Songkick in 2010, rock music fans in Madison get the most bang for their buck. Apparently, the service (which helps keep fans connected to their favorite bands and analyzes the concert data of local music scenes) found that the people of Madison enjoy an extremely high rock shows-to-residents ratio--one that places second only to Austin, a city home to a world-renowned live music scene. What's more, Madison was found to be the fourth least expensive place for average ticket prices in the entire country!
If the above reasons are not enough to bring you to the capitol of Wisconsin, consider this: The city boasts a higher concentration of music labels, recording studios, distributors and publishers than most others in the U.S. (The Martin Prosperity Institute lists it as the only American city behind Nashville, New York and the greater Los Angeles area in that regard.) Madison is home to celebrated institutions like the Majestic Theatre, the High Noon Saloon, the Barrymore Theatre, the Regent Street Retreat, the Alliant Energy Center, and the Overture Center. It also features that most rare and precious antique of the modern music scene--a collection of cool (and still thriving!) independent record stores.
You can spend your days in Madison browsing the bins at Strictly Discs, B-Side Records, Ear Wax Records and The Exclusive Company--and your nights taking in live music at one of the many venues around town. Along with its large commercial venues that attract major headliners, the city offers an array of more intimate settings--coffee houses, wine bars, etc. Additionally, check the calendars at the Orpheum Theatre, the Frequency, the Great Dane Pub, and the UW Theatre on Madison's college campus. During the summer, the city provides even more options--the Memorial Union Terrace at the University of Wisconsin features live music five nights a week, right on the scenic shores of Lake Mendota.
If you are planning to visit Madison during the summer, you should also consider timing your trip to coincide with the annual Sugar Maple Traditional Music Festival. The two-day event, held each year in early August, celebrates roots, bluegrass, folk and other time-honored genres amid beautiful scenery. The next line-up has already been posted on the festival's official website.
Other popular music festivals held around the Madison area are the Waterfront Festival, the Willy St. Fair, Atwood Summerfest, the Isthmus Jazz Festival, the Orton Park Festival, 94.1 WJJO's Band Camp, Greekfest, and the WORT Block Party. In the past, the city has also hosted events like the Madison Pop Festival and the Forward Music Festival. Recently, the Fête de Marquette was added to Madison's event calendar as a way of honoring Bastille Day. The festival celebrates French and Cajun music. Meanwhile, Reverance draws crowds of electronic music fans and the Folk Ball features folk, dance and world music. There is also the annual National Women's Music Festival, produced every summer in Middleton (just a short drive from Madison) by Women In the Arts, Inc.
With so much going on in Madison, it should come as no surprise that many popular bands and artists have ties to the city. Among them, grunge band Garbage may be the most famous. The groundbreaking group was formed in 1994 by producer-musician Butch Vig of Viroqua and bandmate Steve Marker, who also owned the Madison-based Smart Studios. The local independent rock music scene has also been buoyed by independent record labels like Crustacean Records, Science of Sound, and Kind Turkey Records. The results produced in these local studios are often honored at the city's annual Madison Area Music Awards Show, which is similar to the Wisconsin Area Music Industry Awards Show held in Milwaukee.
Madison has also made great contributions to American music by way of the Tar Babies, Nick Hexum of 311, Richard Davis, Clyde Stubblefield, Paul Kowert, Roscoe Mitchell, and Ben Sidran. Unity the Band, named Wisconsin Area Music Industry (WAMI) Reggae/World/Ska Band of the Year in both 2010 and 2011, also owes much of its success to the city. The band's bassist, Jason Brown, has even publicly rhapsodized about Madison's music-friendly atmosphere:
"Madison is a progressive hub of the Midwest, melding the old country feel of rural Wisconsin with an ultra hipster savvy you might expect in a city like Amsterdam. It is the capitol of state government and has The University of Wisconsin-Madison. It has great food and a vibrant nightlife, and it even draws talent from Chicago and Milwaukee, which are both within a few hours' drive. Madison is guaranteed to stimulate the senses."
To find out more about Madison's music scene, be sure to pay a visit to the Arts section of The Daily Page or join the Madison Music Project to keep in touch with fellow musicians and industry professionals. Also be sure to keep checking back with us here at HillTop Records, as we continue to bring you highlights from music scenes across the country!
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Friday, May 3, 2013
May Music Festivals!
| Beale Street Music Festival |
Tom Lee Park, Memphis, Tennessee
5/3/13 - 5/5/13 three warm, spring days on the banks of the
Mississippi featuring great headliners including The Smashing
Pumpkins, Daryl Hall and Dan Oates, Big Boi, Patti Smith, Public
Enemy, Dwight Yoakim, and The Black Crowes. Tickets are
$35/$45 per day and may be purchased through Ticketmaster.
and workshops at East Shore Unitarian Universalist Church.
Admission is $10 but if you bring an Instrument and join the jam,
you get $5 off the ticket price.
and Opera. Events are held each Friday, Saturday and Sunday
in May. 601-442-4272 or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
celebration in the southeast with great food and music at
Centennial Olympic Park. Continuous live music on 2 stages
by international and national recording artists, Mariachi music,
Mexican folk dancers, a 5K race, arts and crafts - a day
long, multicultural celebration.
Grows Funk, Honey Island Swamp Band, Blue Ridge Orchestra,
Diane Silver, Matuto and many, many more. There is RV
parking, arts and crafts, culinary arts, poetry and much
more connecting cultures and creating community
through music. For tickets call 828-686-8742.
Inland Empire Reggae Music and Art Festival
San Bernardino, California
5/12/13 from 11 am until dusk at the NOS Event Center in
San Bernardino, California and featuring Peartree International,
Living Stone, Marty Dread and Piracy Conspiracy. Buy tickets
online. Just click on the link.
Boogie on the Bayou
3/18/13 - 3/19/13 from 10 am until 6 pm in historic downtown
Campbell, California this Festival features great Cajun food
and live entertainment. Even better - the Festival and
parking is free!
5/25/13 - 5/26/13 three full days of Music at the Monterey
County Fairgrounds in Monterey California featuring Resolution,
Slightly Stoopid, The Green, Roots Underground, Whiskey
Avengers and many, many more. This Festival will sell out!
So click on the link to their website to get tickets now!
There are so many Music Festivals in May, we urge you to go
to Festivals.com to look for a Music Festival in your area. Many
are family friendly. Some encourage jam sessions with members
of the audience, and no matter what genre is your favorite, you
can find a Festival featuring it in May! Remember to keep checking
back with us here at HillTop Records as we bring you the
up-coming Music Festivals and news from around the
Posted by HillTop Records Songwriters of America at 2:33 PM
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The music scene of Indiana's capital is varied, vast and exciting--just like you would expect of any big American city. As diverse as the metropolitan area's population, the music of Indianapolis includes nearly every genre. Rock, punk, hip hop, jazz, blues and soul mingle to give the colorful city a unique soundtrack. Whether you prefer classical or top 40, folk or rap, you are sure to find something to suit your musical style in Indianapolis. And that is why it deserves a mention in HillTop Records' series on American music scenes.
Important musical institutions in Indianapolis include the Indianapolis Opera (the only opera troupe in the city) and the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra. The first holds its concerts at Clowes Hall, and the second calls the Hilbert Theater on the Circle Downtown its home. The city is also home to Butler University's Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and Circle City Sound, a popular barbershop performance group that holds concerts throughout the city. If you happen to be in Indianapolis on a Monday evening, head to Scottish Rite Cathedral at 7PM to hear them live. For concerts and events on other nights, check the calendars of Indianapolis' best music venues.
Perhaps the city's most famous concert hall, the Verizon Wireless Music Center routinely hosts major national acts. However, as the large amphitheater is mostly outdoors, it is only open from May through September. Each year, it ends its season with a Halloween-themed celebration (complete with appropriately eery live music, of course) in October. The venue is well known for being the site of Julia Roberts and Lyle Lovett's '93 wedding, and infamous for the Grateful Dead riots of 1995. It is about a 30-minute drive from downtown Indianapolis.
Smaller--but no less attractive--venues include Chatterbox (a great place to hear some simple, old-school jazz) and the Emerson Theater, a staple within the punk rock scene. Babes in Toyland, the Misfits and other punk legends have played sold-out shows there. Meanwhile, the Jazz Kitchen features the best in neo-soul and jazz, and Birdy's Bar & Grill has welcomed Jordan Knight, The Stills and Prince. The Gin Blossoms, Blues Traveller and They Might Be Giants have played at Music Mill, and Radio Radio has hosted everyone from Los Lonely Boys to Ben Lee. The Slippery Noodle Inn, Melody Inn and Locals Only are quirkier venues that routinely feature up-and-coming musicians.
Indianapolis also celebrates music with large annual events. In particular, its Indy Jazz Fest (held each year in mid-June) attracts crowds of jazz-lovers from around the country. Vendors sell food and drinks while jazz, blues, bluegrass, roots, R&B, zydeco, and fusion bands hit multiple stages. Past performers include Bonnie Raitt, BB King and Ray Charles. A bit later in the year, you can attend the internationally-acclaimed International Violin Competition (held in mid-September) or the Bands of America Grand National Championships (held mid-November at the Lucas Oil Stadium.) The latter is a quintessential American tradition. Meanwhile, throughout the year, Indianapolis holds a "First Fridays" street fair (complete with live music) at the Harrison Center for the Arts.
It would be impossible to list important music events in the city without also mentioning Indianapolis Early Music. The non-profit organization (previously known as The Festival Music Society of Indiana, and now simply called IEM) was established in 1966 and since then, it has produced the annual Indianapolis Early Music Festival. As one of the oldest Early Music festivals in the United States, the event tends to draw major crowds to Indianapolis. It spans three weekends in the summertime, when the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra historically went on hiatus.
Another influential fixture on the city's music scene is the Fine Arts Society of Indianapolis. The not-for-profit charitable trust produces and broadcasts classical music radio programs 24 hours a day on WICR, WICR -HD 2 and online. Its classical, jazz, interviews, editorials, intellectual discussions and poetry programs were created to inspire a love of the arts throughout Central Indiana. These days, it is affiliated with National Public Radio and the Metropolitan Opera. It also broadcasts the music of the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.
Classical music not your thing? Don't worry! True to its name, Indy also celebrates the indie music scene. Hear the latest up-and-comers live at the next Battle of Birdy's or check out IndyBands.com for schedules.
IndianapolisMusic.net and Indy In-Tune are other fantastic resources for information on the Indianapolis music scene. Both sites feature entertainment podcasts with live interviews and commentary.
Of course, we will also do our best to keep you updated right here on our HillTop Records blog--so be sure to check back often! And while you're at it, take a peek at who took home the prize money last summer at our Second Annual HillTop Records Online Music Festival for Songwriters--It will run again this coming summer 2013!
Monday, April 1, 2013
Fast Forward Austin April 6thin Austin, Texas on Saturday, April 6th at the Scottish Rite Theater. The Festival runs for 8 hours from 4pm to 12am featuring eclectic works including the University of Texas Percussion Group and Austin Soundwaves.
45th Springtime Tallahassee Festival April 6thin Tallahasse, Florida invites you to come see over 100 colorful units and floats, marching bands, dance groups, Springtime Krewe floats, and much more! Kleman Plaza Seafood & Music Festival: 12:00 – 5:00.
Berks Jazz Festival April 5th - April 14thin Reading, Pennsylvania presents a wide array of musical styles, including contemporary and traditional jazz, soul, blues, big band and one-of-a-kind ensemble shows. Shows are held at major venues as well as intimate club and restaurant settings, making it a one-of-a-kind East Coast musical event!
French Quarter Festival 2013 April 11th - April 14th
in New Orleans, Louisiana is the largest FREE Festival in the South.Great New Orleans music all weekend long with food to match. Hear The Honeypots, the Spirit of New Orleans Brass Band and Soul Rebels while dining on Creole Crayfish or a Satchmo Dog topped off with a Shrimp & Alligator Sausage Cheesecake. A great Festival New Orleans style.
Country Thunder April 11th - April 14th
in Florence, Arizona, Country Thunder is one of the finest outdoor camping, music and food festivals in the Southwest. The four-day event features more than 40 local and national entertainers, arts and craft vendors, thousands of campers and an incredible food and beverage lineup. Featuring Toby Keith, Eric Church and on Sunday night - Lady Antebellum.
Coachella April 12-14 and April 19-21
in Indio, California, Coachella has been one of America's premiere festival events since its debut in 1999. The Festival features established acts, up-and-comers and rare stage appearances from reunited legends like Pixies, Siouxsie and the Banshees and Iggy and the Stooges. This year's line up includes Band Of Horses, Blur, Beach House, Bingo Players, Father John Misty, Infected Mushroom, Trash Talk, Jessie Ware and a lot more.
Rock the Ocean's Tortuga Music Festival April 13th and 14th
beginning at 11am EST on the beach in Fort Lauderdale Beach, Florida. Featuring Kenny Chesney, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Eli Young Band, Kip Moore, Gloriana and a lot more. A 2-day General Admission Ticket: $149.
Marana Bluegrass Festival April 13th and 14th
in Marana, Arizona, the Festival was created to showcase the talents of local bluegrass musicians/bands from a single festival stage. The 2013 Festival is being held in the Ora Mae Harn Park in downtown Marana, AZ (13250 N. Lon Adams Rd) on Saturday and Sunday, April 13th and 14th. Bands will perform back to back each day starting at 10:00 AM and going to 5:30 PM.
Old Settler’s Music Festival April 18th – April 21st
OSMF in Austin, Texas is Central Texas' signature music event featuring Grammy winning Americana, arts & crafts, camping, food & libations. Acoustic jazz & blues, bluegrass, old-time local faves & award-winning artists from around the world.
Frogtown Hollow Jam April 19th and 20thin Columbus, Georgia. The Sixth Annual Frogtown Hollow Jam is a two day music festival held on the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Columbus, GA. It is two days of music, food and fun for the whole family. Fri, 6:00 pm - 12:00 am; Sat, 12:00 pm - 12:00 am. Admission & parking: $10.
Magnetic Music Festival April 20th
in Atlanta, Georgia at the KSU Sports and Recreation Park. This Festival is for those 16 and older. The gates open at 1pm with 3 stages running rain or shine. Hear Midnight Panda, Adventure Club, Merrick, Sorted, Zero and ZedsDead. The early bird ticket price is $50 so plan ahead.
Foodabluza April 26th and 27th
in Atmore, Alabama, will celebrate Southern community - food and music from the deep South. The entertainment line-up will honor the music genre that is among the most beloved in the world – the Blues. Recognizing that the Blues has changed and evolved over the years, the Festival will showcase diversity. Performers include the Atlanta Rhythm Section and Kenny Wayne Shepherd.
For more information on upcoming music festivals, please be sure to check out Festivals.com. Also, keep checking back with us here at HillTop Records as we bring you the up-coming Music Festivals and the latest news from around the music industry!
Posted by HillTop Records Songwriters of America at 9:24 AM
Friday, March 15, 2013
One thing that may be surprising about Cambridge's music scene is the fact that it is so compact and easy to navigate: Really, the epicenter revolves around a single street corner. Here you will find three important venues: The upstairs and downstairs components of The Middle East, Club Passim, and T.T. the Bear's Place. The first of those, which is distinctly divided into two different venues, is probably the most famous club in the entire Boston area.
Such world-renowned artists as Aerosmith, The Lemonheads, The Pixies, Dinosaur Jr., The Modern Lovers and Dick Dale have all called this part of the country home at one point. Passion Pit even claims Cambridge specifically as their hometown. Legendary singer Joan Baez got her start in Cambridge; her first show ever was at the Club 47, which was later transformed into today's Club Passim. In her day, during the rise of folk music in the 1960's, that stage was at the center of Cambridge's music scene.
Other artists who have graced Club 47 with their presence include Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Shawn Colvin, Tom Rush and Suzanne Vega. To this day, despite the change in name and management, the small underground space in Harvard Square continues to draw gigantic crowds of live music fans. In its current state, it is well known for booking talented folk and bluegrass artists: Arlo Guthrie, Dar Williams and John Gorka have played at Club Passim and its like-minded neighbor, Veggie Planet.
The Plough and Stars in Central, meanwhile, is a traditional Irish pub with great musical range; its concerts vary from classic Irish folk to reggae to old school punk; on Tuesdays, it features a jazz trio called Attack of Le Pigeon. Also on Tuesdays, the nearby Think Tank in Kendall Square features higher paced, electronically geared artists. At the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the Lily Pad, a completely "bare bones" (ie. no food or drink, just music) space in Inman that specializes in smooth, mellow music.
As diverse as the local population, Cambridge's live music scene covers nearly all genres: It is not rare to find classical concerts playing in the squares--nor is it rare to stumble upon a Goth night, with black outfits required to enter (these are held every second Friday of the month at Xmortis.) From Ladysmith Black Mambazo to the Boston Conservatory Orchestra, who visit regularly, the sounds of Cambridge include a little bit of everything--for everyone.
With no shortage of live shows to attend, those in Cambridge can easily fill their nights with concerts and events. During the day, meanwhile, locals and visitors can spend hours browsing the shelves and bins that fill the record stores that fill the town. Cambridge boasts a surprising number (given the city's relatively small population) of excellent record stores. Be sure to check out Weirdo Records, Planet Records, Cheapo Records, Stereo Jack's, and Armageddon Shop.
Throughout the year, Cambridge also hosts some pretty fantastic music festivals. Among the most popular:
- Make Music Cambridge, each June in Harvard Square
- The Blues Run & Concert along the Charles River in May
- The CRLS Music Festival each May
- The Regattabar Jazz Festival, beginning in February
- RiverSing, always held on the first day of Autumn along the banks of the Charles River
To find out what is currently happening in music in Cambridge and the greater Boston area, check the websites of the aforementioned live music venues and also The Boston Survival Guide. You'll also definitely want to keep checking back with us here at HillTop Records, as we bring you updates from all of the greatest American music scenes!