We’ve endured a summer without a lot of live music in 2020, but the local music scene is coming back to life this season with bands booking concerts left and right across town. Get ready for singing, dancing, outdoors, happy hours, great food, shared camaraderie, and musical talent of all kinds. There are a lot of shows, many of which are free! – your choice in June. Here are a few that made our list:
YOUR LIVE Lunch Time, from June to August
The free outdoor concert series “Your Lunch Time LIVE!” is hosted by Downtown Madison and Madtown Mannish Boys on Capitol Square. The Madison Central Business Improvement District recently released a summer schedule of weekly concerts every Tuesday from June through August. This month’s lineup has already been announced, with performances from The Tooles, Mark Croft Band, Madtown Mannish Boys, David Hecht and the Who Dat and hip-hop producer DJ Pain. All hour-long concerts will be held near the North Hamilton Street Gateway of the Wisconsin State Capitol. Bring a friend, unplug and enjoy. Free, noon, Place du Capitole
Open mic evenings at Bur Oak, June 2, 9, 16, 30
From June 2, the Bur Oak will launch its open mic evenings every Wednesday. Perform in front of an audience at this free event that welcomes people of all abilities and identities. Free, registration at 6 p.m., performances start at 7 p.m., 2262 Winnebago St.
BlueStem Jazz shows at Garver Feed Mill, June 4, 9, 25
BlueStem Jazz – a group of volunteers who reserve “progressive, avant-garde and experimental music” around Madison – presents three performances at Garver Feed Mill in June. Hear the sounds of Jamie Breiwick (trumpet), John Christensen (bass) and Devin Drobka (drums) from Trio des Petits Lacs on June 4, listen to jazz / funk tunes from Dirk Quinn Band June 9 or spend June 25 to discover the Tony Barba Quartet (which includes Christensen and Drobka as well as Matt Gold on guitar and Barba, who is a “pioneer of the Madison jazz scene”). $ 15, 7 p.m., 3241 Garver Green
Dearth (with Andy Ewan and James the Magician) at Bur Oak, June 5th
Kick off the concert season at Bur Oak with a full bar and delicious food from Frabonni’s, El Sabor de Puebla and Babcock Ice Cream. Local experimental rock band Dearth will rock the house this month alongside guitarists Andy Ewen and James the Magician, so get ready to bang your head (or whatever the kids are doing these days) . $ 7, Doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m., 2262 Winnebago St.
Summer launch party at Doundrins Distilling, June 5
Enjoy food, live music, and bottle outings on the summer launch party at this Cottage Grove distillery. Opening acts include Travis Agnew from noon to 2 p.m., Pete Henry from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. and John Gay from 5 to 6:30 p.m., which will lead to headlining Michael Mikrut Band from 7 to 10 p.m. Free, 9 a.m. to midnight, 300 Progress Drive, Cottage Grove
Sweet Delta Dawn Brunch at Garver Feed Mill, June 6
Brunch takes a psychedelic turn with help from the blues rock quartet Sweet Delta Dawn on June 6 at the always-on-the-go Garver Feed Mill. These jam enthusiasts are ready to throw together a fun and energetic evening of music for their first live show in over a year. $ 5, 11 am-2pm, 3241 Garver Green
Happy Hour with The Acoustic Charlies at Garver Feed Mill, June 10
The Acoustic Charlies are part of Madison’s music scene, with Chuck Gates, Chuck Bayuk of The Drunken Sailors and Jeff Laramie of Free Hot Lunch making up the ensemble. Have a drink on the terrace, move into the groove and savor the soft sunshine during happy hour. Free, 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., 3241 Garver Green
Angela Puerta at River Arts Inc.’s Al Fresco Series, June 11
Downtown Prairie du Sac welcomes Colombian singer-songwriter Angela Puerta for an evening of energetic Latin-American inspired music. The outdoor green space will transform into a concert hall throughout the summer as part of River Arts Inc.’s Al Fresco series, so check out the schedule to make sure you never miss a beat. $ 15, 7 to 8 p.m. 590 Water Street, Prairie du Sac
Bad Philosopher’s Very Terribly Bad CD Release Show at Garver Feed Mill, June 11
Fancy some smooth jazz? Meet percussionist Tom Ross, singer Elena Ross and Bad Philosopher jazz stars Tony Barba, Josh Cohen, Chris Di Bernardo and Jason Kutz on June 11 at Garver Feed Mill. The event kicks off the Madison Jazz Festival, which runs until June 20. Don’t miss some of Bad Philosopher’s tracks from his debut album, BADHALLA, as well as other surprises. $ 20, 8 p.m., 3241 Garver Green
Polkafest, June 11-12
In memory of polka king Roger Bright, the town of New Glarus is hosting a two-day polka extravaganza with dancing, music and local beer. Stop by the tent for refreshments, or watch and learn on the dance floor and you’ll be able to tell the difference between regional and Bavarian dance styles in no time. Free, 5-10 p.m., downtown New Glarus
Madison Jazz Festival, June 11 to 20
The Madison Jazz Festival celebrates its return with 10 consecutive days of jazz. Highlights include Bad Philosopher, Isaiah Collier and the Chosen Few, The Acoplados Latin Project, and Donna Woodall performing at various venues around the city. Things kick off with offbeat performances in the Capitol East neighborhood at the 8th Annual Strollin ‘Capitol East on June 11. Nate Smith + KINFOLK perform at 6 p.m. on June 13 at Breese Stevens Field. Various prices, times and locations
Second Chaynce in the red zone annex, June 12
Rapper, singer and songwriter Seckond Chaynce will perform live at the Red Zone Annex. Seckond Chaynce is based in Tampa, Florida, and has already released several mixtapes and an EP Reloaded, Ricochet and No Room to Breathe. $ 20, doors open at 6 p.m., show starts at 7 p.m., 1212 Regent St.
Bach Dancing & Dynamite Society virtual festival, June 12, 19, 26
This four-part online ‘Brave New World’ series features classical music through the lens of some of the most famous writers of all time. June 12 salutes Hemingway’s “The Sun Rises Too,” Dickens’ “High Expectations” is celebrated on June 19, and the theme for June 26 is “The Master and Margarita”. $ 60, published online
Latin Jazz evening with Acoplados at Garver Feed Mill, June 17th
Enjoy the sounds of Venezuela, Cuba and Lima, Peru with the Acoplados Latin project. Enjoy the melody and rhythm of the cajon, guitar and other instruments played in this Latin American and Caribbean folk / pop music show. Note that patio seating is first come, first served. $ 20- $ 30, doors open at 7 p.m., show starts at 8 p.m., 3241 Garver Green
Make Music Madison, June 21
The streets and storefronts of Madison will be filled with the sounds of music creators on June 21 during the internationally celebrated city-wide Make Music Day. Sidewalks, public parks, community centers, and partner businesses (see full location map on website linked above) turn into impromptu steps. In 2019, the event had 100 venues, and this year, organizers expect the event to be held outdoors throughout the city of Madison. Watch out for the full program, which should be released in early June. Donations are welcome, 8 am-9pm, various locations
Play Madison Music at the Overture Center on June 21
One Make Music Madison event that’s already set is the Overture Center performances. Various artists will perform on the Fairchild Street stage from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on June 21. The stage will feature artists of various styles and backgrounds, including Michael Darling, Eric De Los Santos, Beni Daiko and Kat and the Hurricane. Darling is a multi-genre singer-songwriter, De Los Santos is a multi-genre marimbist, Daiko is a Japanese Taiko drummer, and Kat and the Hurricane is a queer synth pop rock band. Free, 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 111 N. Fairchild St.
Marbin at Bur Oak, June 24
Head to The Bur Oak to see Marbin, a Chicago-based jazz-rock band that has performed at jam and jazz festivals across the United States. The performance is hosted by WSUM 91.7 FM. $ 15, or $ 20 at the door, doors open at 7 p.m. 8 p.m., 2262 Winnebago St.
Summer breeze at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, June 24 and 25
When the evening light hits the scene, Olbrich Botanical Gardens will turn into a garden party for all ages at its new ‘Summer Breeze’ event. Lawn games and live music pair well with bites from Banzo, La Taguara, Taco Local and MIJO Frozen Treats and hyperlocal microbreweries. DJs with spinning records and local musicians will take the mike in this scenic location. $ 15 general admission, $ 10 for Olbrich members, $ 5 for children 6 to 12, free for children 5 and under, 4 p.m. to 9 p.m., 3330 Atwood Ave.
The Pray Trio at The Cider Farm, June 20-26
Music, cider and food… to say less. Watch jazz cover band The Pray Trio twice this month at The Cider Farm. Make a reservation to attend Father’s Day Brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on June 20, or stop by the tasting room on the west side for a show at 6 p.m. on June 26. La Cidrerie hosts live music weekly on Friday and Saturday evenings from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. And there’s no need to worry about cold summer nights – there are heaters and blankets in this cozy semi-outdoor space. . Free, 8216 Watts Route
Flower Folk Fest at the Sun Prairie Historical Museum, June 26
Join the fun at this free family event featuring heritage artisans and live music. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., 115 E. Main St., Sun Prairie
Drag Brunch at Rigby Pub and Grill, June 26
Drag brunch is back and we’re downright hungry for bottomless mimosas and a live show. The performance stars Michael Lynn, Kendra Banx $, Lucy Von Cucci, Montell Infinity Ross, Zon Legacy Phoenix and Chasity Valentino. Be entertained by local drag queens while enjoying brunch at the Rigby Pub and Grill. Mimosas will be available for $ 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. $ 25 (admission and meal), doors open at 11 a.m., show begins at noon, 119 E. Main St.
Music on deck at Otto’s Restaurant and Bar, June 29
Relax to great music from Westside Andy and Glenn Davis at Otto’s Restaurant & Bar. Book by phone today for this fun foodie event. In the event of inclement weather, Otto’s will post before 3 p.m. to notify subscribers of a cancellation. Free, 5:30 p.m., 6405 Mineral Point Road
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