Make Music Madison

  • Madison, Wisconsin USA

Various cities around the world mark the summer solstice with a day of free musical performances across all manner of public spaces, open to pretty much anyone who wants to play. Make Music Madison, launched in 2013, is the local answer to that, and the city has spent a lot of public money on it as part of its music initiatives. This year about 270 different acts are involved, playing in locations ranging from the Henry Vilas Zoo to local residents' porches. So it's a lot, basically. At a glance, highlights would have to include performances from singer-songwriter Luke Arvid and nerdily dedicated Neil Young cover band Shakey, but the event's not really about curation or even quality control—it just is. MMM's organizers also offer some participatory "mass appeal" experiments in group music-making, including a chance to play large percussion instruments called Boomwhackers at Olbrich Park. —Scott Gordon