If you’re searching for a yearly event that brings brilliant worldwide musicians to the Omaha music scene then you’ve found it.
This is Playing with Fire.
Playing with Fire’s (PwF) vision is to support Omaha’s national reputation as a ‘music city’ at a price we can all afford: Free.
PwF began in 2004 as a means for introducing Omaha’s residents to the highest quality musical talent we could find. As we move into our 15th anniversary and 5th year at Turner Park in Midtown Crossing, our mission and spirit remain true to these intentions.
PwF founder and local entrepreneur Jeff Davis envisioned the event to continue in the spirit he created it: to put Omaha on the world map as a city that recognizes and appreciates musical talent; music that is not exclusive but is accessible by all.
Davis is clear in his mission: “These free concert events integrate us and builds community. Therefore, we have always made Playing with Fire summer concerts ticket-less! This opens our events to everyone without exception, and it exposes people from all walks of life to share in the discovery and celebration of music of the highest quality–music they otherwise might never encounter.”
PwF has helped Omaha garner the worldwide reputation for being the first to recognize brilliant artists. Joe Bonamassa, Vintage Trouble, Bettye LaVette, and Trombone Shorty are a few of many examples who were virtually unknown when they played the event.
“Every year, people remark on the amazing quality of artists that play our summer concerts,” Davis continues. “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.”
The spirit of giving back
Through its concerts, PwF provides Omaha youth with world-class teachers–artists who play our events–who give exceptional master clinics for their continued education. PwF’s concerts also boost the local economy by bringing people in from near and far. Restaurants, hotels, airlines–even sound and lighting companies all benefit directly from the event. Estimates project that the aggregated sales from PwF shows produce upwards of $100,000 in addition to what is generated for the non-profits that PwF raises funds for.
What makes PwF rock
PwF would not exist without the countless volunteers who work long hours to make the concerts happen each year. The volunteers constantly rave about their enjoyment of camaraderie while supporting the music they love, as well as the opportunity to experience teamwork in ways that invigorate and inspire. The volunteers come back year after year and look forward to doing good for their community while having a great time doing it.
What makes PwF work
PwF doesn’t want to compromise this vision of providing music for free, which is why PwF asks that Omahans will find here reasons to support this local opportunity. Your financial gifts to PwF help secure the continuation of this annual event. When you financially donate to our mission, we dote on you as a “Friend of PwF”.
Your generous donation today helps Playing with Fire continue to aid in economic growth for businesses and pleasure and enjoyment to Omaha’s 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
- Collaboration with local small businesses is part of PwF mission in supporting community.
- 2018 graphic design provided by Filament Studios.
- Our rockin’ website development provided by Kim Bultsma of Content a la mode.
- Popular graphics “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.
- The inspiration for the concert series name came from the original artwork titled, “Playing with Fire” (guitar player) created by artist Jean Mason. Many of the original artwork concepts are incorporated current PwF graphics and maintain the honorable position as our off-season brand.