2023 Nebraska Bluegrass concert series returns to Innovation Campus

Nebraska Bluegrass Concert Series

Nebraska Innovation Campus has partnered with local organizations to offer and host the Nebraska Bluegrass Concert Series for a second year. The live music concert series is free and open to the public and will feature local bluegrass bands opening for nationally recognized bluegrass bands from the Ozark Mountains to the Appalachian regions of the United States. The concerts will take place in the plaza at Nebraska Innovation Campus on September 6, 13 and 20. Food and drink will be available for purchase from The Mill Coffee & Bistro starting at 5:00 p.m., concerts will begin at 6:00 p.m.

“We are excited to host the second year of the Nebraska Bluegrass Concert Series in the plaza at NIC,” said Kate Engel, NIC interim executive director. “This series is a wonderful way to connect with NIC Partners and community members, and we are excited to activate our outdoor space with six fantastic bluegrass bands. Thanks to our generous partners for making this series a possibility for a second year.”

The concert series will kick off on September 6 with headliner The Cleverlys and opening band The McGovern Stringband. The Cleverlys is a one-of-a-kind, unique comedy and music experience. From the group’s humble beginnings in the Ozark Mountains, to currently headlining festivals and PACs all over the country, even performing regularly on the coveted Grand Ole Opry stage. This group is a master class of comedic timing, showmanship and world class musicianship. The McGovern Stringband is an acoustic Americana and bluegrass all string band from Lincoln, Neb. Their three- and four-part harmonies, combined with percussive acoustic instrumentation, bring back that legendary high lonesome sound of bluegrass.

The September 13 concert will be performed by John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band and opener The Wildwoods. John Jorgenson Bluegrass Band is an all-star bluegrass supergroup featuring four legendary, award-winning musicians – John Jorgenson on acoustic guitar, mandolin and vocals; Herb Pedersen on banjo, acoustic guitar and vocals; Mark Fain on bass; and Patrick Sauber on acoustic guitar and vocals – delivering bluegrass like no one has ever heard it before. The four combine forces to form a spot-on union of impeccable musicianship, incomparable songwriting, incredible harmony vocals (a fresh twist combining bluegrass with elements of West Coast folk rock) and seasoned showmanship. This is the “high lonesome sound” of American roots music at its finest. Evening opener The Wildwoods are a Folk/Americana trio based in Lincoln, Neb., whose flowing songwriting tandem has been praised by Paste Magazine as "focused and charmingly human." The Wildwoods' delicate melodies and descriptive lyrics come from nature, love, experiences from the road and growing up in Nebraska.

The final concert on September 20 will feature crowd favorites, and returning bands from the 2022 concert series, Appalachian Road Show with The Shucks Brothers opening the evening. Appalachian Road Show is a visionary acoustic ensemble, bringing new-generation interpretations of traditional Americana, bluegrass and folk songs, as well as offering innovative original music, all presented with a common thread tied directly to the heart of the Appalachian regions of the United States. GRAMMY-nominated banjoist Barry Abernathy joins forces with GRAMMY-winning fiddler Jim VanCleve, fresh off his recent stint touring with multi-platinum country artist Josh Turner, as well as esteemed vocalist and mandolinist Darrell Webb, who has recorded and toured with Dolly Parton and Rhonda Vincent, among others. The group also includes 26-year-old “old soul” guitarist Zeb Snyder, whose fierce and versatile playing recalls Doc Watson and Norman Blake as readily as it does Duane Allman and Stevie Ray Vaughn. The Shucks Brothers, based in Lincoln, Neb., will kick off the evening with great harmony vocals and some serious string tickling on bluegrass, country and western swing favorites.

“The Mill is thrilled to be part of bringing live music to Lincoln in a free, family-friendly environment,” said Daniel Sloan, owner of The Mill Coffee & Tea. “Nebraska Innovation Campus is a beautiful venue, sort of bluegrass on the prairie, but still in the city.”

The concert series is proudly sponsored by NIC, The Mill Coffee & Tea, ALLO Fiber, Union Bank & Trust, The Scarlet Hotel and Nebraska Nova. Tours of Nebraska Innovation Studio, the makerspace at NIC, will also be offered at 5:30 p.m. before each performance. Limited concert seating is available, attendees are asked to bring their own chairs. Concert attendees may access NIC by bike via the Billy Wolf Trail, by campus bus service from City Campus and East Campus with a valid UNL/StarTran buss pass, and by personal vehicle with parking available in the paved parking lot north of Transformation Drive. For additional information, please visit https://www.nebraskabluegrass.com.