It Takes a Village, Thursday, June 30, Penn Park, noon-5 p.m.: This event coordinated by the Madison Public Library and the city’s Parks Alive program offers a chance for south side residents of all ages to learn about available community services — and have a good time, too. Participants offering activities for the kiddos include Maydm, the MSCR/MMoCA Art Cart, Dream Bus, Madison Children’s Museum and others. There will be food carts and other snacks, music by DJ M. White, and tables with info from various community organizations, as well as assistance with voter registration from the City Clerk’s Office and a mobile COVID-19 vaccination clinic. And, as part of the Sina Davis Movies in the Parks program, a screening of Jungle Cruise will follow, at 7 p.m. In case of rain, the event will move to July 7; future gatherings take place from 1-4 p.m. on July 14 and 28 and Aug. 11. Find out more at madpl.org/village.
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. Evening highlights include tractor and truck pulls (Thursday-Friday and Monday), CC Bucking Bulls (Saturday), and fireworks (Monday). There’s also a music lineup with several intriguingly unGoogleable performers, including Jay Schroeder Band (Thursday), The Musician Billy G (Friday), John Solis and Star 67 (both Saturday), and Irvine Bourke and The Britins (Sunday). Find more schedule details at stoughtonfair.com.
Live and Local, Thursdays, through Aug. 25, Lisa Link Peace Park, 5 p.m.: In recent years the Madison Central BID has expanded its summer concert series beyond the iconic Tuesday lunchtime series on the Capitol Square. The Thursday Live and Local series provides an early evening showcase for Madison-area musicians, most often playing original music, and some DJs playing a unique mix of music. This week’s performers include carisa, a singer-songwriter and recent addition to the local scene who plays bossa nova-inflected guitar pop, on June 30; and Willie Wright, a spoken word, hip-hop and Afropop artist, on July 7. Find the full schedule at visitdowntownmadison.com.
Robin Jebavy + Andrew Reddington opening reception, Thursday, June 30, James Watrous Gallery of the Wisconsin Academy, 6 p.m.: Coming up at the James Watrous Gallery is Seeing is Being, by Robin Jebavy, whose paintings make use of layers to create shimmering effects almost like stained glass. The exhibit is paired with Started with Good Intentions, by Andrew Reddington, who explores furniture forms in sculpture, utilizing old pieces and recreating new shapes with them. Reddington’s prints will also be on display. Gallery hours are Thursday-Saturday, noon-6 p.m., and Sunday, noon-5 p.m.; the exhibits are up through Aug. 14.
National Women’s Music Festival, June 30-July 3, Marriott-West, Middleton: Founded in 1974 at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana to counter the under-representation of women in the music business, the National Women’s Music Festival grew into an annual can’t-miss event, which has made its home in Middleton since 2008. Following a pair of virtual events it returns to the Good Neighbor City for four days of concerts, workshops, speakers, film screenings, and more. The lineup includes legends such as Pamela Means and Melanie DeMore, rising artists e nina jay and Hardened & Tempered, comedian Suzanne Westenhoefer and many others. Find tickets and schedules at nwmf.info.
Sagashus T. Levingston, Thursday, June 30, Mystery to Me, 6 p.m.: The 2017 coffee table book Infamous Mothers: Women who’ve gone through the belly of hell…and brought something good back profiled more than 20 Madison-area women who “mothered from the margins of society.” Author Sagashus T. Levingston, a doctoral candidate at UW-Madison, returns with Covet: The “Disrespectful” Health and Wellness Journal, Volume One, a journal designed to guide women through three months of self-discovery and self-esteem. Levingston will discuss the new book at this Mystery to Me event; register here to attend in person, or here for a Crowdcast webinar.
Back Porch Concerts, Thursday, June 30, Dean House, 7 p.m.: The Back Porch Concerts kick off for the season with the Waunakee Big Band, a large ensemble that plays jazz, swing and blues. It’s a perfect combination with the backdrop of the Dean House, an historic pioneer home on the edge of the Monona Golf Course. Concerts take place weekly on Thursdays through Aug. 4, capped with an old fashioned ice cream social.
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 — Halsey, Disturbed and Machine Gun Kelly are on tap for the second weekend, with Rod Stewart, Backstreet Boys and Thomas Rhett still to come — don’t overlook the other stages, where some headline-worthy artists will play in the late afternoon and early evening. Choice acts include Todd Rundgren (June 30), The New Pornographers (July 1), BoDeans (July 2), 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.
Fire on the River, July 1-2, along the Riverway, Sauk City: Celebrate Independence Day with entertainment and fireworks right on the beautiful bend of the Wisconsin River in Sauk City. The grounds are open from 5-11 p.m. Friday for the food court, beer and wine garden, and music by West on 12. Saturday is underway early with the Eagle Chase 5k, 10k or half marathon at 7 a.m., and a pancake breakfast. Games and activities for families are set for noon-7 p.m., and music starts at 5 p.m. featuring Union Road, Water Street Jacks and Zac Matthews Band. Fireworks begin at 9:40 p.m. Find all the details at fireontheriver.org.
Mad Lit, Friday, July 1, 100 block of State Street, 8-11 p.m.: Mad Lit is taking over the 100 block of State Street every other Friday from July 1-Oct. 7 for performances from local artists. The shows are organized by Greater Madison Music City, which seeks to create more equitable, diverse and inclusive spaces for the Madison music community. Keep’n It Clean (KIC) will play the first show of the summer on Friday, along with Alice Mosley, RSHN 6 and DJ Terrence J. A packed lineup through the summer also includes artists such as Orquesta MAS, K.I.L.O aka SkitL’z, Ted Park, Kinfolk, and many more, along with DJ and spoken word showcases. Find the full schedule at ourgmmc.org.
My Morning Jacket + Indigo De Souza, Friday, July 1, Breese Stevens Field, 6 p.m.: With Jim James still recovering from COVID-19, My Morning Jacket’s June 28-29 tour stops were postponed, but at last word the Madison concert is still on for Friday at Breese. The long-running Louisville, Kentucky, rock band is on tour behind their 2021 self-titled album, which brings the group’s eclecticism and experimentation back after some years on hiatus. Their epic live show should be a perfect fit for Breese. And be sure to get there on time for opener Indigo De Souza, whose dark and masterful album Any Shape You Take was a critics’ favorite in 2021, and a perfect statement for our uncertain pandemic times.
Rooster Fest, Saturday, July 2, Red Rooster, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.: Rooster Fest returns with a blues-filled roster. Madison Music Foundry youth band The Blue Dyes will kick off the festival, followed by Too Sick Charlie, a one-man blues and roots band with Eric Heiligenstein on cigar box guitar. Veteran blues musician Cathy Grier plays with the Troublemakers at 1:30 p.m., followed by the Chris O’Leary Band at 3:30 p.m. and the Koch-Marshall Trio — featuring celebrated guitarist Greg Koch, his son Dylan Koch on drums, and Toby Marshall playing the Hammond B3 organ — at 6 p.m. The Madtown Mannish Boys, a local blues band, will host a free pro jam starting at 8:45 p.m. Purchase tickets here.
Catfish River Music Festival, July 2-4, 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). Find the full schedule at catfishrivermusicfest.com.
Holla in the Vines, Saturday, July 2, The Vines, Sauk City, 3 p.m.: Madison Americana quartet Gin Mill Hollow founded this outdoor summer celebration back in 2019, and Holla in the Vines (named for the host vineyard and event space, between Sauk City and Lodi) returns in 2022 to mark the band’s 500th show. The day kicks off with Grateful Dead tribute Sunshine Daydrink at 3 p.m., followed by the cleverly named, recently founded Jazz Hams at 4:30 p.m., rock ‘n soul titans People Brothers Band at 6 p.m., and Gin Mill closing out the night at 8:30 p.m. Find tickets at ginmillhollow.com.
Festival Foods Lights the Isthmus, Saturday, July 2, Breese Stevens Field, 5-10 p.m.: A fireworks display returns to central Madison as the finale of this Independence Day weekend concert. A lineup of diverse regional music includes brass sounds by Forward! Marching Band, synth-poppers Kat and the Hurricane, rock and Americana from Pine Travelers, hip-hop by Marcus Porter, and classic hits by Uncommon Denominator. Find tickets at breesestevensfield.com.
Monona Community Festival, July 2-4, 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, along with a music stage (headliners The Hounds on July 2, Granny Shot on July 3 and VO5 on July 4), an art fair (July 4), and the only Wisconsin Wife Carrying Championship (July 4; note, the carried person can be any gender, as long as they are over age 21). Find the complete schedule at mononafestival.com.
DeForest 4th of July Community Celebration, July 2-4, 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. The party begins Saturday at 6 p.m. when the food court and beer garden open, with country music from the Tim Daniels Band (8 p.m.). A full Sunday schedule includes a car show (10 a.m.); pony rides, inflatable attractions, a rock wall and games (noon); and ’80s rock music from Cherry Pie (8 p.m.). 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.
Very Asian Week, July 3-8: 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.
Brett Newski & the No Tomorrow, Sunday, July 3, UW Memorial Union Terrace, 7 p.m.: Longer-tenured Madison music scenesters likely encountered Brett Newski as a member of The Nod, a rock group who woke up the UW campus music world about a decade back. Since departing from Madison Newski has played music all over the world (next up: a tour of Austria and Germany with Nada Surf); released a series of solo albums filled with catchy, heartfelt songs (most recent: Don’t Let the Bastards Get You Down); created the music podcast Dirt from the Road (recent guests include Willy Porter and Pinegrove frontman Evan Stephens Hall); and written a new book about tackling self-doubt (It’s Hard to be a Person: defeating anxiety, surviving the world, and having more fun, currently in its third printing). If you haven’t heard Newski’s music for a while, it’s past time to catch up. With Kill Aniston.
The Zombies, Sunday, July 3, Barrymore Theatre, 7:30 p.m.: The 2017 Barrymore stop on the Odessey & Oracle 50th anniversary tour by The Zombies was a great show and a heartening one, since back in the day they didn’t get to do a tour for the album — the band had already split by the time it was issued, and before “Time of the Season” became a hit single. This time around they are recently minted Rock and Roll Hall of Famers (finally!) and also have been in the studio, so expect to hear some new songs along with the classics. With Altameda.
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.