Make Music Madison sounds like fun. It's a mini-festival where local people perform at pop-up venues on Friday, June 21. It's part of a larger event that involves more than 500 cities around the world, so participating could help put Madison on the map. But it's been hard to tell if locals are aware of the event and intend to participate.
Though Make Music Madison received $25,000 from the city last fall, it hasn't done a lot of advertising. Not that I've seen, anyhow. If there was a billboard, I whisked right past it. If there was a radio ad or Facebook campaign, my social network was tuned in elsewhere. The musicians I've asked about the fest fall into two camps: people who love to play instruments but rarely perform in public and people who spend a lot of time on local stages. Several from the former group signed up for the event. Several from the latter group were on the fence last time I asked.
Well, it appears local music lovers are eager to lend a hand... or flute or cello. As of early Thursday morning, the festival has recruited 260 artists for 335 proposed performances. The community has also offered 127 places for performances to take place. These venues may range from somewhat traditional concert spaces like the UW Memorial Union Rathskeller to unconventional ones such as rowboats and treehouses.
Most artists have been assigned to a venue, and most venues have found an artist to host, but the festival's organizers still need to do a bit of matchmaking. They'll finish assigning about 60 artists and 30 venues between now and May 25, according to director Michael Rothschild. He expects that there will be 250 to 300 performances in the end.
"In all modesty, we feel these are great numbers to celebrate," Rothschild said in an email.
Finding an audience for all of these performances is the next hurdle, but Rothschild seems optimistic. After all, what better way to celebrate this effort than attending the big event? There's a lot of competition that weekend, including the Madison Area Music Awards, Blues Picnic in the Park and Isthmus Jazz Festival, but if Make Music Madison plays its cards right, it could win the jackpot attendance-wise.