Live music and summer go together like peas and carrots, Forrest Gump and Jennaaaaaaayy, meat and potaters. And there’s no more scenic a city to enjoy live music outdoors than the city of Madison which, let’s be honest, is an utter paradise during the summer months. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to break down your best options for outdoor music as the summer months draw to a close. So kick back, smell the roses and soak up the finest tunes in town.
There is no better place to terrace than Memorial Union, so why not listen to some music while you’re there? This summer, the Terrace stage continues to host up-and-coming musicians and big acts as it’s done for many years past. For four nights of the week, a wide variety of bands will grace the famous venue, such as San Fermin, Caroline Smith and Cork ‘n Bottle String Band. Every Monday, a classic film plays on a giant outdoor screen, with “Jaws,” “Grease” and “Animal House” scheduled over the next few weeks. Every Wednesday is open mic night, and at the end of the summer the stage will host events for Madison’s Irish Fest.
In the shadow of the Capitol and by the light of the Majestic Theatre, King Street boasts a summer concert series that may have a short lineup but does not lack in big acts. tUnE-yArDs performed with Speedy Ortiz and Dosh July 18. Cracker is set to perform July 25 with Hugh Bob and the Hustle and the Family Business. Cracker will be playing with Tugg August 8. August 22 brings in Deer Tick, the Weeks and Jessica Hernandez and the Deltas. Finally, the Head and the Heart will be play with Bare Mutants and Count this Penny on September 19. All concerts are free.
Located a few blocks down from the Capitol on East Washington, the High Noon Saloon is a musical gem that hosts a range of country, indie and punk bands. During the summer they also host a concert series every Thursday on their patio. The performances are all free, but concertgoers must be 21 and over to attend. The shows are mostly smaller, local acts performing country and bluegrass tunes. This summer, the High Noon’s patio series is a great place to unwind with a cold beer and good music.
If you’re looking to kick back, relax and listen to an eclectic mix of vocalists, musicians and international sounds in the heart of Madison’s Capitol Square, Concerts on the Square is the place to go. Musical theme nights have included Midsommer Stars with pianist Isabella Wu and American Fanfare with Sarah Lawrence, soprano, and Calland Metts, tenor. Still to come are Marimba Magic with Pius Cheung and Shamrock! with guest Jeans n’ Classics performing the music of U2. The concerts are performed at the corner of King Street on Capitol Square. Every show begins at 7 p.m. Concertgoers can also enjoy variety of food vendors, serving barbeque, Japanese, American and Jamaican cuisine.