For a lot of people..the Willy Street Fair is bittersweet. It's one of the city's best, most unusual neighborhood festivals, but it also marks the end of summer.Â If you've never been there..it's hard to explain. Mix in some tie-dye and political activism with great live music, food and beer, and throw in some bubbles for good measure, and that might give you a bit of an idea.
Saturday, the Willy Street Fair features 3 stages with a variety of live music options on the 800 block of Williamson Street.Â This year, the Fair is continuing its relationship with the Madison World Music Festival to bring some really outstanding entertainment our way. Click here to see the entire World Music Festival schedule. (It actually gets underway Thursday at the Wisconsin Union Theatre).
As I looked at the list, one act really jumped out at me as one to see. Sierra Leone's Refugee All Stars are a group of musicians who escaped the horrific violence of Sierra Leone's civil war, landed in a West African refugee camp and formed a band to keep their spirits up and their hopes alive. You can catch their performance Saturday at 7:15pm.
Sunday the fun continues on the 800 to 1000 blocks ofÂ Willy Street, starting off with the world's coolest parade at 11am. This is not your typical "bring out all the fire trucks and Shriners' kind of parade. In fact, any one can join this rag-tag assemblage! Look for Triple M's Gabby Parsons and some lucky Triple M listeners waving to the crowd from a super-snazzy convertible.
There are five stages filled with a wide variety of acts on Sunday. Here are my picks:
The Jimmys 4pm on the Main Stage. Led by Triple M's favorite rock and roll farmer, the newly married Jimmy Voegeli on keys, the Jimmys are guaranteed to get our mojo working!
Wayne Baker Brooks 5pm on the Main Stage: Wayne continues the rich heritage of his dad Lonnie Brooks, with a "liquid fire" guitar style and passionate vocals.
Purgatory Hill w/Pat MacDonald + Melanie Jane. 5:50pm on the Underground Stage. Yes, that Pat MacDonald, whose future was so bright he had to wear shades back in his Timbuk3 days. But don't expect to hear that song. This band's music is described as "a shocking reinvention of blues and rock music."
That's just a tiny sliver of what you can experience on Saturday and Sunday. There's also a kids stage, a folk stage and a culture stage.Â See the complete schedule here.
The Willy Street Fair is a benefit for Commonwealth Development and the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center, so you can have a good time and know you're doing good at the same time. See you there!
--Kitty Dunn..Willy Street Fair attendee, 20 years and counting! (Thanks to Gabby for the pics)
Calling all our motorcycle riding friends! There's a benefit ride for Donna Linderman this Saturday. Donna's the wife of Westside Andy and she's been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer.
The fun starts with a motorcycle ride and is followed by a pig roast, and live music from two bands..the Westside Andy- Mel Ford Band at 4 and Peter Egan & The Defenders at 7. Camping is available as well.
The event starts and ends at Rick's Garden Center, 714 Taylor Lane in Stoughton. Rick and Deb say you don't have to take part in the ride to attend the party afterward.
More info here.
Do you like beer? Do you like drinking it, learning about it, exploring new flavors?
Then Madison Craft Beer Week is for you! It goes from April 29-May 8, and features all kinds of beer related tastings and events. I perused the website and these are some of the ones I found to be most compelling.
Learn how to make beer based cocktails, Saturday April 30 at Underground Kitchen. It says they run the gamut from apertif to dessert.Â I generally like to have cocktails and beer on completely different days, but this sounds interesting.
Biking and beer! On Sunday May 1 you can go on a New Belgium bike ride, starting at Dexter's Pub at 1pm. They'll have a bunch of New Belgium beers on tap and giveaways as well. After you've tried a few, pedal over to Ivory Room, Madhatters and Memorial Union for 1 hour stops at each place. And you thought the only thing New Belgium had to do with biking was the Fat Tire logo!
Create some Bedlam! Ale Asylum celebrates the re-release of Bedlam! IPA, and invites you to design a teddy bear to represent your darkest inner bedlam and you get a free pint of this hoppy beer. Starts at 4pm Sunday.
Monty Python's Holy Grail Night at The Cooper's Tavern, from 5-11pm Thursday May 5th,. Dress as your favorite character from that wild movie and your first pint is on the house. Best costume gets a $50 gift certificate.
For me, every week is Craft Beer Week, but this week it appears I have some extra reasons to raise a glass. Cheers!
More info on Craft Beer Week here.
You probably already know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with plenty of events going on to support the cause.
Tonight, you can help out by checking out some live music during the annual Women Rock for the Cure event, with live music at seven different venues, and proceeds going to Susan G. Komen for the Cure in Madison.
Many of the bands are made up of women or have female members.
Highlights include Project M contestant Beth Kille at the Brink Lounge at 7:45pm, and a little later on in the evening you can catch Blue Beyond at 11:15 at Hemingway Lounge.
Click here to see the full schedule...which also includes some establishments with food and drink specials benefiting Komen.
You can also buy Women Rock for the Cure t-shirts at Smart Motors in Madison.
Around 130 riders started off this morning on the ACT 8 Aids Ride from Olin Park in Madison and are on their way to Baraboo where they'll spend the night.
The 4-dayÂ 300-mile ride also has overnight stops in Spring Green and Albany before thy end up back in Madison for the emotional closing ceremony on Sunday.
The riders will be going through a lot of other little towns too..and you're encouraged to cheer the riders on.
Click here to find a list of cheering stations..and the approximate times the riders will be arriving.
Proceeds from the ride benefit the Aids Network in Madison. Last night more than $300,000 was raised!
For the weekend of June 18
1)Clyde Stubblefieldat the Memorial Union Terrace, Friday at 9:30pm. The original funky drummer for free!
2)Madison Blues Society Picnic: Saturday 11:30am-9:00pm at Warner Park. Free blues picnic with a great lineup all day. One difference this year--they're asking you NOT to bring any carry-ins. Plenty of delicious beer and food available in the park. Lots of post-blues picnic performances at area bars as well.Â Always entertaining--the Cash Box Kings (pictured above), who play at 2:45.
3)Lou & Peter Berrymanat the Harmony Bar, Sunday night 7-9pm. True Madison originals..that have to be seen and heard to be appreciated. Ask them to perform the official Madison song for you! (Madison has five officials songs; they created one of them.) $12.
Freaky Band Name of the Week: Charlie & The Tree, 5:30pm Friday at the Come Back In. From Madison, they play blues, K-pop, and jazz. What's K-pop?
For the weekend of June 11, 2010.....
1)Kyle Henderson's Blue Eyed Soul, 9pm Friday at the Brink Lounge. Remember that MTV video "What's He Got, That I Ain't Got," by the Producers? Kyle was the bass player and lead singer for that band. And Jimmy Voegeli is playing keyboards with him Friday night!
2)Marquette Waterfront Festival Saturday and Sunday at Yahara Place Park. Music, sports, and kids' activities. Go see the Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band Sunday at 2:45.
3)Mounds Dogfest, 10am-3pm Sunday at Angell Park in Sun Prairie. Crazy pet contests, adoptable pet parade, and lots of "paws-on activities." Free.
Freaky Band Name of the Week: Breathe Owl Breathe, at Project Lodge Sunday night at 7, along with Kenny Monroe and Anna Vogelzang. From Ann Arbor, Michigan, this duo has roots in indie, classical and traditional music.
For the weekend of June 4-------
Blue Olives at the Capital Brewery Beer Garden, Friday at 6pm. Funk and blues to go with your Capital Supper Club. Admission is free!
Cows on the Concourse: real live cows you can meet personally! Petting zoo, entertainment, dairy products, a mooing contest and the Milk Mustache Tour! Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd at Main Street, Saturday from 8am-1pm.
Ride the Drive: Walkers and bikers are kings on Sunday from 10am-4pm as John Nolen Drive and some other streets in the area are shut off to cars. Bike, walk, stroll...plus lots of other activities. Stop by the Triple M Music Stage in front of the High Noon Saloon!
Freaky Band Name of the Week: Benevolent Elephant, Saturday at 10pm at Mr. Roberts. I googled and googled and could find nothing about this band. Isthmus says they play jam rock.
For Memorial Day Weekend, 2010.....
1)Westside Andy/ Mel Ford Band at the Capital Brewery Bier Garten, 6pm on Friday. It's the official opening to this summer concert staple. Featuring a harmonica player who looks cooler in sunglasses than Bono (Andy), and a guitar player who isn't afraid to play guitar with his tongue (Mel). No cover charge.
2)Gomers 25th Anniversary Yacht Rock Party: Friday night at the Majestic Theatre. It's weird that it's only their 25th anniversary..seems like we've been playing "It's Not Unusual" every Friday morning for 30 years at least.
3)World's Largest Bratfest: Friday thru Sunday at Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center. More brats and Madison bands than you can shake a stick at. My 3 Bratfest picks: Main Street Wisdom, 2pm Friday, featuring Carleen Wild and Dan Smith (as seen on TV!); Aaron Williams & the Hoodoo, Noon on Sunday, a Madison blues band that just won a bunch of MAMA awards; Honor Among Thieves, 3:10 on Sunday, a blues based Madison band featuring the ageless Andy Ewen on vocals and guitar.
Freaky Band Name of the Week:Â Kind of A Big Deal Saturday night at Babe's. No cover charge. They were going to call themselves Big F**ing Deal, but they would have had to pay royalties to Joe Biden. A cover band from Janesville...who plays stuff like Green Day and Weezer, and most importantly--Dexy's Midnight Runners!
For the weekend of May 14
Syttende Mai Festival: (Friday through Sunday) Stoughton's big hoop-de-doo celebrating the city's Norwegian heritage. Features dancing, food, an arts and crafts fair, quilt show and more. And for some reason, a lot of people think it's a great idea to walk or run from Madison to Stoughton on Saturday.
The O'Bros at the Harmony Bar Saturday night, 9:45. Jay Moran gets the band together for a reunion show...and more? They're currently in the studio recording a new album!
Ari Herstand at the Majestic Theatre, Sunday at 6:30pm. The Madison native currently lives in Minneapolis and is known forÂ his live looping abilities, melding the guitar, keyboard, trumpet, tambourine and beatboxing seamlessly. (At least that's what it says on his website).
Freaky Band Name of the Week: The Blowtorches.A rockabilly/punk/psychobilly band that plays the Club Tavern Friday night. Free.
Madison's summer music festival season kicks off this weekend with Brat Fest at Willow Island, where there are more bands than you can shake a bratwurst at! Check out the Brat Fest website to plan your itinerary.
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