WaunaBoom, Monday, July 4, Ripp Park, 2-10:30 p.m.: Spend the Fourth in Waunakee with music, activities, fireworks and more. WaunaBoom is headlined by Tin Man Band, a Texas band playing rock, pop, country and R&B hits. Pink Houses, a nine-piece Wisconsin cover band, will also perform. Activities also include a petting zoo, climbing wall, golf simulator, bags tournament, pony rides, movies in the park, and fireworks at 9:45 p.m. View the full event schedule at waunaboom.com.
Monona Community Festival, through July 4, Winnequah Park, Monona: A fine place to catch some fireworks is Monona’s annual summer fest, which ends with the skies over Winnequah Park spectacularly lit up at dusk on the Fourth of July. The fest includes the expected carnival and beer tent, and the final day includes music headliner VO5, an art fair, and the only Wisconsin Wife Carrying Championship (note, the carried person can be any gender, as long as they are over age 21). Find the complete schedule at mononafestival.com.
Catfish River Music Festival, through July 4, Rotary Park, Stoughton: Charlie Parr, Dead Horses, Davina & the Vagabonds, and 15 more artists, in the great outdoors, for free? Sign us up. The Catfish River Music Festival returns for the first time since 2019; it’s an annual fundraiser for the Stoughton Opera House Friends Association, and beverage sales go toward maintaining and operating the historic venue (along with any donations enthused music fans are happy to contribute to the cause, hint hint). The final day’s lineup commences at noon with acoustic duo Cosmic Strings and closes with the one-two punch of the aforementioned Parr and rockers Wurk. Find the full lineup at catfishrivermusicfest.com.
DeForest 4th of July Community Celebration, through July 4, Fireman’s Park: Few communities around here celebrate July 4th like DeForest. The small-town vibe of this three-day festival hosted by the DeForest Windsor Area Chamber of Commerce will make you feel like you’ve time-traveled back to simpler days. On Monday, there will be a Freedom Run (7:30 a.m.), a parade (10:30 a.m.), an Elvis-themed variety show (11:30 a.m.), activity booths and bingo (noon), a tribute to veterans (2 p.m.) and music from cover band SuperTuesday (7 p.m.). Fireworks, the weekend’s headliner, begin Monday at dusk.
Stoughton Fair, through July 4, Mandt Park, Stoughton: This community nonprofit event remains very 4-H- and FFA-centric, featuring youth and community livestock and other exhibits through the extra-long weekend. Activities have mostly wrapped up by the final day, but the carnival is open, and there is a mini-rods and truck and tractor pull at noon. Oh, and of course, the big shebang of a closer, a fireworks show at dusk. Find more info at stoughtonfair.com.
Very Asian Week, through July 8: This event highlighting the area’s Asian community, presented by the Very Asian Foundation and Madison Magazine, has a particular emphasis on food. Throughout the week, participating Asian restaurants and food businesses will donate a portion of their proceeds from specific dishes to the Very Asian Foundation. The week also includes a ticketed event on Thursday, July 7, in The Spark building, featuring networking and a vegetarian japchae noodle appetizer by chef Tory Miller at 5 p.m., followed by a discussion at 6 p.m. by Michelle Li, Alice Choi, Tory Miller, Francesca Hong, Mike Moh, Gabe Javier, and moderator Charlotte Deleste about what it means to be very Asian and very American.
Capitol City Band, Monday, July 4, Rennebohm Park, 6:30 p.m.: Capitol City Band’s Concerts in the Park is back, launching for the summer season quite appropriately on Independence Day with its season opener, Tribute to the Troops — Then and Now, with patriotic music and the Black Knights Color Guard & Auxiliary, from VFW Post 7591. The all-volunteer band’s mission is “helping to heal the nation, one note at a time.” (In that case, expect a very long concert.) The band’s weekly Thursday concerts will take place at 7 p.m., July 7-Aug. 25. More info at mmqccb.org.
Sam Robinson Quintet, Tuesday, July 5, Bur Oak, 8 p.m.: Rollicking hard bop traditionally puts the saxophone out front, but Sam Robinson makes it work and then some with his high-octane trumpet playing. That said, expect plenty of power from the tenor sax. Scott Angst is the reed player in this ensemble and collectively they’ll show Madison why they regularly fill jazz clubs and thrill audiences all over Chicago.
The Melvins, Tuesday, July 5, High Noon Saloon, 8 p.m.: Sludge-metal/proto-grunge pioneers The Melvins are hitting the road for “The Electric Roach Tour,” their first headlining trek since 2019. Last year, the trio released two albums: Working With God, which reunited an early incarnation of the band from 1983, and Five Legged Dog, a 36-song acoustic set that spans the band’s back-catalog from 1987’s Gluey Porch Treatments to 2017’s A Walk With Love & Death. This show is bound to prove why The Melvins (whose three members are now in their mid- to late-50s) remain one of the hardest-working bands in rock. With Helms Alee, Harsh Mellow.
Phil Porter reception/exhibit, through July 29, ARTS for ALL Wisconsin: Are you lucky enough to have invested in a Phil Porter? Porter, a visual artist well known in the Madison art scene, painted what he saw around him in exuberant colors and loose, vibrant strokes. Favorite subjects included Willy Street, the state Capitol and the Red Gym. Porter passed away in January at the age of 75. A New Sun in the Sky, on exhibit through July 29, is a retrospective show of Porter’s work, beginning with early, never-before-seen images to late works, and many will be for sale, benefiting ARTS for ALL Wisconsin. Porter “embodied our mission, and he leaves behind a legacy that will be celebrated for a long, long time,” says Christina Martin-Wright, the executive director of ARTS for ALL Wisconsin.
A Tour of the Kitchen Garden, Wednesday, July 6, 2022, Allen Centennial Garden, 6:30 p.m.: Culinary History Enthusiasts of Wisconsin (better known as CHEW) takes a field trip for the monthly meeting tonight. Did you know the campus’s Allen Centennial Garden has a kitchen garden full of plants used in cooking? Reba Luiken , director of the garden, will introduce Hmong soup herbs and African diasporic crops, among other veggies and herbs. This event is free and open to the public but confirm your attendance via this Google form.
Abel Contemporary Gallery exhibits, through July 17, ACG, Stoughton: Three new shows come to Abel Contemporary, one of the most interesting galleries within a stone’s throw of Madison. In Impressions, Illinois artist George Shipperley creates transformative large scale works with oil pastels, the creamy drawing medium that may look like crayons but was elevated to fine art by the Sennelier company specifically at the request of Pablo Picasso. And two faculty members from UW-Madison’s fine furniture design and woodworking program, Katie Hudnall and Tom Loeser, have a joint exhibit called Boxing Match, which will surely transform your concept of wood boxes. A group exhibition, The Aviary, is curated by Craig Clifford.
Summerfest, June 23-25, June 30-July 2, July 7-9, Maier Festival Park, Milwaukee, noon-midnight: The Big Gig enters its second year of weekend-only operations. COVID-19 concerns moved Summerfest dates to the fall last year, but 2022’s festivities will take place during the traditional midsummer period. Despite the diversity of headliners at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater — the final weekend features Rod Stewart, Backstreet Boys and Thomas Rhett — don’t overlook the other stages, where some headline-worthy artists will play in the late afternoon and early evening. Choice acts still on tap include Lilith Czar (July 7), The Black Crowes (July 8) and Bob Mould (July 9). All Amphitheater shows require a separate ticket; visit summerfest.com for more info.
One of the Boyzz, Thursday, July 7, Monona Terrace rooftop, 7 p.m.: Self-described as “roadhouse-style,” this band’s name is literal: it includes Dan Buck, a member of northern Illinois hard rock legends The Boyzz. The rest of the members of One of the Boyzz are also veterans of the Chicagoland scene; the group builds on its former incarnation as Cool Rockin’ Daddies, playing classic rock and soul covers (and maybe some originals along the way). It’s the final show in the Monona Terrace Concerts on the Rooftop series, with trivia at 6 p.m. preceding the concert; find free tickets here.
We hope it’s handy for you to find Picks grouped together in a single post. The individual Picks can still be found in the usual places online: collected here, and sprinkled throughout all the events.
Note: Many venues and businesses may continue to maintain individual requirements for masking, as well as proof of COVID-19 vaccination and/or a negative test for entry. Before heading out for any in-person event, confirm it is still taking place and check for any attendance guidelines on the relevant business websites or social media accounts.