Maha Music Festival identity
Oxide recently had the honor of being selected to rebrand the Maha Music Festival, a nonprofit event organized and run by a group of passionate and dedicated volunteers. The event features local, regional and national indie and alternative rock artists. The festival functions first and foremost as a non-profit community-building event.
Maha’s goal was to transform into something that people viewed as a must-attend annual event, not just a lineup of bands. To achieve this, they knew they needed an exciting and appropriate new identity.
Convincing people to attend a concert regardless of who’s playing is a hefty task. You have to build a reputation and an image that goes beyond the performers. Having never attended the festival – and honestly, being pretty disconnected from the indie music scene – we had a lot of research ahead of us.
What’s with the bird?
Maha Music Festival is about a pride of place. It’s uniquely Omaha – founded and run by people deeply rooted in our city, committed to adding a healthy dose of independent music and arts to the city’s robust cultural mix. Even though the festival is named after the local Omaha people, we didn’t want the identity to skew too Native American. Using Native American imagery and patterns throughout would have been conceptually inappropriate. It would inevitably confuse the public into thinking that the festival featured Native American music.
Instead, we looked to evoke the lore of the Maha while simultaneously capturing the festival’s key elements: pride, place, and independence. We found the perfect solution in the great chief of the Maha, Chief Blackbird. The Maha were the most powerful Native American tribe of the Great Plains – a people whose name inspired our city’s, and then the festival’s. Oxide developed a modern symbol for the Chief that hints at the visual style of the Plains Indians, but is still pure rock n’ roll.
As we expanded on the identity, we wanted to capture the feel of the festival by implementing the bold, gritty visual style that so perfectly represents rock music. Black and white grainy photography, vintage Omaha maps, and rough textures create the building blocks for all collateral pieces. Oxide is signed on to create a three-year plan for promoting the festival, which will use the foundation we’ve already built, combined with a unique color for each year.
This year, the Maha Music Festival will be held on Saturday, August 11, 2012 at Stinson Park in Aksarben Village. Headlining the Festival will be Icky Blossoms, Garbage, and the long-awaited reunion of Desaparecidos.