Local Madison, Wisconsin Music Scene
Madison is a small capital city known mostly for University of Wisconsin-Madison, which is one of the area's leading employers. The city has a high percentage of college graduates compared to most American cities. In the 2010 the city had a population of a quarter million people with a metro over a half million. One of the most notable artists from Madison has been Garbage, but there have surprisingly not been too many national acts in the history of the Madison music scene. The local scene is covered by The Wisconsin State Journal.
Anna Laube * Anna Wang * Ben Jenkins * Blue Olives * Caitlin Timmins * Caustic * Greg Arenz * Gomers * Ida Jo * J.T. Roach * Jordan Michael * Kristie Rose * Kylie Noel * Madison County * Mania Peace * Mark Croft * Mighty Short Bus * Oneiroid Psychosis * Reconsiderate * Rich Baumann * Ryan Jordan * Soapbox Project * Steez * Sun Voyage * Tha A-Boyz * Wes Johnson * Wook *
Madison Local Music Scene History
During the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 local concerts moved from venue stages to podcasts. A live from home local concert series called "Social Distraction" was organized by Isthmus, FPC Live and several local artists. Shows were streamed on Facebook at 4pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Some of the local acts who appeared on the show in April 2020 included Kelsey Miles, Eric De Los Santos, Reyna, Lucien Parker and a Prince tribute by Brandon Beebe.
The Richard Davis Foundation's annual bass conference at the University of Wisconsin-Madison celebrated its 25th year in 2018. The two-day clinic aims at young bassists to provide lectures and performances. Davis is an emeritus professor for the UW-Madison School of Music. As an instrumentalist he's worked with musical legends such as Igor Stravinsky and Bruce Springsteen.
As one of America's top college/music scene towns, Madison is a unique center for youthful activism. The day after President's inauguration in January 2017, an estimated 100,000 protesters participated in a musical rally at the Wisconsin State Capitol to voice their disapproval of the new administration, as reported by The Badger Herald. Local politically-oriented punk band Token Minority performed in from of the Capitol doors. Singer Ash Quinn announced it was the biggest crowd they ever played for.
Madison's biggest event of the year is Bottle Hill Day on Saturday, October 5, 2013. The street fair is presented by the Downtown Development Commission and expects a crowd of 10,000 to 20,000 people. Fifteen local bands will be performing, a wide range of traditional and modern music. Some of the local acts will be solo open mic singer/guitarist Jeff Webb, folk/rock group Ginny Johnson & Mosaic and classic/alternative rockers Kings Road. One of the youngest bands is the Dairy Farmers, in which members come from Madison High School. The annual event includes a food court, car show and rock climbing.
The Lost City Music Festival is helping raise Madison's profile as an experimental music city. The four day festival, which started August 8, 2013, was organized by John Kruze, who also owns Mine All Mine Records. The festival featured 30 regional acts, scattered throughout the city on small stages. Some of the performers included Gregory Taylor, Awkward Terrible, Brothers Grimm, Dog Hotel, Filter Free Rodeo, Lovely Socialite Mrs. Thomas W. Phipps, The North American Council for a Moonless Tomorrow and Tigerlance. The event was written about in this Dannika Lewis article 8/11/2013 on Channel 3000.
Nick Venturella wrote a book about the Madison local music scene in 2010 called The Local Music Journey: Thoughts, Advice and Inspiration for Your Independent Music Career. NIck himself is a local musician who has researched the scene by interviewing several other Madison musicians, partly through social media. The book also gives career tips for independent musicians. The book was written about in this Rick Tvedt article 7/8/2010 in the Local Sounds Magazine.
Gerald Borsuk lived to be 95 until his death on January 30, 2016. He was a part of the Madison music scene for over 60 years. At age 7 he performed his first composition called "Ice Skating, In the Key of C" at the Wheeler Conservatory of Music. He was a solo performer at the Madison Symphony Orchestra's Beethoven Festival in 1935. He went on to teach piano students for the Univeristy of Wisconsin Extension's class Beginning Jazz for Adults. He also played for many years in the Jerry Blake Orchestra and was the music director at WKOW as Blake.