This weekend, the second annual Forward Music Festival is taking over Madison, but this time with a record number of 100 plus artists. The festival, started by five friends passionate about the music scene, continues its theme of high volume, low cost and a No. 1 priority of accessibility for everyone.

One of the original creators and a coordinator for the festival, Bessie Cherry, spoke on the volume of acts, some of which include headliners Andrew Bird, Low and Yacht.

“I really think that we have something for everyone; we try and hit on as many genres as possible, but it always changes,” Cherry said. “This year we have a few more jam bands, last year we had a little more hip-hop.”

With so many artists, the festival uses a system of splitting the different genres into specific showcases to help guests navigate their way through the lineup — a system Cherry promises will help keep everybody happy.

“The best thing to keep in mind is to look at the headliner for a certain showcase. If you’re into them, I can almost guarantee you’ll like everything else too,” Cherry said.

More information about the artists can be found on the festival website,, and sites like, which are previewing some bands.

When it comes to music festivals, ticket costs are historically high, but with a large student base in Madison, Cherry said they strive to keep costs low.

“There’s a lot of people that really want to see music and the cost is very prohibitive,” Cherry said. “A lot of these bands will really go for $10 to $15 on their own and you can see all of them together. What we are doing is just kind of unprecedented.”

The festival offers several ticket options including a full weekend pass ($45), a day pass for Thursday ($15), Saturday and Sunday ($25) and other single show pass options, but aside from the price, the festival’s dedication to fellow music lovers is what stands out as unique.

“No matter what, we really want you to be able to come. We like to keep a collaborative spirit,” Cherry said.

The festival even created a volunteer option for those who still cannot afford the tickets. Six hours of volunteer work this weekend will get you a pass into the shows, and they’ve even made some exceptions for fans with busy schedules, allowing them to hand out flyers this past week instead.

The local residence of the coordinators also allows them to give people more one-on-one help working out their finance and scheduling issues that usually isn’t an option with big festivals like this one.

“What I want people to know is that we designed it so it’s by the fans, for the fans,” Cherry said. “We welcome any feedback. We’re right here; we’re not some corporation on the other side of the world. We can actually help.”

The actual location is close too. There are many different venues around the Capitol, including the Majestic, the Orpheum and the Overture Center. As for getting around, Cherry said to forget about expensive travel costs.

“You can walk anywhere, and I can say that because I’ve done it myself. There is also a lot of biking that goes on,” Cherry said.

Between walking, biking, busing, or if you’re really that lazy, taking a cab, the transition from one show to the next is easy, especially for Madison residents. However, that doesn’t stop other fans from making longer distance trips.

“We’ve already gotten responses from people saying they are coming from places like New York, Austin and Washington, D.C., asking where to stay,” Cherry said. “We even had people come from overseas last year.”

As for now, the festival is expecting anywhere from 1,500 to 2,500 people who are looking to experience some great music for a great price.