Summer on Milwaukee's East Side is seductive invitation to la dolce vita. Life revolves around seeing and being seen in the cafes, restaurants, shops, bars and nightspots. Everyone dresses to impress -- and keeps score.
Summer is also festival season in Milwaukee -- and love it or hate it -- it is the king of festivals. Out-of-towners flood the Third Ward, the eastside neighborhood nearest the Summerfest grounds.
At its best, S'fest is a musical win-win situation. Not only does it provide music-lovers with more shows than they could shake a stick at, but also it furnishes local and regional bands with crowds they could scarcely hope to draw ordinarily.
And, happily, several Madison bands, including Polydream, Moon Gypsies and 20 Reasons Taken, are included in this year's lineup.
"As a performer, it doesn't get much better than Summerfest," says Moon Gypsy Chris Wagoner.
"[At Summerfest] we are part of a huge collective of very diverse music and we get the wonderful sense that together musically we can do great things for people -- even if we just add a nice gem to their emotional well-being for that day," says Moon Gypsies drummer Tom Ellis.
Some Madison musicians have played Summerfest for twenty years, and others, like Mison Bones of 20 Reasons Taken, are giving it their first go. "For us to get picked -- that's unreal because so many people are trying to get in. This [show] comes at the perfect time for us. We're releasing our second full-length album. This puts us in front of a much larger audience."
A list of current (and a couple of former) Madison-based bands performing at this year's Summerfest follows:
- June 28:
- Little Vito & the Torpedoes (Harley Davidson Roadhouse at 2 p.m.)
- July 2:
- July 4:
- July 5:
- July 6:
- July 7:
- July 8:
The Madison presence at Summerfest is also expanding with WJJO sponsoring the Zippo stage along with Miller Lite.