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Madison's music scene is incredibly robust. We've got places for artists of every caliber to share their music with adoring fans who inhabit Wisconsin's capital. Mix that diverse array of venues with the diverse tastes of Madison residents, and you get a collection of venues that cater to nearly every type of artist imaginable. Maybe it's the Midwest niceness that helps define the city, or maybe there's something in the water that keeps artists coming back, but Madison has become a haven for excellent music. Here's a breakdown of the venues in town that make that possible.
Opened in late 2018, The Sylvee has opened up the city to a plethora of big name artists. Within the first few months, the venue has brought in names like Bon Iver, Kacey Musgraves and Greta Van Fleet just to name a few. The new venue has already sold out multiple times (no small feat for a venue that holds 2,500 people) and it's sure to do so again, especially with names like ZZ Top, Lizzo and The Head and the Heart on the horizon. Click here to check out upcoming events at The Sylvee
One of Madison's most popular venues, Majestic Theatre on King Street — just a block away from the Wisconsin State Capitol building — is the city's most prominent venue for mid-sized acts who are on their way up in the music industry. Upcoming artists like Lucy Dacus and Crumb as well as more established acts like The New Pornographers and STRFKR make the downtown venue a great spot for all genres, especially indie and alt-rock. If you're looking for artists with decent-sized but loyal followings, this is where you'll likely find them. Click here to check out upcoming events at Majestic Theatre
High Noon Saloon
High Noon Saloon, another mid-size venue on Madison's near east side, is loved by many locals for its modest western decor, decent beer selection and a slew of smaller acts. Winner of the Madison Area Music Award for "Best Live Music Venue" from 2005 to 2017, High Noon Saloon is without a doubt a Madison favorite. Its modest but open space makes it a versatile venue that can handle intimate singer-songwriter shows one night and turn into a music-fueled dance party the next. Click here to check out upcoming events at High Noon Saloon
In recent years, The Orpheum's programming has shifted away from live music and toward big-name standup comedy, but that doesn't mean the music has completely stopped. In the coming months the venue will give fans the chance to see legendary acts like Toto, Elvis Costello and Buddy Holly, among others. Nowadays, concerts are few and far between, but when they do happen, they're ones to remember. Click here to check up upcoming events at Orpheum Theater
Overture Center for the Arts
Part performing arts center, part art museum, part concert hall, the Overture Center for the Arts is Madison's one-stop-shop for a huge variety of arts and entertainment. When it comes to music, expect to see a mix of performances from Madison mainstays like the Madison Symphony Orchestra, Madison Chamber Orchestra, Madison Opera and the occasional big-name national act. Click here to check out upcoming events at the Overture Center for the Arts
Memorial Union Terrace/Der Rathskeller
Located on the shore of Lake Mendota, the Memorial Union Terrace and Der Rathskeller work hand in hand to bring a taste of live music to the UW-Madison campus. Largely organized by the Wisconsin Union Directorate Music Committee, which is run by students, the stages offer laid-back entertainment nearly every night of the week. During the summer the stage on the terrace is not only home to live musicians — both local and from around the country and world — but also to open mic nights (Wednesdays) and nighttime movie showings (Mondays). The best part? All the entertainment is free. Click here to check out upcoming events at Memorial Union/Der Rathskeller
After opening in February, The Winnebago functioned exclusively as a cafe, but with a few months of operation under its belt, the space now doubles as a restaurant and small-scale venue that caters to all things indie, funk, jazz, soul and so much more. This place is all about sitting back and enjoying the company of friends and family alongside a good meal and great entertainment. Click here to check out upcoming events at The Winnebago
When it comes to championing local artists early on in their artistic endeavors, few venues are as promising as Communication. Fans of music on the more experimental or unusual side can feel confident that Communication will provide those kinds of artists a place to share their work, new or old, to fans who are always on the lookout for the exciting and boundary-pushing sounds that exist in the Madison music scene. Click here to check out upcoming events at Communication
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