Willy Street Fair 2012 – Sunday

Fantastic parade kicks off great final day at the Fair

The parade ends with a impromptu street party, the Bubbleman himself, Jim Wildeman can’t help but grin.

I heard it from several people over and over again that the 2012 Willy Street Fair was probably the best in a long time, if not ever. The weather, enthusiasm, and proud traditions combined for a second day as thousands appeared on three blocks of Willy Street to take in music, food, entertainment, and a large amount of vendors.

Almost everyone was raving about the parade, led by the Bubblemobile, that was lively and the probably the largest ever. After the parade had made a lap through the neighborhood it was time for the stretch run down Willy and its traditional finish in the middle of the 900 block; where both parade participants and viewers danced under the balloon banner for an extended period of time.

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Willy Street Fair 2012 – Saturday

You really missed a great Saturday on Willy Street, parade today

As the sun sets the crowd sways to the music of St. Lucia-based Taj Weekes. Photo by: Thomas Balistreri

While its the people that make the Willy Street Fair so great, the weather was a close second. With a temperature near eighty degrees, thousands came to Willy Street on Saturday (September 15) for Day One of the Fair. Food, drink, and music filled the 900 and 1000 blocks of Williamson Street. The Main, Folk, and Electronic stages were in action with day-long line ups.  Continue reading

Willy Street Fair is Here!

Final summer celebration is this Saturday and Sunday

The Willy Street Fair Parade, circa 1985. An earlier incarnation of Jim Wildeman’s Bubblemobile still retains the iconic bubble smokestacks. The author is pedaling furiously in a homemade pedal car. Courtesy: Richard and Judith Guyot.

It is simply the best neighborhood festival in the City of Madison, and as far as I’m concerned the best festival ever. I’m a little biased having grown up with the Willy Street Fair (September 15-16) in my backyard, but i’m sure all will agree this weekend’s event is the best expression of what it means to live, work, and play in the Marquette neighborhood.

We have arrived at the end of a great summer for festivals in the Marquette neighborhood despite the wish for a little more rain and less heat. The weather for this weekend will be sunny and in the mid-70s which will bring throngs of people to the 900 and 1000 blocks of Williamson Street.

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Gallery: Live On King St.

Cloud Cult delights with high energy and thick harmonies

Live On King Street: July 20

Hundreds showed up for the 2nd Annual Live on King Street summer concert series which was expanded to four dates this summer. Majestic Resident DJ Nick Nice cast music down upon the gathered crowd from his perch including a pre-concert set along with music in between performances.

Nice was followed by the up and comping pop duo MS MR from New York City and the headliner Cloud Cult, which after a two year absence played like a band earnestly making up for lost time and the crowd responded with enthusiastic love. Video of Cloud Cult in action including the on-stage painters is below.

You can read a review of the evening from the Isthmus here

Live On King St. Debuts Friday

Cloud Cult to headline Block Party, DJ Nick Nice atop the Majestic marquee

The 2nd annual Live On King Street free summer concert series kicks off Friday July 20th featuring Cloud Cult, an experimental indie rock band from neighboring Minnesota. The band was started by Craig Minowa to support some of his solo projects and has grown to eight current members and almost an equal number of alumni. Cloud Cult features mostly traditional instruments including guitar, cello, violin, bass, keyboard, trombone, drums, and trumpet.

One unique aspect of Cloud Cult’s performances is the employment of one or two painters (including Craig’s wife Connie) on stage that complete pieces during the performance. The pieces are auctioned off at the end and audience members can also commission works to be done during the show.

Opening for Cloud Cult is MS MR, a Brooklyn-based duo with poppy, retro, and sometimes experimental sounds. Their first single “Hurricane” was released this month and is available on 7’’ vinyl. You can download their Track Addict Mix Series, including “Hurricane” from Soundcloud.

Majestic Resident DJ Nick Nice. Courtesy: Nick Nice

The all ages concert begins at 5 p.m. (21 to drink) with Majestic Resident DJ Nick Nice spinning from atop the Majestic marquee as he did last year. Nick Nice will then move inside the Majestic and host the 80s New Wave Rave beginning at 10 p.m.

La Fete de Marquette is Magnifique

Four day music festival growing with style

La Fete de Marquette, July 12-15, 2012 in the Marquette Neighborhood.

The seventh annual La Fete de Marquette, celebrating French music and culture, begins today (July 12) at the corner of South Dickinson and East Main Streets. While Pere Marquette did traipse through these lands in the 1600s (see Portage, Wisconsin), the relative lack of a historical French connection to the Marquette neighborhood will not stop them from holding a really cool party for Bastille Day.

The free four-day event is one of the “Big Four” Marquette neighborhood summer festivals and is a fundraiser for the Wil-Mar Neighborhood Center.

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