Record Attendance Anticipated at Playing with Fire 2023 in Turner Park

European, Canadian, U.S. bands to perform at free summer concert series Playing with Fire in July and August at Midtown Crossing

Organizers for the 19th edition of the popular Playing with Fire free summer concert series say they are expecting a big turnout for this year’s shows, which will take place over two weekends in July and August on Turner Park’s Pavilion stage at Midtown Crossing.

“With the caliber of talent that we are bringing in from Europe and Canada, we are hoping to set a new record of attendance for Turner Park,” said Jeff Davis, who has sponsored the free, non-profit event since its inception in 2004.

With primary support from the Nebraska Arts Council and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and Nebraska Cultural Endowment, Douglas Co. Visitors Improvement Fund, Davis invests personal funding to bring to Omaha the hottest blues bands currently on tour.

“If you love rock n’ roll, blues, soul, funk, guitars, horns, and powerful vocals – old hands and rising stars – Playing with Fire 2023 has it all in one place, four times this summer,” says Davis. “Best of all, it’s free!”

2023 Playing with Fire Schedule

July 14 – Gates open at 4 p.m., music begins at 6:45 p.m.

  • Sugaray Rayford – GRAMMY® Award-nominated Texas-rooted blues singer with impassioned southern soul. 
  • Eddie 9V – Atlanta-based blues singer-guitarist who specializes in gut-bucket soul.

July 15 – Gates open at 4 p.m., music begins at 4:30 p.m.

  • Twelve Bar Blues Band – All the way from Amsterdam comes this award-winning band that mixes elements of Chicago, Delta and Texas blues.
  • Dom Martin Band – Northern Ireland-rooted bluesman, was a multiple UK Blues award-winner and inductee into the UK Blues Hall of Fame by age 31.
  • Justin Saladino – Montreal-based blues, rock, and funk artist is a favorite at Canadian blues festivals.
  • BluesEd – Omaha youth music program supported by PwF will feature an all-teens band called The Redwoods.

August 11 – Gates open at 4 p.m., music starts at 6:45 p.m.

  • Thorbjørn Risager & The Black Tornado – This award-winning Danish blues-rock band from Copenhagen has a fierce horn section.
  • Samantha Martin & Delta Sugar – Seven-piece Toronto blues band renowned for their mix of blues, gospel, and rock.

August 12 – Gates open at 4 p.m., music starts at 4:30 p.m.

  • Bywater Call – Fueled by a smokin’ seven-piece and a powerful vocalist, this Toronto-based southern soul band blends blues and roots-rock and is a must-see.
  • Joanne Shaw Taylor – This critically acclaimed, sultry British singer-guitarist was discovered at age 13 and, while in her 30’s, breaking into the UK Top 20 Album Charts.
  • Josh Hoyer & Soul Colossal – An Omaha favorite, this Lincoln band has earned multiple OEA Awards.
  • BluesEd – Omaha youth group Us and Them will open the show.

Blankets, chairs, and picnics are welcome at the all-ages event, free of charge for the 19th consecutive year.

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