Party In The Park, a freewheeling afternoon of live music, DJ's and student reverie held at James Madison Park on the shores of Lake Mendota, will be no more.
After a primary sponsor pulled their backing, organizers from WSUM 91.7 student radio have partnered with the Wisconsin Union Directorate, among other sponsors, including Isthmus, to host what will now be known as "Snake on the Lake Fest" at the UW Terrace.
This year's event will take place on September 8, with music from 3 pm to midnight.
"We're very happy to have any chance to work with WSUM," says Wyndham Manning of the Wisconsin Union Directorate, a student activity planning board that coordinates entertainment and other events on the UW-Madison campus.
According to Y Mae Sussman, promotions director for WSUM, the Union Terrace had already been reserved for Party In The Dark, a post-park party commonly held at the Terrace or other nearby venue. Given that bathrooms, beer, and lakeside beauty will all be present, Sussman says, it only made sense to use the Terrace for the whole event.
For many student groups, raising funds to pull off a big event is a perennial challenge. WSUM is no exception. "Equipment rental, sound gear, and insurance left little money to pay talent," says Sussman.
National acts such as Andrew W.K., Dan Bern, and The White Stripes have all been part of Party in the Park in years past.
According to Sussman, after Pepsi pulled its sponsorship this year for not "pushing enough product," the future of Party In The Park looked dim. What had grown to an event that drew an estimated 10,000 people to four music stages, with multiple food vendors and plenty of local charm, will now be scaled back to fit the confines of the Union Terrace.
Local bands and some national acts are still being negotiated for the entertainment line-up and several DJ's will rotate the grooves between live-music sets.
Since it will be held the first weekend after fall classes resume, coordination with other "Welcome Week" activities will be crucial in letting new students know not only about the great Terrace vibe but also about student-coordinated groups such as WSUM and the Union Directorate.
"This year's Party In The Park probably would've been the last one," says Sussman. "We're hoping [Snake on the Lake Fest] will breathe new life into it."