About

Maha is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on bringing people together. We curate and produce cultural experiences with the goal of positively impacting the economic vitality of our home city, Omaha.

Our main event, Maha Festival, is a multi-day celebration of music and discovery that takes place every summer.

HISTORY

Founded as Maha Music Festival in 2009, the event has grown steadily since its inaugural fest, which took place in front of a humble crowd at Lewis and Clark Landing on the Omaha riverfront. Since then, the festival has grown from one day to four, moved its main stage to Aksarben Village, and expanded a ton by incorporating a number of celebrated and creative community partnerships into the mix.

Maha Discovery was established as the Big Omaha conference in 2009. Over the next decade, this unprecedented event hosted names like Gary Vaynerchuk and Marc Ecko, representing industries ranging from journalism to software development — all with the backdrop of the burgeoning Silicon Prairie. In 2018, Big Omaha permanently joined with Maha Music Festival and hosted the “10th and final” event of its kind. Now, the core of Big Omaha will live on at Maha: its celebratory spirit, infectious enthusiasm, and commitment to the future of our region.

FUTURE

Maha is evolving into an annual collection of experiences that reflect the diverse cultural aspects of our community and region — a broad mix, ranging from live music to food & drink showcases, art installations to film screenings, speaker events to fashion shows, and the many creative ventures in between.

Land acknowledgment

The city of Omaha exists on land that has been home to culture and community long before our organization was ever conceived. The Omaha tribe, for which our city is named, was also known as U-Mo’n-Ho’n (“upstream” or “against the current”). The Tribe originally settled near the Missouri River, and in the early 1700s were mapped as “the Maha, a wandering nation.” 

Beginning in the 1800s, contact with European settlers resulted in waves of devastating smallpox epidemics, and a series of treaties were signed between the Tribe and the federal government, all of which reduced the Tribe’s sovereignty or land, or both.

In 1854, the Omaha tribe was forced to cede their land and move to a reservation that is present-day Macy, Nebraska. The U.S. government’s founding of Omaha did not mean that the Tribe disappeared, however. They continued to adapt to life on the reservation, and by the 20th century, many had moved back to the city of Omaha.

Though we acknowledge the Omaha tribe in recognizing the origin name of our organization and festival, it is important to also note that they were not the only area tribe displaced. Others include the Southern Ponca, Ioway, Otoe, Missouri, and the Sauk and Fox tribes.

JOBS AND INTERNSHIPS

There are no open positions at this time. 

PEOPLE

VOLUNTEERS

80+ Key Volunteers and Captains
700+ Event Volunteers and Street Teamers

Staff

Emily Cox, Operations Manager
Rachel Grace, Marketing & Communications Manager
Lauren Martin, Executive Director
Matt Pollard, Graphic Designer

Board of Directors

Tre Brashear, Chair
Chad Brough
Sherry Huffman, Secretary
John Henry Muller
Blake Richards
Leslie Spethman, Vice Chair
TJ Twit, Treasurer