Kick off fall with 6 must-see events in September

The Sylvee will open this month

Taste of Madison
More than 250,000 people converge on Capitol Square to eat, drink and listen to live music over the two days of Taste of Madison, a summer staple now in its 36th year. This year more than 110 restaurants and beverage stands will be on hand. The event has been operated by Madison Festivals Inc. since 1995 and raises tens of thousands of dollars annually for local nonprofits and charities. “It’s an end-of-summer tradition to have a picnic on the Capitol lawn,” says Madison Festivals president Rita Kelliher. Attendees can sit and listen to live music in front of the built-in amphitheater on Mifflin Street or on the Capitol steps facing Martin Luther King Boulevard. A new component this year is a Lambeau Field Live interactive exhibit along West Washington Avenue, highlighting the Green Bay Packers’ 100 seasons. Sept. 1-2

Willy Street FairKick off fall with 6 must-see events in September

As September rolls around, so does the final festival on the east side as the Willy Street Fair takes place along the 900 and 1000 blocks of Williamson Street on Saturday and 800, 900 and 1000 blocks on Sunday, and along Spaight Street between South Paterson and South Ingersoll streets. Children of all ages enjoy the annual Sunday parade, which spotlights Jim Wildeman and his bubble machine. More than 150 vendors will set up as well. Organizers pride themselves on the diverse music lineup. Afro-Latin band La Misa Negra and Israeli musician Gili Yalo perform on the main stage on Sept. 15. Madison-area bands are represented on Sept. 16 with Beatles cover band Get Back Wisconsin and the Celtic-influenced The Kissers. Sept. 15-16

Father John MistyKick off fall with 6 must-see events in September

Joshua Tillman’s musical journey has taken many intriguing turns. He’s written songs with Lady Gaga and Beyonce, played drums for indie rock band Fleet Foxes and, in 2012, created the stage persona of Father John Misty, the solo artist. His career has flourished since he made the name change. Tillman released a fourth studio album in June titled “God’s Favorite Customer” and he’s embarked on an enormous international tour that ends in the middle of November. Before then, he makes a stop at Orpheum Theater. Sept. 18

Counting CrowsKick off fall with 6 must-see events in September

This summer’s concerts at Breese Stevens Field have had a retro vibe. The 1970s and 1980s were represented with shows by The Doobie Brothers, Steely Dan and REO Speedwagon. Now the Counting Crows bring back the 1990s. The Crows’ “25 Years & Counting” tour celebrates the band’s quarter century together – a seven-album legacy that started with 1993’s “August and Everything After,” which remains the band’s most popular recording. Lead singer Adam Duritz is known for being an energetic live performer who enjoys changing songs’ lyrics and phrasing. Sept. 19

William Shatner
Although the original “Star Trek” had only a three-year run on television from 1966 to 1969, Captain James T. Kirk became an iconic character known to generations of fans. Canadian actor William Shatner played Kirk and has benefited from the decades-long syndication of the show and the franchise’s more recent reiterations. Shatner, who turned 87 this year, has returned to the role in seven Star Trek movies. After an Orpheum Theater screening of one of those films – 1982’s “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” – Shatner himself will take the stage to discuss his 50-plus-year career and answer questions from the audience. Sept. 21

Curtain Rises on The Sylvee
The much-anticipated new venue The Sylvee opens this month on East Washington Avenue, and the first scheduled acts set the stage for a range of possibilities to come. First up is a sold-out show by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats on Sept. 27. (Heavy metal band Avenged Sevenfold was to be the first a few days earlier, but the show was canceled due to a band member’s illness.) Rateliff’s eight-member outfit has a sound infused with soul, rock and R&B influences. But it’s The Sylvee itself – named after Frank Productions co-founder Sylvia “Sylvee” Frank, who died in 2006 – that will be looking to build a fan base. Sept. 27