never get the chance.

Who’s to blame? Both organizations will say publicly that Red Sky was a full partnership.

To me, it seemed sometimes that Live Nation was making the big decisions. They picked the bands. They were responsible for its dates. MECA often was the public face, especially here in Omaha, but it wasn’t completely in control.

Who pulled the plug? Live Nation. Sources said it lost too much money and didn’t want to continue even though MECA wanted to soldier on and improve the event.

The good thing is that now they can do that. I doubt they’ll come back with a festival format, but I bet you’ll start to see a lot of outdoor concerts there starting next summer.

It might work out better than a festival ever could.



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