Orton-Front Festival 2021
Thu Aug 26 2021 at 12:00 pm to Sun Aug 29 2021 at 08:00 pmUTC-05:00
Marquette Waterfront Festival | Madison, WI
Here’s what’s in store for Orton-Front…
THURSDAY ORTON PARK
5:30 Pizza & Ice Cream Social
5:30 Jimmy Sugarcane
6:30 Forward! Marching Band
7:30 Cycropia Aerial Dance
FRIDAY ORTON PARK
5:30 Happy Hour - $4 beers + wine
5:30 Oak Street Ramblers
7:00 Hirt Alpert
8:30 Cycropia Aerial Dance
SATURDAY YAHARA PL. PARK
11:30 Coyote Brother
1:00 Civil Engineers
2:30 Loving Cup
4:15 Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles
6:00 Eric McFadden Trio featuring Kate Vargas
12:30 Kari Arnett w/ Dan Walkner of Wrenclaw
2:00 Gaines and Wagoner
3:30 Harty & Hecht + guests
5:00 Tom Feldmann w/ Noah Levy
SUNDAY YAHARA PL. PARK
11:30 Joe Burbach Gospel Brunch
1:00 The Funkee JBeez-Funk and Soul Revue
2:30 Bassel & The Supernaturals
4:15 Raine Stern
6:00 Los Straitjackets
12:30 Cris & Ann Plata
3:30 Joel Paterson Trio
5:00 Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Band
FAMILY NIGHT, THURSDAY, AUGUST 26 - ORTON PARK
Put your blankets out early! Cycropia Aerial Dance kicks off the four-day festival with a performance from under the park’s great burr oak on Family Night, Thursday, August 26th. Cycropia goes on at 7:30 pm, following a 5:30 pm pizza and ice cream social, featuring a 5:30 set with dancehall favorite, Jimmy Sugarcane, and a 6:30 appearance by Madison favorites, the Forward! Marching Band.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 27 - ORTON PARK
Head to the park from work on Friday and enjoy a $4 beer + wine Happy Hour from 5:30-6:30. You'll be treated to a reunion set from bluegrass greats, the Oak Street Ramblers. Next up, Madison’s own Hirt Alpert, playing a nostalgic set of favorites from Herb Alpert and Al Hirt, among others at 7. Enjoy dinner from a number of food carts, ice cream from Chocolate Shoppe, as well as wine and craft beers. Friday evening ends with another magical performance by Cycropia at 8:30 pm.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 28 - YAHARA PLACE PARK
For the weekend, Orton-Front hops over to Yahara Place Park with two stages of outstanding music. The lineup kicks off on the Main Stage at 11:30 am with folk masters Coyote Brother. This ensemble features Madison’s J. Hardin and Milwaukee-based Hayward Williams who have been making music together for 15 years. Hardin and Williams sing harmonies in the tradition of the Everly Brothers and Jim and Jesse McReynolds--their hushed, haunted folk music will draw festival goers close to the stage. A perfect start to the day.
Shows on the Cottonwood Stage begin at 12:30 pm with a set by Madison Americana musicians Kari Arnett and Dan Walkner. Arnett, an up-and-coming country artist in the tradition of Emmylou Harris and Neko Case, and Walkner, a veteran country rocker and multi-instrumentalist, rarely play together. This is a rare treat--catch them kick-starting the Cottonwood Stage!
At 1:00 pm Madison’s funk and soul 7-piece Civil Engineers bring the crowd to the grassy dancefloor. Hard-hitting horns and driving percussion define the Tower of Power-influenced Madison band led by the Near East Side’s own Molly Fish. The Civil Engineers won the Madison Area Music Awards Pop/R&B album of the year for 2018.
Two of Madison’s most in-demand musicians take over the Cottonwood Stage at 2:00 pm. Chris Wagoner and Mary Gaines play gypsy jazz, Americana-roots music, Western swing, and more. In addition to their own recordings. Chris and Mary have contributed to many other projects including work on Smashing Pumpkins’ breakout album, “Gish.”
There’s a British invasion over on the Main Stage at 2:30 pm led by Madison’s very own Rolling Stones tribute band, Loving Cup. Loving Cup serves up not one but two Mick Jaggers--in the form of husband and wife singers, Catherine Cappellero and Andrew Rohn, who trade off lead vocals. Band members for this special show come from some of Madison’s most popular groups including VO-5 and the Low Czars.
At 3:30 pm two of Madison’s most in-demand players take the Cottonwood Stage. Acclaimed Americana singer-songwriter and recording artist Josh Harty pairs with Primitive Culture band leader David Hecht to perform a wide array of originals and deep cut covers.
Boston-based rocker and cowpunk Sarah Borges and the Broken Singles hit the Main Stage at 4:15 pm. Borges is known for her hair-on-fire live shows, but she’s also a songwriter for Hollywood: her music is featured in popular series including Sons of Anarchy and The Night Shift. Borges doesn’t walk a fine line between country and punk -- she annihilates it. Borgess and the Broken Singles will have the whole lakeshore rocking.
Delta blues maestro Tom Feldman travels from Minnesota to play the Cottonwood Stage at 5:00 pm. Feldman is a master stylist, recreating and interpreting the music of Son House, Charley Patton, and John Lee Hooker among many others. Feldman is joined on drums by fellow Minnesotan Noah Levy, founding member of The Honeydogs and session drummer for artists including Mason Jennings, Mandy Moore, and Brian Setzer.
At 6:00 pm join us at the Main Stage for our closing act. People will be talking about this one for weeks! Eric McFadden flies in from San Francisco to perform in a special trio with New York-based alt-pop singer-songwriter Kate Vargas. Either performer could wow the crowd on their own, but they’ll be teaming up for the Orton-Front Festival. McFadden has dug deep in American rock and funk. He played guitar for three years with George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars. His guitar playing was recently described by a bandmate as, “chili-powered, hard rockin’, avant-funk, Latin, surreal-desert groove.”
SUNDAY, AUGUST 29, YAHARA PLACE PARK
By boat or on shore, don’t miss out on the Fools’ Flotilla, the zany costumed boat parade that takes off from Tenney Park locks (registration opens at 9:00 am, parade starts at 10:00) and travels down the Yahara River towards the park. Check in with the River Alliance later this summer to register your flotation device.
The music starts up on the Main Stage at 11:30 am. Sunday with Joe Burbach’s Gospel Brunch. Burbach conducts the group--a mega-talented ensemble fronted by the passion and power of People Brothers Band lead singer Teresa Hardy--from behind his Hammond B3 organ. Expect standards like, “Wade in the Water,” but also watch for the band to branch out into music by groups like North Mississippi Allstars and the Tedeschi Trucks Band.
After the Gospel Brunch head over to the Cottonwood Stage at 12:30 pm to hear one of Madison’s most beloved performers serving up soulful Tex Mex music. Cris Plata was born in South Texas, the son of migrant workers. His songs showcase the many influences of his early years: Mexican border music, conjunto (elements of European and Mexican styles), and ranchera (Mexican country).
At 1:00 pm, get ready for a Main Stage tribute to Madison’s best-known musician: the late Clyde Stubblefield, drummer for James Brown. Award-winning drummer Joey Banks (Honor Among Thieves) leads his band, The Funkee JBeez-Funk and Soul Revue, through some of Brown’s (and Stubblefield’s) biggest hits and deep cut numbers. For the Orton-Front performance Banks has assembled a 12-piece band, drawing from some of the very best funk instrumentalists from around the Midwest. Not to be missed!
Head over to the Cottonwood Stage at 2:00 pm for a special Yahara edition of the world-famous Orton Park Festival Auction. Bid high and often--all proceeds benefit great causes in the neighborhood! (Check back soon for the auction list.)
Orton-Front is thrilled to bring Bassel and the Supernaturals to Madison for a Main Stage set starting at 2:30 pm. “Syrian Heart, Chicago Soul,” is the group’s motto. Bassel Almadani draws from his experience as a first generation Syrian-American, performing captivating songs with soulful melodies, funk-inspired rhythms, and lyrics regarding love, loss, and the war in Syria. Deeply inspired by Otis Redding, Bassel and the Supernaturals are veterans of stages at SXSW, the Kennedy Center, Millennium Park, and have toured with Brother Ali, Aesop Rock, and the Dandy Warhols.
At 3:30 pm, we’ll give Chicago guitar stylist Joel Paterson a big welcome home at the Cottonwood Stage. Paterson grew up on the near east side of Madison and graduated from Malcolm Shabazz High School-- but he’s been nearly impossible to get back to town for a show because he and his bands are in such demand in Chicago. Paterson will draw from an endless catalog of swing, jazz, and rock, including selections from his latest album, an incredibly inventive collection of Beatles covers, “Let It Be Guitar.”
Want to be part of the next huge buzz? Head over to the Main Stage at 4:15 pm as “The Voice” alum Raine Stern and her band take the stage. Stern blew “The Voice” judges away during her stint on the prime time television show last spring and has come home to Madison in time to release new music and video. Stern’s vocal passion and Prince-inspired electric guitar shredding will have Orton-Fronters on their feet in a state of rock n’ roll bliss.
The Tony Castaneda Latin Jazz Band drops at 5:00 pm on the Cottonwood Stage. For over a dozen years Castaneda and his tight ensemble have entertained Madison audiences with their traditional blend of congas, keyboards, horns, timbales, and hand percussion. Traditional, but forward leaning and timeless, Castaneda’s band plays with the fluidity and energy of a band of brothers.
The festival closes with--well, what can you say about one of the best surf rock bands of all time? Los Straitjackets arrives from California at 6:00 pm to showcase over 20 years of surf rock greatness. From their explosive start in Nashville in 1988, through the recording of nearly 20 albums, to their March, 2021 release, a cover of The Rolling Stones’ “Time is on My Side,” Los Straitjackets have rewritten the book on surf rock. In live shows, band members dress in identical black suits, gold Aztec medallions, and personalized Mexican wrestling masks. They’re also sought after studio musicians; they’ve backed up British rock icon Nick Lowe who said of the group, “... apart from being a fantastic rock n’ roll band, they know how to play tons of different styles really well. They can knock you out with a version of Bacharach and David’s “The Look of Love” with no trouble at all.”
The weekend will feature a terrific array of local restaurants and area artists, as well as craft beer and wine tents. Face painters, kids games, BINGO (Saturday and Sunday afternoons) and the Dandelion Dash (Saturday, 11:00 am) will return as well.
The festival remains free and fabulous thanks to the generous support of these fine local businesses:
Heartland Credit Union, Lauer Realty Group, Willy Street Co-op, your northside neighbors Paul & Ellen, All of Us Research Project, Solidarity Realty, The Chocolate Shoppe, Madison Gas and Electric, Pines Bach, TDS Custom Construction, RP’s Pasta, Aprilaire, Robert J Sawicki of Innovative Financial, Gebhardt Development, Prime Urban Properties, Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics, A Place to Be, and Plantastic-Foystastic Ltd.
… and our fabulous neighborhood sponsors:
Zach & Sarah Agard, Anne Beal, Michael Bender, Mary Buckland & Mike Wagnitz, Kate & Todd Brunner, Yogesh Chawla, Tim & Marlisa Condon, The Clefisch Zolik Family, Susan Curtis, Katherine Davey & Alan Ramsey, The Goeddels, Katie & Ben Griffiths, David Hecht & Friends, Laura Heisler & Steve Goldstein, Dan Hobson & Anita Krasno, Bob & Barb Kay, Sara Krebsbach & Glenn Reinl, Lance Lattimer & Bradley Grochocinski, Renée Lauber & Graham Cody, Lynn Lee & Addison, Jessie & Jordy Loeb, The Losada-Ruiz Family, Chris & Erika Lukas, Amy & Danny Mager, James Menting, Jane & Duane Miller, Ed & Rachel Niles, Rick & Debbie Olin, Dan Olson & Lisa Yandow Olson, Nick Pjevach & Julia Matthews, Jen Plants & Martin Foys, Carol Pope, Christine & Glen Reichelderfer, The Rice Family, Shelley Safer & Neil Komesar, Helen Sarakinos & Jake Vander Zanden, Mark Saunders, Grant Sovern & Lara Sutherlin, Justin Stuehrenberg & Katie Bannon, Elizabeth & Ward Tucker, Avicia & Paul West, and Pam & Jerry Wilson.
THANK YOU, all!
Note: This festival will only run if it can be in full compliance with public health directives and without significant restrictions for attendees. So, mask up, distance, and get your vaccine when it’s your turn!