In 2019, Collective Impact Lincoln awarded $4,000 in mini-grants to Lincoln organizations and individuals working to improve their neighborhoods. Today, we’re taking a closer look at the Great Plains Music Festival, one of our grant recipients. Recently, we spoke with Heladio Perez Pesina, who helped organize the festival.
Civic Nebraska: Why was the festival started?
Heladio Perez Pesina: We created Great Plains Music Festival (GPMF) to provide underserved voices a space to express themselves artistically in a unique setting while simultaneously benefitting the Lincoln community, i.e., Lincoln food vendors, music technicians, Planned Parenthood, visual artists, etc.
How did Collective Impact Lincoln help you?
A large part of Making GPMF happen is funding. In the past, the entire cost of the festival came out of our pockets directly. By having a significant portion of the cost covered, we were able to better focus our efforts on other elements of the festival such as visual art coordination and crew scheduling.
How did the program go? What success did you have?
The event went well by any measure. Admission costs are kept minimal, at $5 to help ensure anyone who wants to come can with minimal financial burden. Guests are encouraged to donate more, knowing that all the money received at the doors goes directly to Planned Parenthood of the Heartlands. We had more people attend this year by roughly 20% and were able to raise $1,108 for Planned Parenthood.
What was the impact of your project on the community or neighborhood?
Through our efforts, we were able to help people better access reproductive care services. Being an all-age show with an emphasis on representation and variety, we were also able to expose a diverse crowd to musicians and local vendors they might not have been exposed to otherwise, benefiting vendors, musicians, and attendees alike.
What are your plans for the future?
Great Plains Music Festival 3 is beginning to take shape as we approach bands about our tentative date, August 29th. We are also planning to include better infrastructure this year including physical stands instead of tents, a larger and more sturdy stage, and added decorum. This year, we have elected to feature more acts in a smaller time by including four showcases at the beginning at 20 minutes each, from younger acts such as high school acts, kids in music programs, etc. Plans are underway to ensure the longevity of Great Plains Music Festival in more official channels as well. We are looking into the application process to become a 501(c)(3) to further aid with funding and help establish clear roles within the GPMF crew.