Free outdoor music concerts during Summer 2016

Celebrate Summer 2017 in Madison, Wisconsin with free outdoor music concerts and performances

Ben and Leo Sidran perform at the 2006 Isthmus Jazz Fest on the Memorial Union Terrace with Lake Mendota is the background

Summer in Madison, Wisconsin offers a wealth free music in the beautiful outdoors, starting with Brat Fest on Memorial Day weekend. A vast array of free rock, classical, opera, country, and jazz performances and concerts are on tap for Summer 2017. National and international musicians, as well as local talent will hold forth at Monona Terrace, Central Park, the Memorial Union Terrace, the Capitol Square, and other venues, including local parks, starting in late May and running through September.

Madison on the Cheap has compiled this list of free summer music events to help you plan your sunny days and starry nights, whether you want to sit and listen or get up and dance.

Note: This is a preliminary list and we will be adding events as schedule details become available, so check back often to learn what’s happening. Also, please be aware that schedules change. We do our best to keep this list accurate and up-to-date, but it’s always a good idea to check sponsor sites for the latest information.


Spring Concerts at Olin Pavilion 
Four evenings between May 17-June 15, 2017
Historic Olin Park Pavilion, Madison
Friends of Olin-Turville Park present family-friendly concerts featuring folk and country music. Entertainers include The Berrymans (Peter & Lou) and Chris Plata

Brat Fest
May 26-29, 2017
Willow Island at the Alliant Energy Center, Madison
Four days of brats, beer, ice cream and free music. Headliners include George Clinton, Everclear, and Madison County


Gazebo Musikk
Rotary Park, Stoughton
Every Thursday from June 1- August 31, 2017 (no concert July 6th)
“Family-friendly summer outdoor music performance.” Featured performers include Craig Mason Combo (jazz), The Old Tin Can String Band (bluegrass), and Distant Cuzins (garage band)

Concerts on the Rooftop
William T. Evjue Rooftop Garden, Monona Terrace
Most Thursdays at 7 p.m. from June 1 – July 20, 2017
“A truly unique Madison experience! Enjoy spectacular local bands accompanied by the best views in the city!”
New this year: Capacity limited. Visit event site to request free tickets.

Capitol City Band
Thursdays at 7 p.m. from June 8 through August 31, 2017
Rennebohm Park, 115 N. Eau Claire Avenue, Madison
Free one-hour concerts by “Wisconsin’s finest professional concert band.”

Marquette Waterfront Festival
June 10-11, 2017
Yahara Place Park, Madison
Free, family-friendly outdoor concerts featuring a variety of headliners, including Mal-O-Dua, Les Poules à Colin (Quebec), David Landau, and the Willy Street Chamber Players

Isthmus Jazz Festival
June 16-17, 2017
Memorial Union Terrace, 800 Langdon Street, Madison
Two days of free live jazz at one of Madison’s favorite outdoor spaces with a great view
In addition, there will be a ticketed concert by Terence Blanchard and the E-Collection on Saturday, June 17, 2017 at Shannon Hall (formerly known in the Wisconsin Union Theatre).

Summer Serenades: Sunday Concerts on the Terrace
June 18, July 2, July 16, July 30, August 13
Memorial Union Terrace, 800 Langdon Street, Madison
Classical music from “some of the finest and most innovative artists Wisconsin has to offer.” Concerts start at 5 PM.

Concerts at McKee
June 19, July 17, and August 21, 2017 (Third Monday of the month)
McKee Farms Park at 2930 Chapel Valley Road, Fitchburg
“Bring a picnic and a bottle of wine or have dinner and drinks at one of our many food carts and brew carts available to serve you at the concert.” Headliners concerts begin at 7 p.m.

Make Music Madison
June 21, 2017
“An annual citywide, free, outdoor day of music held on the summer solstice.”
Schedule TBA

Live on King Street
June 23, July 14, July 28, August 4, August 18, September 15,and September 29, 2017
Majestic Theatre, 115 King Street, Madison
Seven free outdoor concerts on Friday nights featuring nationally touring artists Performers include Dark Star Orchestra, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and The New Pornographers.

Summer Concerts in the Garden
June 25, July 9, July 23, August 6, August 20, September 3, and September 17 (Sundays)
Allen Centennial Garden, 620 Babcock Drive, Madison
Classical and jazz concerts from 5-6 PM

Concerts on the Square
June 28 – August 2, 2017
King Street corner of the Capitol Square, Madison
Free outdoor performances by the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra at 7 p.m. on Wednesdays on the grounds of the Wisconsin State Capital.


La Fete de Marquette
July 13-17, 2017
Central Park, Madison
Free outdoor concerts featuring music from around the world “with a focus on the pulse-beating sounds from New Orleans and Louisiana.”

Opera in the Park
July 22, 2017
Garner Park, Madison
“… the stars come out in the sky, the light sticks glow in the audience, and singers from Madison Opera’s mainstage season share their favorite opera and Broadway numbers.”

Atwood Fest
July 29-30, 2017
2000-2090 Atwood Avenue, Madison
Two days of free music and festivities; schedule TBA


The Central Park Sessions
August 2-3, 9-10, and 16-17, 2017 (Wednesday and Thursday nights) + a special “Back to School Session” on September 7, 2017
Central Park, Madison
Performers include Marcia Ball; The Cork and Bottle String Band; Lost Bayou Ramblers; and Beth Kille

Jazz at Five
Dates pending: Usually Wednesday nights in August at 5 p.m.
100 State Street, Madison
Free outdoor jazz concerts featuring local and national artists TBA

Dane Dances
Monona Terrace
August 4-25, 2017 (Fridays in August from 5:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m.)
“This summer music series is one of Madison’s most popular summertime events! These special concerts were created to help break down racial barriers and bring people of all backgrounds together for a night of free entertainment and dancing.”

Orton Park Festival
August 24-27, 2017
Orton Park, 1103 Spaight Street, Madison
Free, family-friendly outdoor festival featuring Cycropia Aerial Dance and local bands TBA


Taste of Madison
September 2-3, 2017
Capitol Square, Madison
Sample treats from Madison-area restaurants ($$) and enjoy free live music from a wide variety of bands.
Program details pending; check back later for details TBA

Willy Street Fair
September 16-17, 2017
Williamson Street, Madison
Program details pending; check back later for details TBA

Last updated 6/13/2017