Make Music

Ink and watercolor image of Madison's lakes with the isthmus defined by a sillhouette of a trombone player, and a city skyline in bright watercolors across the bottom. Artist, Ali Brooks
Featured Artwork for Make Music Madison 2016, from Ali Brooks


What is Make Music Madison?

Make Music Madison is an annual citywide, free, outdoor day of music held on the summer solstice, June 21. Initiated in 2013 as Madison’s entry into the international summer solstice music celebration, we join over 700 communities around the world in kicking off summer by filling the city with music. Make Music Madison turns the city into a stage, and offers a full spectrum of performers the opportunity to display their musical skills.

2016 provides us with our first mid-week event, opening new possibilities for venues and musicians. Coffee shops, restaurants and businesses all over Madison will be looking for musicians to fill their locations with song. Performers along the bike paths could bring music to the morning commute. Lunch patrons may find themselves serenaded by a middle school strings quartet. And after 5, the city will explode with music.

  • Make Music Madison is: Performed by Anyone, Enjoyed by Everyone.
  • A way for all Madisonians to celebrate the summer solstice, enjoying the longest day of the year, while sampling a buffet of musical merriment.
  • A DIY city-wide celebration when almost any way to make music can and will happen.
  • Make Music Madison is open to music makers of all ages, skill levels, and musical persuasions.

Paul Filopowicz playing guitar in a shiny yellow jacket, dancing on top of a wooden picnic table while he plays. Audience members are smiling up from their seats on the benches, and snapping photos.
Paul Filipowicz performing at Make Music Madison 2015. Photo by Hedi LaMarr Rudd.
When and where will Make Music Madison take place?

The next Make Music Madison will take place on the summer solstice, Tuesday, June 21, 2016.

Who is Make Music Madison?

Make Music Madison may be Performed by Anyone, Enjoyed by Everyone, but it still takes a dedicated team of volunteers to bring it all together. We have a small board comprised primarily of group leads for larger teams of volunteers who focus on venues, musicians, matchmaking, mass appeal events, technology, publicity, and fundraising. In addition we have a single part-time paid position for our executive director.

Current board members include Elizabeth Simcock (president), Mark Fairchild (mass appeals), Jamie Kember (musicians), Beth Mastin (matchmaking), Sue Peck (fundraising), Jon Standridge (venues), and Mike Rothschild (president emeritus). Our executive director is Katherine Davey. Beyond this we have a great team of volunteers, and you can still be part of making 2016 amazing. To get involved, email us at

performance view in a park, looking out to the audience from stage right. Sunshine, warm grass, and smiling faces. The back of a cellist and music stands can be seen at the edge of the stage.
Photo: Diane K.

Anderson brothers @ memorial union


Registration for Make Music Madison 2016 is now closed. 

The full Make Music Madison 2016 program will be available soon. To view your profile and see the details of your show(s) log in here.

Didn’t get around to registering on time? You can still participate this June 21st by joining in one of our mass appeal events — performances of pre-selected music that are open to all musicians.


Make Music Madison is a volunteer-organized event and thrives on the support of our community.

What does it cost and where does the money go?  The cost of bringing more than 400 concerts to over 100 venues across Madison in one day is roughly $55,000. Less, we like to say, than the cost of installing a traffic light. Far less.

The work of small army of volunteers makes it possible to pull this off on such a limited budget, but unavoidable costs remain, including: publicity and advertising that are critical to the success of the event, software development for the matchmaking system, a part-time managing director to coordinate the many volunteers and handle the administrative aspects of the nonprofit organization, and many smaller items such as insurance and event permitting.

Help cover these costs, and be part of bringing the musical merriment to the summer solstice!

Donate via PayPal

Or checks can be sent to:
Make Music Madison
PO Box 5311
Madison, WI 53705

Make Music Madison is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; all contributions are 100% tax deductible.


Our sponsors benefit from co-marketing with an event that has become a summer highlight, and receive extensive exposure through print (including an Isthmus event program insert) and radio advertising, prominent placement on a highly trafficked website and mobile app, and on posters and banners at more than 100 venues. When the Solstice rolls around, we are everywhere.

Learn more about the benefits of sponsoring Make Music Madison, and contact us at

Make Music Madison 2016 sponsors include:

Platinum Sponsors

                                                       MAC logo              CUNA logo              MCF logo

Diamond Sponsors

Dane Arts
Pat & Shirley Kubly

Gold Sponsors

Hathaway Dilba
Terry Foundation

Silver Sponsors

MINI of Madison
Murphy Desmond S.C.
Madison BCycle

Media Sponsors



Find more of our photos from last year on Flickr:


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