NOMAFEST kicks off Saturday at 10 a.m. at 24th and Lake streets. Music at Miller Park will take place on June 11, July 16 and Aug. 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. 

OMAHA, Neb. — May 20, 2022

The first NOMAFEST is set for Saturday morning at 10 a.m. It’ll feature 14 bands from Big Wade and Black Swan Theory, Enjoli and Vibe Check. North Omaha Music and Arts’ executive director, Dana Murray said they’re bringing soul back to the historic jazz district. 

Murray calls NOMAFEST a coming-out party for North Omaha Music and Arts.

“This is really aimed at reaching the kids where they are today and bringing about mechanisms that are truly going to inspire them,” Murray said. 

Murray said to think of NOMA as a music academy for youth. Its home is at the heart of 24th street and is taking over the former Love’s Jazz Center. 

“It’s not like we’re trying to reinvent the wheel,” Murray said. 

More like plugging back into the music scene and according to Murray NOMAFEST is the first of its kind for North Omaha.

“I can’t remember a festival with 14 bands,” Murray said. 

Omaha Performing Arts is also part of the music comeback with its free series. Music at Miller Park debuted for the first time last summer.

“North Omaha still has soul. North Omaha still has the thriving arts and culture as part of who we are,” Bianca Hartley said. 

Harley is the vice president of human capital and diversity and inclusion at Omaha Performing Arts. She said North Omaha was an epicenter for arts and culture back in the 40s and 50s. 

“Historically speaking where you would see the Duke Ellingtons and the Etta James and Nat King Cole trios and Ray Charles and some of those types of musicians that would come here to Omaha,” Harley said. 

Harley said the series is made accessible for the community to build community. 

“We deserve all of it,” Harley said. “A full range of human emotions which can be celebration, community and fun and creativity and dance and music,” Harley said. 

Murray said even though it’s the first it won’t be the last. 

“This area’s been historically the Mecca for all things cool. We’re just trying to fertilize the soil and nurture the spirit of new beginnings,” Murray said. 

NOMAFEST starts at 10 a.m. Tickets are $10 if you pay here and $12 cash at the door. 

Music at Miller Park will take place on June 11, July 16 and Aug. 20 from 7 to 9 p.m. That music series is free.