Make Music Madison

Frequently Asked Questions

When is Make Music Madison?

Every June 21 between 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM.

Where is Make Music Madison?

Any site in the City of Madison that can be open to the public, including:

Who can host?

Hosting can be as simple as providing space on your porch or as complex as renting a stage and sound equipment. The host controls the location, length of performance, and what they are able to provide. Sites must:

  1. Be within the City of Madison
  2. Be free and accessible to the public
  3. Maintain a clearance on the sidewalk for pedestrian passage

Who can perform?

Make Music Madison is open to musicians of all ages, skill levels, and styles. Students, amateurs, first-timers, part-time professionals, and established musicians are all welcome. There is no audition process, all you do is register, match with a venue, show up, and perform!

How do I register to participate?

  1. Create a profile with as much information as possible.
  2. Search for a musician or venue to match with.
  3. When you find a good fit, send a message with a booking request.
  4. Schedule as many shows as you like.
  5. Both host and musician must confirm your show before matchmaking ends.
  6. Stay in touch with your matches as the day approaches.

What if I already have a plan and I don’t need to find a match?

List your event in our matchmaking system. It will appear on our website, and we will secure any necessary permits.

What if I missed registration?

Email us at and we will do our best to find you a site. The city is a stage on Make Music Day, so consider performing in your front yard, or at a local park.

How long will each performance last?  

Musicians and hosts will agree to the length of each performance. Stick to your advertised times so the schedule on our website is accurate. 

Are musicians paid? Should hosts pay musicians?

To be a part of Make Music Day, all performances must be free to the public. Participation at any level (musician, host, or spectator) is voluntary. However, we believe music has value. We encourage hosts to pay musicians or provide them with food/drink/gift cards, when possible. We ask hosts to help the musicians feel appreciated.

Make Music Madison provides the framework. We secure permits, manage the matchmaking tool, and publicize the event. We provide musicians and venues with tip buckets, and we encourage spectators to tip. We pay various musicians each year for interactive events, or those that qualify for our equity fund.

How many performances can I schedule?

As many as you’d like. If you perform at multiple sites, allow time for travel & set-up.

Can dancers perform on Make Music Day?

Yes, but the performance must be to live music, not recorded music. Consider space constraints and flooring needs.

What if I sign up now, and have to back out later?

Once the host and musician confirm the show, we will publicize your event and secure permits. If you need to cancel, it is your responsibility to find a replacement. Inform us about all program changes, then update the status to ‘cancelled’ in the matchmaking system.

What if I want to play with others, but don’t have a band?

  1. Organize a “Mass Appeal” event where several musicians perform a piece together. For instance, a platoon of accordions play the “Beer Barrel Polka”, or a quartet sings Broadway tunes. See our Mass Appeal page for ideas.
  2. Email us what you are looking for, and we can share a call on our social media pages.

Can I perform at the solstice sunrise?

Noise ordinances and common sense are not suspended for Make Music Madison. Any event with higher decibel sound must occur between 8 AM – 9 PM. Exceptions include events planned by surrounding homeowners, or quiet shows that follow the sound ordnance.

Where might I make loud music?

Larger parks are ideal. Explore Madison’s park system or contact us to explore ideas.

How do park reservations work?

Will Make Music Madison pay the reservation fee for park shelters?

We rent several large park shelters. They will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in the matchmaking system. If you’d like to use a shelter that is not listed, contact us. We ask that large shelters are hosted by organizers who will present several shows, rain or shine.

Who will provide a stage/piano/amplification system?

Make Music Madison is a do-it-yourself event. Each venue will list the equipment and electrical access they have in their profile. Musicians should review this before sending a request. If you need to loan an instrument or an amplification system, contact us and we will see how we can help.

Will there be a main stage?

No, the city is the stage on Make Music Day. Have a venue in mind? Ask that location to host!

What if it rains?

There is no rain date. This event happens in 1,000+ communities around the world on June 21, and so will ours. If it rains, shows at an exposed site may move inside. We ask that you open a door/window so the music can be heard outside. Venue hosts should list in their profile what will do in case of rain. Park shelters are great rain or shine locations.

Can I charge admission?

No. All Make Music Madison performances are free and open to the public.

Can I block off a street?

Our city permit doesn’t cover block parties in city streets. To host a block party, you’ll need to contact us to help you make those arrangements in advance.

Can my show be “invitation only”?

No. All Make Music Madison performances are free and open to the public.

Can I perform outside the City of Madison?

Our permits, insurance, logistics and funding are Madison specific. There are other local chapters you can participate with. If you cannot find a chapter in your area, contact the Make Music Alliance.

Who organizes this event?

Make Music Madison, Inc. is a 501(c)3 organization launched in 2013. We are a chapter of the Make Music Alliance, and part of 1000+ cities worldwide who celebrate Make Music Day. 

How can I volunteer?

Explore our volunteer page.

Can I donate to Make Music Madison?

Contributions can be made online and are 100% tax-deductible. If your company is interested in sponsoring, please contact us.

What is the matchmaking system?

The matchmaking system connects musicians & venues. After creating an account, you can search for a matching musician or venue and request a booking. A few tips:

What does the “Accepting Requests” toggle button mean on my profile?

You may want to toggle this off to stop accepting requests if:

  1. Your schedule is full.
  2. You’d prefer to have control over who requests shows and don’t want anyone to reach out.
  3. You have your lineup planned and don’t need any one to request a show.

Why am I restricted to three choices for the type of music I perform or that my venue will accept?

This limit makes it easier to find the right match. Use the “Other” choice and the description box to override this limitation. If you represent a venue pen to all types of music, use “open to anything.”

What will Make Music Madison do to promote my concert?

We list concerts on our website, pitch stories to the press, create posters and a social media toolkit, advertise in local papers, radio stations, and on social media.

I’ve signed up as a musician or a venue and I’m ready to make a match. Can you break down the approval process in the software for me?

You can use the search option to filter to the available artist/venue who fits your criteria. Use the triangle to the left of the name to see all of their profile. You can see all available venues and performers by selecting the browse feature.

I’ve requested some bookings, what happens now?

After you send a booking request, that entity will receive an email. Both sides need to confirm, modify or decline the opportunity. If you wish to modify, you specify with the other party what you want to change. When you confirm a match it will be sent to Make Music Madison to review. Your desired match will appear on your “Account” page under “My Performances”; note that until all three parties have approved, the match is “pending confirmation”. After approval by the artist, venue, and Make Music Madison, the status will say “confirmed”.

We completed our matchmaking last week, but our completed match still says “Pending Confirmation”. Why?  

Make Music Madison must approve each performance. In most cases we will confirm your performance within two weeks. If you are certain you have a firm commitment, there is no need to worry, we will not force a break-up. Be patient for our administrators to approve the match in the system.

Do I need to check in with my “Account” page to see if there are any pending matches?

When someone requests a match, you will be emailed a notification to log in and check the match.

I signed weeks ago and no one has picked me, should I worry?

It may take time to find a match. If you don’t see what you want today, check another time. Or, be creative in matchmaking. Venues may contact musicians not already registered in the matchmaking software to ask them to sign up. Likewise, performers may contact venues where they’d like to perform and ask them to sign up as venues. Also, consider that venues can be almost any public place in Madison where people can gather without impeding traffic. The playground down the street, the pet store parking lot, the plaza outside your office building could all be venues.

Why was my performance was denied?

You may be denied if the other party’s time slots have been filled, or they cannot accommodate your technical needs or the number of performers. Don’t despair; try to find another match.

What do I do when a match wants to modify my request?

The modification request in our matchmaking software is there to set up a schedule that works for both parties. If a request needs to be modified in some way other than time, contact the other party to work through the details.

It’s May 30th and there is still no match. Should I be heartbroken?

Make Music Madison wants to make sure everyone who wants to perform, can . After registration closes, participants will have time to match. We will contact musicians and venues that haven’t been matched and will propose creative options for your inclusion in Make Music Madison.

A scene of seated people surrounding an outdoor concrete plaza with three performers playing stringed instruments
Two Ukes and a Bass at Monroe Commons, 2021