Volunteering at MAHA 2021


Charlie Palmer, Staff Writer

Since 2009, the MAHA summer music festival has been held in Omaha at various locations; most recently in Stinson Park in the Aksarben area of midtown. Over the years, MAHA has featured concerts from popular music artists and groups including Lizzo, Vince Staples, Run the Jewels, Car Seat Headrest, Modest Mouse, TV on the Radio, Father John Misty, Drive By Truckers, and Weezer.

Many music enthusiasts look forward to the festival each summer. However, MAHA was put to a pause last year due to Covid-19. 2020 was a rough year for music festival lovers as nearly everything was shut down to reduce the spread of the virus during the pandemic. This left people yearning for music to finally come back. Luckily enough, MAHA was announced to return July 31, 2021.

Mike Swartz has been involved with MAHA for five years and has been a head volunteer for the past two years.

Mike’s favorite part about MAHA is hanging out with the other volunteers. “There are 400 volunteers who don’t get paid. They are just doing it because they want to be part of this big event.”

Swartz explained that there are many things different about the MAHA festival this year than ones previously. “We had to sell 75 percent capacity this year because of Covid-19. Tickets sold out several days before MAHA began.”

“Another change is that the community village had to be cut out because people weren’t supposed to congregate in small areas.”

In previous years, MAHA used radio-frequency identification (RFID) for scanning tickets. However, this year they decided to switch to scanning tickets via a code on your phone. “This year’s new way of scanning tickets with your phone is much easier than with radio chips. RFID was cool but ahead of its time.”

This year, MAHA was cut down to only one day as compared to the previous two days in 2019. “In years to come, MAHA can expect to return back to a two-day music festival. Because of Covid, we condensed it into one day, but we’re gonna take it back to two days.”

Teenagers can get involved in MAHA through volunteering. “You can volunteer if you’re at least 15-16 years old and are supervised. Every volunteer gets free tickets to MAHA.”