Band members of A Ferocious Jungle Cat play at Lincoln Calling.
Will Harman (center) performs with A Ferocious Jungle Cat on the Night Market stage at Lincoln Calling. Photo by Olivia Layne McCown/NNS.
Music and art unite the community while uplifting artists from Lincoln and across the U.S.

Lincoln Calling is back. From Sept. 23-25, bands, artists, and local organizations were finally able to gather in person for a weekend that took the Lincoln arts scene by storm. Lincoln Calling is a nonprofit organization that works to promote art, music and education in the community. The annual music festival brings artists from all over the country, and from Lincoln, to perform on the same stages. 

In a typical year, performances are indoor and outdoor, with Lincoln venues participating in the event. Last year, the event was completely online. This year, because of the pandemic, organizers of Lincoln Calling chose to downsize from over 70 bands to 40 bands and have all of their stages outside. While the event was smaller this year, the community still showed up to support the arts.

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BFF, an Omaha-based nonprofit, hosted a booth in the Night Market where they had a button-making station, a paint-by-numbers canvas, and a DJ station. BFF’s core mission is to build community through arts engagement. While they started as Benson First Friday, the organization has grown since its conception in 2012 — expanding to various gallery operations, quarterly publications, and festival appearances. “We just love coming down,” Alex Jochim said (pictured here in the BFF shirt). “It’s a different audience. It’s a chance for us to try something new. And we’re gonna see a bunch of live music and you know, be a part of it all so we feel really ingrained in the festival.” Pictured are, from left: (front row) Nim Raven (Omaha), Ang Gahan (Omaha); and (back row)  Lindsay Jump (St. Louis, MO), Katera Brown (Omaha), Saraya Vogel (Battle Creek), Alex Jochim (Omaha), Megan Longchaya (Omaha). Photo by Olivia Layne McCown/NNS.
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Joe Rathe (left), Chad Lemke, and Allison Woods (right), members of the photography group, Film Photo LNK, pose at their booth in the Night Market on Saturday, Sept. 25. Film Photo LNK was started by Rathe in January and it exists to bring film photographers together to share their art and help more people get interested in film photography. “I wanted this group to exist, because I wanted to join it as a member,” Rathe said. “But there was no group, so I made it.” Photo by Olivia Layne McCown/NNS.
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Attendees to the event brought skateboards and used the half-pipe, along with the rest of the makeshift skate park, set up in the Night Market on 14th Street. Photo by Olivia Layne McCown/NNS.
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Jack Rodenburg (front) and Myles Jasnowski of A Ferocious Jungle Cat sing with the crowd during their performance on Saturday, Sept. 25. This Lincoln-based band currently defines their style of music as “Nebraskan thunder-funk,” according to their bass player, Will Harman. Harman, originally from Blair, NE started the band in 2012 with three of the other current members, and it was officially named A Ferocious Jungle Cat in 2013. Photo by Olivia Layne McCown/NNS.
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Madeline Reddel (left) joined A Ferocious Jungle Cat for a guest performance on Saturday, Sept. 25. The group has been performing at Lincoln Calling on and off for the past five years. Will Harman said he loves everything about the event. “The built-in promotion, the digital promotion that you wouldn’t get elsewhere, the opportunity to play on such a big stage, like it’s hard to ignore,” Harman said. “It sucks that everything kind of pushed outside and some groups got cut, but I think it’s only going to get stronger. It’s a dream come true to play on such a big stage with that many people out.” Photo by Olivia Layne McCown/NNS.
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In the Night Market, BFF had a giant paint-by-numbers mural for anyone to help create. Ramey Vachal, an intern with Lincoln Calling, filled in some numbers on her break in between helping with the event. Photo by Olivia Layne McCown/NNS.
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Omaha rapper Conny Franko performs in the Culxr House showcase in Duffy’s Backlot. Franko, along with other Omaha artists, is featured in the new Culxr House album project, “Freedom Summer.” Culxr House is a nonprofit organization that works to help artists turn their talents into economic opportunities. Photo by Olivia Layne McCown/NNS.
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Singer-songwriter Zach Watkins performs with his band, The Fey, at the Tower Square stage on Sept. 25. This neo-soul and rock band originated in Lincoln, but is currently operating out of Kansas City. Michael Rodgers is on lead guitar, Ludwig Siebenhor is on rhythm guitar, and John Fucinaro is on bass. Photo by Olivia Layne McCown/NNS.