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Parquet courts

Indie rockers Parquet Courts are one of the top-tier headliners for Lincoln Calling 2018, set for Sept. 17-22 in five downtown venues.

Parquet Courts, Lion Babe, Waxahatchee and Japanese Breakfast top the initial list of performers for Lincoln Calling, the annual downtown multivenue, multi-artist music festival set for Sept. 17-22.

An estimated 8,000 people attended last year’s Lincoln Calling, which brought more than 100 bands and comedians to six downtown venues.

While it won’t have an artist at the level of Charli XCX, who topped the  Lincoln Calling 2017 lineup, the 2018 festival will again feature some of the most-acclaimed emerging artists in indie rock, R&B and rap.

“I would argue all of our first-tier (artists) are going to be Coachella, Pitchfork acts,” said Lincoln Calling director Spencer Munson. “You’re going to see all of them on major festival lineups this summer. They’re also bands that don’t play Nebraska often, if at all. I don’t think Parquet Courts has ever played Nebraska, Lion Babe hasn’t been through. I'm really happy we can bring some bands here for the first time.”

Japanese Breakfast — the Portland, Oregon, indie popster tagged by Rolling Stone as one of the artists to watch at Coachella — played the giant California festival last weekend, as did R&B duo Lion Babe and rocker Ron Gallo.

Lincoln Calling will be celebrating its 15th year in September, both during the festival and on social media, where it has already begun posting posters and lineups from the previous 14 festivals.

“We’re going to really make the celebration in the Night Market extra special,” Munson said. “We’re going to have pop-up concerts all over downtown, events with our sponsors.”

The Night Market is a stage and vendor area set up on 14th Street between O and P streets. Last year, the first Night Market featured Lincoln and Omaha bands on a small stage.

This year, Munson said, the Night Market will have a bigger stage and a lineup featuring several of the top-tier artists. "It's going to be as big as Zoofest," Munson said. 

The festival will take place at Duffy’s Tavern, the Zoo Bar, 1867 Bar, Bodega’s Alley and the Bourbon Theatre, along with the Night Market, the same venues as in 2017.

Lincoln Calling 2017 had record attendance, in part driven by a lineup that featured more top-tier artists than any of the previous 13 festivals.

“We’ve steadily grown,” Munson said. "We probably had 5,000 in 2015, 6,000 in 2016 and 8,000 last year. It’s nice, steady growth. I think 9,500 is a pretty good guess for this year.”

Festival passes for Lincoln Calling went on sale timed with Monday’s announcement. A limited number of $35 passes were made available at, to be followed by a limited run of $40 passes before the price increases to $45. Passes will be $50 during the week of Lincoln Calling. Individual night passes and single-venue tickets will be available during the festival.

“We’re trying to keep it inexpensive,” Munson said. “Most three-day festivals will charge $100 or more. We’ve been able to do it because we have great support from the city, donations and a long list of sponsors.”

A second announcement of Lincoln Calling performers, workshops and other festival events will take place in mid-June. The artists announced as performers this week are:

Parquet Courts, Lion Babe, Waxahatchee, Japanese Breakfast, Leikeli47, Ron Gallo, Rad Trads, The Nude Party, Ought, Ohmme, Kind Country, Jared and The Mill, Moodie Black, Reyna, Adam & Kizzie, Ronnie Heart, The Grahams, Gymshorts, Hi-Lux, Pixel Grip, Bonehart Flannigan, Dr Joe, Kei, Universe Contest, Emily Bass plays 1968, Night Shop, Anna St. Louis, FREAKABOUT, Seasaw and The Dilla Kids.

Showcases curated by Plack Blague, Sower Records, Twinsmith and Omaha Under the Radar were also announced. No performers on those showcases were listed.

Reach the writer at 402-473-7244 or

On Twitter @LJSWolgamott.


Entertainment reporter/columnist

L. Kent Wolgamott is an entertainment reporter and columnist.

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