Park yourself in the park for some opera

Steve Miller Band plays Breese Stevens Field
Park yourself in the park for some opera


Opera in the Park
July 23

Madison Opera celebrates its 15th Opera in the Park by staying true to what makes the event an annual favorite. Music lovers gather at Garner Park to picnic on the hill before the sun sets and the lights go up. Then the Madison Opera Chorus, the Madison Symphony Orchestra, guest singers–sopranos Emily Birsan and Angela Brown, tenor Scott Quinn and baritone Sidney Outlaw–and conductor Gary Thor Wedow take the stage for a program mixing sneak peeks of the upcoming mainstage season with other fun numbers. “It’s the most important thing we do,” says general director Kathryn Smith. “We get 16,000 people seeing it–that’s more per capita than any event like it in the country.”


Park yourself in the park for some operaSteve Miller Band
July 1

Call him a Space Cowboy, the Gangster of Love or simply a Joker–any version of Steve Miller is welcome to rock out in Madison! The Steve Miller Band headlines Breese Stevens Field, the historic East Wash athletic stadium that’s quickly becoming one of the city’s coolest outdoor concert venues. The concert is a stop on the iconic band’s North American summer tour and comes on the heels of singer, songwriter, guitarist and producer Miller’s induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. From his start in the San Francisco music scene of the 1960s to his arrival on the national stage in the ’70s with hits like “Living in the USA,” “Rock ‘N Me” and “Fly Like an Eagle,” Miller–a Milwaukee native–and his catchy, easygoing sound should be the perfect complement to a hot summer night in Madtown.


Art Fair on the Square
July 9-10

It’s hard to improve an arts extravaganza 58 years strong that brings 500 artists and nearly 200,000 art lovers to the Capitol Square. But the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art is doing just that with the addition of a cool new component to Art Fair on the Square. The Emerge Block spotlights 10 artists, who are early in their careers but show major promise, with booths on the top block of State Street. Check them out before or after perusing the paintings, photography, sculpture, jewelry, woodwork and more by artists from around the country. Live music and food vendors round out this signature Madison event.


“Kinky Boots”
July 12-17

When Charlie Price struggles to keep his family’s shoe factory up and running in Northampton, England, he forges an unlikely partnership with Lola, a drag queen who helps him launch a line of sexy high-heeled boots for large feet. Cyndi Lauper helped give the Broadway treatment to this inspired-by-real-life story of friendship and discovery. The ’80s pop star wrote music and lyrics for this musical that premiered in New York City in 2013, garnered six Tony awards–including Best Musical and Best Score–and now makes a run at Overture Center.


La Fête de Marquette
July 14-17

Bastille Day and the Marquette neighborhood’s French roots combine in this annual outdoor festival, which brings musical talent from across the French-speaking world and beyond to Madison’s Central Park. This year, 20 bands take to three stages, mixing pop and electronic sounds with jazz and traditional styles. Catch Ginkgoa from Paris and New York; Pape Diouf from Senegal; Krar Collective from Ethiopia; Les Poules à Colin and Melisande from Quebec; and George Porter Jr., Tab Benoit and Bonerama from Louisiana. The inclusion of Madison acts such as Primitive Culture, Cajun Strangers, Mama Digdown’s Brass Band, Mal-O-Dua and Johnny Chimes enhances the global-meets-local feel of the fest.