With a little more than one month until Omaha Under the Radar 2.0, I've been reflecting on our first festival in 2014, as well as the festivals I helped plan in Madison and Omaha from 2010-2013.
Festivals offer such a specific kind of interaction between artists and audiences, and have a tendency to highlight the unique qualities of a city and it's regulars, while providing a happy in-road for newbies and visitors. I crave the immersive, connective rituals of a festival, the density of activity and heightened sense of engagement among participants, and the sense of shared experience they create. They feel special and important, which is why I think they are one of the best platforms for delivering art and performance - namely, things that I find special and important.
We've curated several large ensemble pieces for the 2015 festival, and the title of one of those pieces in particular - "Coming Together" by Frederic Rzewski - embodies the ethos of OUTR. All of the large ensemble works bring together artists from around the country, most of whom will be performing together for the first time. It is these experiences and exchanges, which seem to organically arise out of a festival atmosphere, that build relationships and encourage a deepening of the bonds between artists and community, while expanding those artistic communities beyond their geographical spheres.
OUTR 2015 humbly offers you over 16 hours of performances and presentations spread out over 4 days and 7 venues, along with an educational camp for youth. Dig in and enjoy the ride :)
Pictured: tbd. Dance Collective at The Slowdown; photo by Matthew DeBoer