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Willy Street Fair 2019 (free)


  • Willy Street Williamson Street Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

The final hurrah of Madison's festival season combines the traditional with the new. Info

Dash Hounds. Photo courtesy of Vesten Records.

Dash Hounds. Photo courtesy of Vesten Records.

This year's Willy Street Fair is the 42nd edition of an event that usually forms a pretty good bookend for Madison's season of free outdoor shows and festivals. (Hopefully we can still get in at least a few more Terrace shows with a bit of crispness in the air, but anyway.) It's a gradually but surely evolving mix of near-east-side traditions and new elements. As always there's the annual parade on Sunday at 11 a.m., and plenty of local and regional standbys like folk duo Lou And Peter Berryman (Saturday, Folk Stage, 3:30 p.m.), the combined efforts of blues bands The Jimmys and The Cash Box Kings (Sunday, Main Stage, 5:45 p.m.), and a stage that represents roughly half of the Madison World Music Festival (previewed separately in this week’s Tone Madison calendar). But there's also a place here for more raucous and unpredictable sounds. For instance, Sunday's WORT Stage features the ever-expanding noise-punk vision of Madison trio Solid Freex (noon), the gregariously unhinged rock of Tippy (2:20 p.m.), and the sweet but punchy power-pop of fellow Madisonians Proud Parents (4:40 p.m.).

The fair's Willy Street Beats stage is back this year on Saturday, with a lineup organized by the same local team that books the annual Musique Electronique event. Veteran Detroit-via-NYC DJ and producer Mike Servito headlines the stage at 8:30 p.m. with a deep and gritty grasp of techno, and heads over to the High Noon to play a ticketed late show with Minneapolis' Ian Lehman. The Willy Street Beats stage also features Lauren Flax (6:30 p.m.), Amy Pickett (5 p.m.), and DJ Amos (4 p.m.). On both days of the fair, Tone Madison and Half-Stack Sessions are teaming up to present a new stage on Paterson Street with an almost all-Madison lineup, with highlights including dreamy rock outfit Dash Hounds (Saturday, 5:30 p.m.), hip-hop collective Down 2 Hearse (Saturday, 12:30 p.m.), the hip-hop-meets-jazz improvisations of KASE (Saturday, 3 p.m.), and newer bands like 90sdreamboy (Sunday, 12:30 p.m.) and Telechrome (Sunday, 3 p.m.), with a Sunday headlining set from Minneapolis band Teenage Moods (5:30 p.m.). —Scott Gordon 

Earlier Event: September 13
The Films Of Larry Gottheim (free)
Later Event: September 15
A Tribute To Bill Malone (sold out)