The sophomore year of the Snake on the Lake Fest should have a lot of penurious students grinning from ear to ear next month. The free annual music festival put on by the student radio station WSUM announced the lineup on Wednesday afternoon for this year's party on the Memorial Union Terrace. Formerly known as "Party in the Park" when it was held at James Madison Park, the fest moved onto campus last year, guaranteeing more student interest. But the lineup of acts featured this year is so strong that the lakeside biergarten is likely to attract a capacity crowd.
Topping the bill are globe-trotting post-rock instrumentalists Tortoise, who've been embraced by everyone from indie-rockers to jam-band lovers over the past sixteen years. Popular Seattle-based singer-songwriter Damien Jurado, who'll be touring in support of his tenth release, also adds his indie-folk to mix, while noisy Michigan garage-rockers Awesome Color test the limits of the sound system with their heavier-than-thou take on psychedelia. Psych-folk phenom Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, whose debut album includes contributions from members of Grizzly Bear and TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone, among others, completes the impressive slate of national acts.
But wait, there's more! The evening-long affair also showcases local bands El Valiente and The Pistols at Dawn. WSUM DJs will also be spinning between the live performances, which are scheduled to begin in the afternoon sun at 4 p.m. and run through midnight.
The festival caps a tremendous month of live music in Madison. In addition to a slew of one-off concerts coinciding with the start of the school year not to mention the debut of the Forward Music Fest and the return of the Sun Prairie Blues Fest, there's also a wealth of free shows scattered across September. After warming up with six stages of tunes at the Taste of Madison over the last weekend of August, next month will only build with the return of the SoCo Music Experience at Willow Island, the World Music Fest at Memorial Union, and the Willy Street Fair on its titular thoroughfare.
Worried about how long your beer money will hold out this fall? The Snake on the Lake Fest and other excellent freebies will help take the pressure off.
At least for a day or two.