Annual Report 2015

2015 Annual Report - Hear Nebraska

Another huge year

introduction by Andrew and Angie Norman, Hear Nebraska Co-Founders

This truly has been Hear Nebraska's biggest year.

We invested $100,000 directly into Nebraska's music industry, of which $50,000 was paid to bands, and $35,000 to production companies and venues. The journalism arm of our nonprofit posted 570 stories and 1,200 calendar events and published 70+ videos and 5,000+ photos.

But before you learn about everything Hear Nebraska did in 2015, below, you might be interested to know the organization started as a bunch of ink-scribbled ideas on a dive-bar’s cocktail napkin in 2009. The crux: Change the world’s impression of Nebraska by cultivating and harvesting one of the state’s greatest natural resources — music.

It was a big idea with the most humble beginnings.

Now, as Hear Nebraska begins its sixth full year as a nonprofit, we’re proud to be able to look back and see so many of those scribbles (“statewide tour,” for instance) realized. Hear Nebraska’s incredible growth has only been possible due to a small group of believers, which grew much larger to include the state’s most dynamic board of directors, a small but mighty staff and an awesome team of volunteers.

While we no longer work on cocktail napkins, we remain just as scrappy. We're thrilled about what the organization has in store for 2016 and beyond, and we know you will be, too. However you interact with HN — live events, social media, our website — stay tuned. Because thanks to the support of our donors, and to the hard work of many talented Nebraskans, we’re just getting started.

INVESTMENT Sustaining Nebraska music through events
Produced more than
Hosted shows in
Booked more than
invested directly into Nebraska's music industry
paid to bands and musical artists
paid to production companies and venues
GOOD LIVING TOUR Hear Nebraska's most ambitious endeavor yet

Our inaugural Good Living Tour marked our first statewide program, taking place in nine Nebraska communities.

Our journalists produced 18 feature stories and nine videos on music-related subjects in Imperial, Ogallala, Scottsbluff/Gering, Valentine, North Platte, Kearney, West Point, Nebraska City and Grand Island. All told, our stories garnered more than 25,000 views.

As a culmination, our free, all-ages concerts in each of the communities featured a diverse mix of local and statewide bands of all genres, attracting more than 2,200 concertgoers.

77% of attendants said, “Events like this rarely occur in my community,” and 65% “more favorably view Nebraska music talent.”

JOURNALISM How we covered the state's music with stories and multimedia

Posted 570 stories and 1,200 calendar events

170,000+ views

Published 70+ videos and 5,000+ photos

40,000+ views

Increase in Nebraskan Visitors*

1. Imperial +858%

2. Scottsbluff +675%

3. North Platte +293%

4. Grand Island +289%

5. Kearney +152%

* of cities with more than 1,000 visitors

map of visitors
PARTNERSHIPS With whom we banded together
CALENDAR A month-by-month rundown of what we accomplished in 2015


4th-Annual Take Cover

In this annual fundraiser, 30 Nebraska musicians — 15 in Lincoln’s Bourbon Theatre, and 15 in Omaha’s Waiting Room — each took turns reinterpreting a song by an influential Nebraska musician.


Winter meeting

Hear Nebraska honored its contributors with awesome laser-cut awards from MTRL Design, including the annual (but already coveted) “Smells Like HN Spirit” awards, which went to Andrew Stellmon, Will Stott, Chris Dinan and Jordan Hiebner.


Hear Hear: An Intimate Evening with Matthew Sweet

In our inaugural gala event, legendary Nebraska pop rocker Matthew Sweet performed an intimate concert at the Holland Center’s 1200 Club, along with Omaha’s The So-So Sailors.


Four Hear Nebraska journalists made the annual trek to Austin, Texas, to cover — through words, photos and social media — the dozen-or-so Nebraska musicians who represented the state in front of a worldwide audience.


Hear Nebraska: Vol. 3 release

Our third compilation, and second vinyl record features 10 songs from some of Nebraska’s top musical acts, across genres. We celebrated with concerts at the Waiting Room in Omaha and the Zoo Bar in Lincoln.

Accepted into Peter Kiewit Foundation’s ArtStock program

ArtStock helps nonprofits build organizational capacity, strengthen financial sustainability and improve operations. We were honored to be accepted into this amazing program.


Aaron started as programming manager

Our non-editorial programming has grown markedly each year. We were excited to hire Aaron Markley to lead our programming charge.

We moved our Lincoln team into the Nonprofit Hub


The Good Living Tour storytelling tour

Our team produced 18 multimedia feature stories on music-related subjects across the state, and 9 "Experience Nebraska" videos aimed at helping communities reverse their brain drain. We saw a lot of beautiful Nebraska in the process.


The Good Living Tour concerts

27 bands. 9 free-all-ages concerts. 9 Greater Nebraska communities. Our team worked so hard to execute this logistical challenge. Man, it was fun!

Hear Lincoln

Our fourth-annual, 10-week summer concert series moved a block north to Tower Square in 2015, which proved to be a great home.

Hear Omaha

With help from Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and local sponsors, we were finally able to bring the “Hear Lincoln” concept to downtown Omaha.

Nickolai and Chris start as visuals editors

To satisfy our audience’s demand for video content, we welcomed longtime contributor Chris Dinan and former intern Nickolai Hammar as our first Visuals Editors.

Chance Solem-Pfeifer hands over managing editor reins to Andrew Stellmon

Both of these talented journalists followed the same path through Hear Nebraska: intern to staff writer to managing editor.


Maha Music Festival

We gave kids tattoos at the 2015 Maha, and we covered it through words, photos and video with a big team of contributors.

Nebraska Music Retreat

Our 5th-annual break from the city found us camping in teepees at Platte River State Park.


Lincoln YPG “statewide award”

What an honor!


Lincoln Calling

Our team covered each of five nights of the 12th annual music festival in Lincoln. Stay tuned for exciting news about our role in next year’s Lincoln Calling.

The Fest

Thanks to support from donor David Manning, our team was able to attend and cover the country’s preeminent punk rock music festival in Gainesville, Fla.


HN Workshops

UNL College of Law students taught local musicians how to protect their music from a legal standpoint in our first HN Workshops. You’ll see more of this kind of musician-focused education resource from us in 2016.


Planning for 2016

New initiatives include: introducing paid internships; offering more workshops, training and educational resources aimed at helping Nebraska musicians achieve their goals; launching the Nebraska Vinyl Archive, with help from Omaha Code School; producing an expanded Good Living Tour, and the "Hear Grand Island" summer concert series.

DONORS Those who make it all possible

We are grateful for the support from the following contributors:


$1,000 to $9,999

$250 to $999

$100 to $249

$50 to $99

Support Nebraska music

To accomplish even more exciting initiatives in 2016, we must reach a point of sustainability in relation to staffing. Please consider supporting Hear Nebraska with a tax-deductible gift right here, or through Community Services Fund.