Omaha, Neb.Playing with Fire, Omaha’s world-class, free summer concert series, is unveiling a crackling 2018 lineup – an award-winning mix of local and international talent poised to bring the best in blues-rock, soul, funk, R & B and roots back to Turner Park this summer.                       

“Every year, people remark on the amazing quality of artists that play our summer concerts. This truly makes the event unique,” says Playing with Fire founder Jeff Davis. “We don’t focus on selling tickets and having a profitable name on the bill. We focus solely on artists that can provide the people of Omaha an exceptional musical experience.”

Playing with Fire (PwF) is celebrating its fifth year at Midtown Crossing’s Pavilion at Turner Park and its 15th year in Omaha. Davis is especially fired up about this year’s lineup. He says these “maybe the best bands we’ve ever played. In fact, our 4 Canadian bands each have won at least one Juno Award.”


2018 Playing with Fire Summer Concert Series Line-up:

Saturday – July 14, 2018

Park Opens: 3:30 p.m. | Music Begins: 4:30 p.m. 

Opener: BluesED / The Redwoods

Support: Heather Newman Band - Powerful, striking vocals and deft bass playing have earned this BluesED alum impressive reviews from the blues world.

Support: Monkey Junk - 2018 Juno Award winner - Blues Album of the Year, dubbed “The Sultans of Swamp R&B.”

Headliner: Jack de Keyzer Band - Jack de Keyzer is, according to Blues Revue magazine, "a coveted super-hero in Canada,” multiple Juno award-winning, worldwide performing bluesman and master of smoldering guitar skills, soulful singing and rocking blues.


Saturday – August 25, 2018

Park Opens: 3:30 p.m. | Music Begins: 4:30 p.m. 

Opener: BluesED / Us & Them

Support: Matt Cox - A Midwest regional favorite, roots/blues/country songsmith, and six-time Omaha Entertainment and Arts Award winner for Best Country/Americana and Best Blues

Support: Blackie and the Rodeo Kings - A Juno award-winning Canadian band and “singer-songwriter supergroup,” according to Rolling Stone magazine

Headliner: Paul Reddick Band - Paul Reddick’s songwriting, power vocals and harp skills over the years have catapulted him into a formidable force in blues music.


PwF launched in 2004 to introduce Omaha to the highest quality local, national and global musical talent, and build community through the healing power of music. Over the course of its 15-year lifespan, PwF has produced 80+ events with performances by 360+ bands featuring over 1,000 musicians playing to an estimated 750,000+ fans.One thing that hasn’t changed over the years is the price of admission: free.

“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” Davis says. 

Each year, PwF supports other non-profit organizations in the community, including BluesED, a non-profit youth artist development program and 2018 recipient of a “Keeping the Blues Alive” award this year at the International Blues Challenge.  BluesED performers open each PwF concert series and have the opportunity to attend clinics by presenting artists. July 14 supporting artist Heather Newman is BluesED alum. She first performed on PwF stage with BluesED at the age of 11. 

PwF is sustained by grants from the Nebraska Arts Council and the Douglas County Visitor Improvement Fund, as well as private sponsorships, in-kind donations and volunteers. Free-will donations are accepted online and day of show and will be shared, this year, with BluesED.




For more information about the concert series, artists and online videos:   

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