By Angel Mai
Oct. 12, 2017
Sower Records and the Young Professionals for Credit Unions will be presenting the third annual SowerFest this Sunday in the bandshell area of Antelope Park from 12 to 7 PM.
The free concert will gather Lincoln area musicians, various political figures and representatives, vendors and community organizations to create advocacy and awareness for community outreach. The goal of SowerFest is to create more transparency for the Credit Union movement.
The Young Professionals for Credit Unions organization aims to strengthen and engage young credit union professionals through a wide variety of networking opportunities, educational seminars and community events. They promote success in young professionals, generally between the ages of 18-35, by teaching skills that are current with industry trends.
The Founder of Sower Records, Mike Semrad, created SowerFest around four years ago. He wanted to include bands and sounds that were not officially signed with SowerRecords. He said that the festival is important because it is imperative that we establish our community voice.
“Since I moved back around five years ago, I have tried to [be] a big part [of] these silent and sometimes loud movements surrounding these very important issues,” Semrad said.
SowerFest originally started at Duffy’s Tavern, but Semrad was more than happy to have Antelope Park as a venue. In his opinion, when Sower Fest was downtown, “It lost somewhat of the ‘community’ message I was looking for when I first started the festival.”
However the event has still grown over the years, including a strong community message, which Semrad has high hopes for.
“I think this will make big waves as we progress through the years,” he said.
Seven performers are scheduled for SowerFest: Kait Berreckman, Jack Hotel, The Bottle Tops, Will Hutchinson, Emily Bass and The Near Miracle, Matt Cox, and Mad Dog and the 20/20s.
Berreckman and her band from Omaha are known for music that ranges between rock, country, and folk pop. They won the OEAA Best New Artist award in 2014 and released their second full-length album Battle Scenes in 2016. The album is filled with songs that are sung with unapologetic authenticity and backed with rock.
Jack Hotel is a folk and country blues group from Lincoln. Hear Nebraska described this acoustic band as “a joy to watch for its pure precision.” Since their debut in 2012, Jack Hotel has earned recognition as one of the best, and most original, folk/Americana acts in the midwest. Each song tells a story due to bandleader Günter Voelker’s power of observation and ear for language. They released the album Voices from the Moon”in 2016 which won the Omaha Entertainment Arts and Award for Album of the year.
Lincoln bluegrass band The Bottle Tops was started by a relationship full of music between wife and husband, Kerry and Mike Semrad. Their journey in music together creates a comfortable connection with the listeners. Kerry’s background of gospel and blues mixed with Mike’s country and rock influences combine to create a sound that can only be described as Americana.
Lincoln’s Will Hutchinson is a new addition to the SowerFest lineup this year. He has written and released three full-length studio albums after beginning to perform original music in 2009. His songs are full of depth that he uses to craft each story in all his songs. He was described as an “exquisite folk pop” artist in the Lincoln Journal Star. He released an album called Wildflower People on Sept. 21.
Emily Bass and The Near Miracle believe in bringing the music to the people. They participated in Lincoln Calling and are regular performers in Lincoln and Omaha.
Matt Cox is an award-winning Americana, folk, country, blues & roots artist, from Omaha, who has been playing since 1995. He is now a six-time Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award Winner for Best Country/Americana and Best Blues. He performs with an ever-changing lineup with a raw energy that reveals the passion and experience that friends share with each other on stage and off.
Mad Dog and the 20/20s is a Ska/Punk band from Lincoln who released their album Things We Should Have Said (But We’ll Dance To Instead) on July 7.
Sower Fest Sponsor Star City Pride will be donating all vendor tent and providing volunteer services. By participating in SowerFest, they are fulfilling their goal to sponsor and promote educational programs and events and to celebrate the diversity within communities so as to ultimately achieve unity, harmony and equality.
The People Project is joining Sower Fest through promotions and volunteer efforts. The goal of The People Project is to hear stories from the communities, work with financial cooperatives, Nonprofit organizations, home based vendors, and small businesses to create innovation. They believe that innovative street outreach is what will liven the future or our communities. They give a voice to Credit Unions against big bank money going into investments on such projects like the KeyStone XL Pipeline, DAPL, etc. Dan Marquez will be speaking between bands at the event.
Other sponsors are Millenium Corporate Credit Union, KZUM 89.3, Legacy Retirement Communities, RedRebel Media, Young Professionals for Credit Union, Bold Nebraska, Eagle Printing & Sign, and LincOne.
Lawn chairs are encouraged and food trucks will be on hand.
For more details, visit sowerrecords.com.
Angel Mai is an editorial intern for KZUM.