By: Sydney Neben
Photos by: Steffan Decker, Madisyn Hahn, Ty Hawkins, Sydney Neben and Levi Ventura
Sept. 25, 2019

Over the past 16 years, Lincoln Calling has grown, and Lincoln along with it. 2019 marked one of the largest festivals yet, with over 80 bands performing over a span of three days, four venues and two outdoor stages. Headliners this year included Freakabout, Lee Fields & The Expressions, Soccer Mommy and many more.

But, Lincoln Calling isn’t just for larger bands. This festival is a way to bring the musical circle and Lincoln’s community together. 14th street was shut down for the Night Market stage, as well as other booths for local restaurants and businesses. Other venues in town included The Bourbon Theatre, Duffy’s, Bodega’s, 1867 and The Zoo Bar. The rest of downtown Lincoln was still open for business, so patrons of other restaurants and bars could also take part in the festivities.

Bands from across Nebraska and the Midwest all gathered for the festival this year. Local acts such as Salt Creek, Talent Show and All Girls are Machine Guns played 30-minute long sets in the venue designated. For local bands Lincoln Calling is a chance to play a hometown gig for family and friends. Though not all bands that performed were local to the state. Take The Josephine’s for example. This particular band performed on the Sept. 20 on the Night Market stage. Members of the band informed the audience that they drove 12 hours from Kentucky in order to perform that night. While on stage the band members mentioned the hospitality of Lincoln and how they were truly enjoying their time in Nebraska.

While the 20th went off smoothly, the night of Sept. 21 threw in a little surprise for Lincoln Calling goers. A classic late summer thunderstorm pounded over Lincoln, dumping rain and lighting on downtown. Acts that were to perform on outdoor stages like the Night Market and Duffy’s Backlot Stage, had to cancel their performances. Though this did not hinder the rest of the festival. Organizers quickly drew up a new schedule to post across social media to let bands and fans alike know that the party would still go on!

Lincoln Calling also displays just how diverse the music community of Nebraska can be. There wasn’t one genre excluded from the festival, so fans could see anything from pop to punk. The Night Market could be playing country, but just next-door 1867 a metal band played. Noted Latinx bands such as Histrionic and Tatiana Hazel exhibited just some of the diverse culture that Lincoln and Nebraska hold.

The Tugboat Gallery also had experimental and smaller instrumental groups mixed in with the art displayed. The annual Lincoln Arts Festival was a part of the Lincoln Calling celebration. Much of P street was dedicated to many visual artists.

While some may only know Lincoln for Husker Football, others know it for the wide range of musical styles. There are so many incredibly talented bands within Lincoln’s community that have a chance to play and show off at Lincoln Calling. Thanks to Lincoln Calling people get the chance to experience new music, and maybe even find their new favorite bands.

Madisyn Hahn, Ty Hawkins, Sydney Neben and Levi Ventura are multimedia interns with KZUM.