About Playing with Fire

About Playing with Fire

Since 2004, Playing with Fire (PwF) has brought the highest quality musical talent to Omaha and presented it as a gift to the residents of the city. As we celebrate our 15th anniversary – our fifth season at Midtown Crossing’s Pavilion at Turner Park – the mission and spirit remain true to our intentions. PwF founder and local entrepreneur, Jeff Davis, envisions the event to continue in the spirit he created it: To continue to put Omaha on the world map as a city that recognizes and appreciates musical talent; music that is not exclusive, but accessible for all.

Davis is clear in his vision: “These concert events being free integrates us and builds community. Therefore, we have always made Playing with Fire summer concerts ticket-less! This opens it up to everybody without exception, and it exposes people on all walks of life to share in the discovery and celebration of music of the highest quality; music they otherwise might never encounter.”

Because of PwF, the residents of Omaha have a reputation worldwide for being the first to recognize brilliant artists. Joe Bonamassa, Vintage Trouble, Bettye LaVette and Trombone Shorty are such examples among many who were virtually unknown when they played the event.

Davis continues: “Every year, people remark on the amazing quality of artists that play our summer concerts. This truly makes the event unique. We do not focus on selling tickets and having a profitable name on the bill. We focus solely on what artists can provide the people of Omaha with an exceptional musical experience. We have watched people of all races, ages, and socio-economic levels socializing with one another and dancing in front of the stage. This event brings people together; it helps us experience what a diverse and integrated community looks and feels like.”

PwF has put Omaha on the world map as a city that has both vision and heart. A core principle of PwF is to help Omaha give back while having fun doing it! PwF also makes it possible for the youth of Omaha to get world class teachers as many of the visiting musicians give exceptional master clinics. PwF boosts the local economy by bringing people in from near and far. Restaurants, hotels, airlines, as well as sound and lighting companies all benefit directly from the event. Estimates project that the aggregated sales from the PwF shows for produce upward to $100,000 in addition to what is generated for the non-profits. A true win-win for all!

PwF would not exist without the countless volunteers who work long hours to make the shows happen each year. The volunteers commonly mention their enjoyment of camaraderie supporting the music they love that the event offers and the opportunity to experience teamwork in ways that invigorate and inspire. The volunteers come back year after year, and look forward to doing some good for the community while having a great time doing it. PwF doesn’t want to compromise the vision of providing the music for free. PwF hopes that the citizens of the city will find reasons to support this local gem generously. Your financial gifts to PwF will help secure the continuation of this annual event, and you will become one of our special fans we acknowledge as a “FRIEND of PwF”. Your generous donation today will help Playing with Fire remain a gift to the city of Omaha securing economic growth to businesses and pleasure and enjoyment to its residents while exposing all too unique talent, world-class musical experiences, education, and community building in action. Thank YOU for being a fan and joining our journey in keeping the fire burning.

PwF/Artist Merchandise and Other Items for Sale

  • PwF and artist’s merchandise are for sale at the PwF & Artist Merch tents at all concerts.
  • Artists are very generous with their time to sign merchandise at the end of their performance.
  • PwF T-shirts, koozies and other desired merchandise are available at affordable prices; all proceeds go toward funding the free concert series.
  • In addition, PwF approved organizations, such as BluesED and Blues Society of Omaha are provided ‘free vendor fee’ merchandise tents and sell desired merchandise such as CD’s, hats, and memberships.
  • All organizations selling merchandise or consumable goods must be approved by PwF. Contact us for more information.

Playing with Fire’s Artistic Talent

  • Since 2013, Playing with Fire artistic works is a collaboration of a vision of the PwF Team and graphics designer Tony Bilek. In 2017, we brought on our new website developer Kim Bultsma of Content a la mode.
  • The popular “Saxman” that branded PwF for several years was created by graphic designer and Levi William’s former drummer Ben Johnson.
  • The ever-present trademark “PwF” logo was created by Mitch Tennison, past graphics designer for Playing with Fire.
  • Inspiration for the concert series name came from the original artwork titled, “Playing with Fire” (guitar player) created by artist Jean Mason and is still incorporated into many PwF graphics.

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