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.
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.”
Posted 570 stories and 1,200 calendar events
Published 70+ videos and 5,000+ photos
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
ArtStock helps nonprofits build organizational capacity, strengthen financial sustainability and improve operations. We were honored to be accepted into this amazing program.
Our non-editorial programming has grown markedly each year. We were excited to hire Aaron Markley to lead our programming charge.
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.
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!
Our fourth-annual, 10-week summer concert series moved a block north to Tower Square in 2015, which proved to be a great home.
With help from Omaha Chamber of Commerce, and local sponsors, we were finally able to bring the “Hear Lincoln” concept to downtown Omaha.
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.
Both of these talented journalists followed the same path through Hear Nebraska: intern to staff writer to managing editor.
We gave kids tattoos at the 2015 Maha, and we covered it through words, photos and video with a big team of contributors.
Our 5th-annual break from the city found us camping in teepees at Platte River State Park.
What an honor!
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.
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.
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.
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.