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Sunday, June 16, 2024

Free music festival draws criticism

Local music artists expressed concern with Mayor Paul Soglin’s plan to implement a free city-wide music festival in 2013 at a town hall meeting Thursday.

Soglin and the Madison Arts Commission met with residents to discuss strengthening Madison’s music scene through new initiatives, such as Make Music Madison, which will be a free, one-day music festival held throughout the city June 21, 2013.

Michael Rothschild, organizer for Make Music Madison, said the goal of the festival is to generate a “wall of music” as people walk around the city, using both public and private spaces throughout the community.

Members of Madison’s music scene said a free event like Make Music Madison would not do enough to improve arts in Madison.

Trombonist Darren Sterud said young musicians often leave Madison for cities with stronger music scenes because Madison does not have enough financial support to sustain them.

“A one-day festival is not a scene,” Sterud said. “We had [a scene] for a long time and that has disappeared, and it needs to come back to keep young talent in this city.”

Local hip-hop music promoter Shah Evans agreed with Sterud and said the current venues in Madison do not book artists frequently enough due to lack of funding.  

Other residents at the meeting said financing Make Music Madison is not the most efficient way to advance Madison’s music scene.

“I’m wondering about the value of another one-day festival in a city that already has multiple throughout the summer,” resident Joanna Simpson said. “We could allocate those resources into something that would provide a more lasting impact in a wider spread client base.”

But Soglin said a music festival like Make Music Madison will enhance the city’s music scene.

“[The festival] gives an opportunity to do two things at the same time–one, to support artists, and secondly, to expand the horizons for those of us who enjoy their work and might not always get an opportunity to enjoy it,” Soglin said.

In addition to Make Music Madison, Soglin also discussed continued support for Dane Dances, which are community-dance events every Friday in August on the Monona Terrace Rooftop.

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