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Monday, June 24, 2024

What Madison students, residents can anticipate for the arts this summer

Some students may flock to their hometowns, but art remains strong in Madison this summer.

It’s no secret Madison, Wisconsin holds a unique plethora of entertainment options each summer — so much so that it can be overwhelming to decide where to spend an afternoon or evening. 

The Daily Cardinal compiled a list previewing just a few of the most notable arts events happening this summer.

Open Mic Night

May 22-Aug. 28

Memorial Union


Every Wednesday, Memorial Union will host an open mic night, welcoming all styles of music, comedy, spoken word and poetry. 




Technically, this one is already out. The University of Wisconsin-Madison a cappella group “Under-A-Rest” released their first album May 17, with covers of Beyonce, Adele and Panic! at the Disco.

Drawing in the Galleries 

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June 6, 13, 20 and 27 

The Chazen Museum of Art


Owner of the classic art school Atwood Atelier and UW-Madison alum Philip Salmone leads a group through the Chazen each Thursday in June. On the tour, participants explore figure drawing through inspiration from the Chazen. 

Madison Jazz Festival

June 7-16

Various locations

Free and Ticketed events

Madison Jazz Festival offers 10 days of free concerts, presentations and ticketed shows, with a two-day finale at Memorial Union June 15-16. 

Art Fair on the Square

July 13-14

Capitol Square


The Capitol Square fair brings together over 500 artists and offers jewelry, live music and more. 

Proud Theater 25

June 14-15

Madison Youth Arts Center


Proud Theater offers a safe space for young LGBTQ+ people to produce high-quality theater. Their 25th anniversary showcase is free, with donations encouraged. 

“Cthulhu: The Musical!”

June 15

The Bur Oak


The puppet-led musical adapts the H.P. Lovecraft Cthulhu monster with the aid of a full rock band, stopping in Madison for one night at the Bur Oak during the company’s summer-long tour.

UW Cinematheque 

June 19-July 26

4070 Vilas Hall


The UW Cinematheque is showing 18 unique films at Vilas Communications Hall this summer, open to both students and community members. 

Live on Queen

June 21

The Sylvee 


Seeking to fill the gap created when “Live on King” was canceled, “Live on Queen” is a pride-themed Madison music celebration. 

Make Music Madison

June 21


Free outdoor performances will be playing all across the city of Madison for this day of music, ranging from afrobeat, celtic, soul and more.

CapitalQ Theatre Festival 2024

June 21-23

Bartell Theatre

Free and Ticketed

StageQ, Wisconsin’s queer theater troupe, will host a weekend-long pride celebration, offering free workshops and masterclasses as well as ticketed showcases.  

International Festival

June 29-30

Overture Center


Though not only for art, the International Festival features art and music from all around the world. 

Moulin Rouge

July 9-21

The Overture Center


The Bohemian revolution hits Madison this summer in this energetic jukebox musical, stopping at the Overture Center for a fortnight.

Kindness Painted Rocks

July 24-28

Memorial Union Terrace


Contribute to the Kindness Rock Project by stopping by Memorial Union and painting a rock. The event runs for four evenings. 

Wine and Canvas

July 26

Memorial Union


Memorial Union’s Wheelhouse Studios will host an evening on instructor-led painting alongside a glass of wine. 

Intro to DSLR Basics

July 31

Memorial Union


Learn how to elevate your photography at this event at this workshop through the functions of your camera and basics of photography composition. 

Mad with Power Fest

Aug. 2

The Sylvee


For Madison metal-lovers, the Mad With Power festival elevates the sound of heavy metal, inviting fans to head-bang all night long. 

Sugar Maple Music Festival

Aug. 2-3

W.G. Lunney Lake Farm County Park


With a beautiful natural landscape, this festival immerses listeners in roots music.

Star 67

Aug. 6

Memorial Union


Memorial Union hosts a variety of free, live music events each summer — this night features a female-fronted throwback band Star 67. 


Aug. 16

Breese Stevens Field


Irish indie singer Hozier is visiting Madison along the tour for his third studio album “Unreal Unearth.” 

Orton Park Festival

Aug. 23-25

Orton Park


The Orton Park Festival returns with music, food and vendors to create a beautiful day in the park for friends and family.

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Rebekah Irby

Rebekah Irby is an arts editor for The Daily Cardinal.

Bryna Goeking

Bryna Goeking is the arts editor for The Daily Cardinal. She also reports on campus news. Follow her on twitter @BrynaGoeking.



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