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How's this for a diverse lineup of entertainment? A funk band dressed like mummies, muralists unleashed on multiple buildings along Monona Drive and elsewhere, and an outdoor Hall & Oates concert. And that's without mentioning the long-held and beloved Orton Park Festival also taking place this weekend.
What a town.
Orton Park Festival, Orton Park
Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 22-25
A late summer tradition for decades, the Orton Park Festival brings a wide variety of music to the near east side. The event starts Friday night with a pizza and ice cream social and a captivating performance by the Cycropia Arial Dance troop amongst the branches of one of the park's large oak trees. The Beatles tribute band Get Up Wisconsin and Madison indie band Slow Pulp also play. On Saturday the music continues with the made in Madison music of Raine Stern, a young singer-songwriter and phenomenal guitarist; fun punk mainstays The German Art Students; and tenured roots rock band Honor Among Thieves. Then on Sunday, there's jazz from the Bill Roberts Combo, sweet harmonies from the trio Gin, Chocolate & Bottle Rockets and the cowpunk of Wood Chickens among others.
Good Neighbor Festival, Middleton
Friday-Sunday, Aug. 23-25
Middleton's annual Good Neighbor Festival has everything a volunteer-run, community celebration ought to have: A 5K run/walk on Saturday, a parade on Sunday (with recently retired University of Wisconsin–Madison band director Michael Leckrone serving as parade marshal), carnival games and rides, bingo, an art and craft show, live music and much more. And all proceeds go to local nonprofit organizations.
Momentum Urban Arts Festival, Various Locations
Saturday, Aug. 24, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.
More than 50 street artists from around the country will participate in the first annual Momentum Urban Arts Fest by painting murals on buildings along Monona Drive, Cottage Grove Road and East Washington Avenue. Sponsored by the Monona East Side Business Alliance, the event will include numerous artists painting and a DJ spinning records in the parking lot of organizer Momentum Art Tech Madison at 195 Cottage Grove Road. Maps will be available there to all the mural locations.
Here Come the Mummies, People Brothers Band, King Street
Friday, Aug. 23, 7 p.m.
Friday night's free Live on King Street concert headlined by funk band Here Come The Mummies is the show that was postponed last July. A member of the band — all of whom perform while wrapped head to toe like mummies — was injured in an accident and unable to play. The band can't be stopped, however. They claim to be 5,000 years old, after all. The People Brothers Band opens.
Nikki Hill, Knuckle Down Saloon
Friday, Aug 23, 9 p.m.
A fiery combination of gospel, soul and rock emanate from singer Nikki Hill and husband guitarist Matt Hill. The Hills, based in St. Louis for the past several years, have built a following through extensive touring while defying categorization. On Nikki Hill's newest record "Feline Roots," she plays "supercharged blues, punk soul, revival tent gospel, rockabilly shouts, whatever it takes to get there," according to a press release.
Triple M Block Party, The Sylvee
Saturday, Aug. 24, 7 p.m.
Bringing good-vibe music to The Sylvee Saturday night for the fourth annual Triple M 105.5 Block Party is Michael Franti & Spearhead and Brett Dennen, both of whom have had mainstream radio hits within the past decade — Franti's "The Sound of Sunshine" and Dennen's "Make You Crazy" come to mind. These artists are also active in progressive politics and causes, so go to the show expecting calls to action from the stage. Wilder Woods and Delacey open.
Daryl Hall & John Oates, Breese Stevens Field
Sunday, Aug. 25, 6 p.m.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Daryl Hall and John Oates, i.e. Hall & Oates, are said to be the best-selling music duo in history. And they're bringing their legacy and hits to Breese Stevens Field on Sunday evening. Think "Private Eyes," "Maneater" and "Out of Touch," which were a few of their No. 1 songs among the 34 chart hits Hall & Oates has in the 1980s. Alternative hip-hop and blues act G. Love & Special Sauce open.
The Venardos Circus, West Town Mall Lot
Thursday-Friday, Aug. 22-23, 6:30 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 24, 12:30, 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 25, 12:30, 2 and 3:30 p.m.; Aug. 28-Sept. 2
The Broadway-style Venardos Circus makes its first tour stop in Madison this week by setting up its big top on the Dave and Buster's side of West Town Mall and staying through Sept. 2. Created in 2014 by former Ringling Bros. Ringmaster Kevin Venardos, the 15-person, animal-free circus features aerial artists, jugglers, contortionists and magicians. The 90-minute shows are bound to thrill audiences of all ages.
Joel Patenaude is associate editor of Madison Magazine.
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