Omaha’s Maha Festival Taps Knitting Factory Entertainment As Exclusive Talent Buyer

Maha Festival
Ben Semisch
– Maha Festival
Lizzo headlines the 2019 Maha Festival in Omaha, Neb.

Maha Festival named Knitting Factory Entertainment the exclusive talent buyer for its annual arts, music and technology festival in Omaha, Neb. The 2021 edition is to take place July 28-Aug. 1, 2021 in locations around the city.

James Irvine, KFE’s Omaha-based talent buyer, will co-lead programming with KFE’s Danny Glazier as the festival expands to five days from four in 2021. While Maha Festival didn’t take place this year, the 2019 edition drew about 15,000 attendees and featured artists including Lizzo, Jenny Lewis, Courtney Barnett, Matt and Kim, The Oh Sees, and others.  
 “We are beyond excited to work on Maha 2021 and build a long-lasting relationship with the organization,” Irvine said in a statement. “
The team is already starting to work on a 2021 lineup, which is expected to be unveiled early in the year. 
“From the get-go, it was just a natural fit for us. The first call with Maha felt like we were working with long-time friends” Glazier said. “Being able to help craft such a great festival, while working with good people, really speaks to what we are trying to do at KF going forward.” 
Maha Festival was founded as Maha Music Festival in 2009 and grown to include non-music presentations as panels on technology, innovation, food, wellness and other topics, as well as showcasing a burgeoning craft beer scene. Omaha Lit Fest, comedy, art also have homes at Maha Festival, which leverages community, non-profit and creative industry participation. Maha has grown to champion diversity in programming, lineup and venues, as a SXSW meets TED-type performance and conference program at both of its outdoor stages and intimate venues around Omaha. 
“Working within industries that are typically white male-dominated, Maha makes a concerted effort to book underrepresented performers—often in headlining slots—to account for the majority of our lineup. We’re looking forward to working with KFE, and continuing those diverse, inclusive booking practices,” Maha executive director Lauren Martin said. “We’ve had an opportunity to get to know James and Danny through their work with [local music venue] Slowdown over the years, are excited about the potential the partnership holds — especially as we navigate safely hosting major events post-pandemic .” 
Maha and Slowdown recently launched a fall concert series, running Friday and Saturday from through October 3 and taking place in the open air outside at Slowdown, featuring, among others, the “afro-futuristic experimental subculture soul” of Mesonjixx; folk singer- songwriter Andrea von Kampen; and alt-country Americana band Clarence Tilton. 
After joining KFE in 2011, Danny Glazier was promoted to talent buyer for Knitting Factory Presents’ West Coast Club division in 2014, and books venues in the 300- to 4,000-capacity range across the Pacific Northwest, including Knitting Factory Concert Houses in Boise, Idaho and Spokane, Wash. 
Knitting Factory Entertainment finished 2019 with 331,231 tickets sold across its club venues, for a gross of more than $10 million, good for No. 65 on Pollstar’s year-end list of worldwide concert promoters of any size.