Hub and Soul Music Series attendees order food and chat in the common area above the amphitheater at Union Plaza on Sep. 24th
Hub and Soul Music Series attendees order food and chat in the common area above the amphitheater at Union Plaza on Sep. 24. Photo by Elizabeth Nunnally

When the Hub and Soul Music Series launched in fall 2019, the organizers’ goal was to bring Lincoln residents together through music, food and nature. 

For the second year, the six-week event was hosted on Thursdays nights in September and early October at the Union Plaza in Lincoln. Attendees listened to live music and visited with local businesses in the urban park.

Co-founders Susan Larson Rodenburg and Doug Dittman said this year was special because the series was one of the few live music events that took place in the Lincoln area. It provided attendees a safe place to gather as a community and helped to draw attention to local businesses. 

“This year it has taken on a whole new meaning for people,” Rodenburg said. “People get to be outside in an expansive park where they feel safe.”

Dittman said he was pleased with how long people chose to stay and relax while listening to music and talking with friends. 

“It’s nice to be able to gather safely,” Dittman said. “People seem very happy to be able to listen to music outdoors and be content.”

Because the Union Plaza is located near the Jayne Snyder Trails Center, Rodenburg thought it would be a perfect location for the event. A number of Lincoln trails connect at this location, and therefore, attendees have easy access to the amphitheater. It can also be noticed by others passing by. 

Attendees could buy local beer or farm-to-table food provided by the Hub Cafe while enjoying the music and staying socially distanced.

Cycle Works, a Lincoln bike shop and one of the event sponsors, allowed attendees to try out different bikes during the event, free of charge.

The addition of the biking community makes the event unique and highlights what Rodenburg says is “one of the best trail systems in the nation.” 

Hub and Soul organizers wanted to show their support for the biking community because they said they believe it is a vibrant part of the Lincoln scene. The event raised $10,000 in 2019 and 2020 for the Great Plains Network, a nonprofit organization. The money will be used by the Great Plains Network to build the Chris Beutler Trail, which will connect the Jamaica Trail to the N Street and Haymarket Trails. 

The Hub and Soul Music Series used criteria in selecting musicians for the weekly events. Rodenburg and Dittman selected bands that are local, have original music and have a strong following. By doing so, they hoped to provide attendees with a unique experience that would bring Lincoln residents together. 

“We live in a great city with so much local support and local talent,” Dittman said. “It is wonderful to showcase it.”