More Than Just Music

Maha Music Festival featured food, music, business, and much more

Haley Elder, Entertainment Editor

The speakers buzzed, the crowd cheered, movement surrounded me. As I made my way up towards the front of the stage, I was hit with elbows and sweat, but it was well worth it. In between a border of tents sat two stages, speakers, and a whole lot of people enjoying all of what the Maha Music Festival had to offer. I was lucky enough to be one of those many people. Aug. 20 marked the 8th Annual Maha Music festival. For eight years, the music festival has gone on in Stinson Park of Aksarben. The event featured musical performers Josh Hoyer and Soul Colossal, CJ Mills, Diet Cig, See Through Dresses, Jay Farrar Trio, Diarrhea Planet, The Joy Formidable, Car Seat Headrest, Vince Staples, Matthew Sweet, Grimes, and Passion Pit. However, the event was about more than just music. Maha is a nonprofit event, purposed to bring the community together. Maha has done this every year by getting together local businesses and giving them an opportunity to reach out to people. As I took my first few steps into the park, my senses were overwhelmed with the music and action going on around me. The music blared so loudly that it could be heard from outside of the festival. The bass vibrated, making my body shake as if I was on top of one the speakers. On the east side of the event sat the street of restaurants available to Maha-goers without having to leave and re-enter. At the very west sat the two stages. In front of the stages there was a large area that was a no chair zone. This left room for the crowd that would rather dance and room for the crowd that would rather just hang back. As for those who picked to elbow through the crowd around the stage, their experience was much different. I arrived to Maha at around 3 o’clock when there were only about two solid rows in front of the stage. As time went on, children, teens and adults filed in behind me. In less than an hour there was a massive crowd behind me. When the larger performers, such as Grimes and Passion Pit were on stage the crowd was wild. The rows closest to the stage went from neatly filed lines to a jumbled mess of dancing and moshing—meaning everyone was being thrown around with the music. By the time Car Seat Head Rest was on, my elbows were bruised, and I was tired of being thrown around. I decided to walk around and explore what Maha had to offer and refuel at one of the many restaurants they had included. As I walked up the field, I saw how tents lined the walkways, bordering the stage and the grassy sitting area, each from a different company with a different purpose. All the tents were offering something to the community, whether it was a physical gift or just a fun time. There were tents offering to paint faces, handing out free gifts, and many with small games for a passerby to join in on. They all served as some sort of benefit to the community. Behind the tents sat Maha’s food options. Within the gates of Maha, restaurants such as Voodoo Taco, Mai Thai, and many others were held open for the Maha goers. Guests also had the option to leave and return anytime before 6:30, leaving the dozens of Aksarben restaurants just a short walk away. Maha was an event I wouldn’t have wanted to miss. At the end of the day, I had been exposed to new music, new people, and a whole new awareness of the local businesses and how they benefit our community. Overall, Maha was a great, new, eye-opening experience.