What to do in Madison this weekend: Interlay EP release, Catfish River Music Festival and more Isthmus Picks – Isthmus

Art for Humanity’s Sake, through July 8, Java Cat: Work by more than 25 artists is part of this silent auction coordinated by Madison-Rafah Sister City Project, to benefit Middle East Children’s Alliance’s humanitarian work in Gaza. Art is on display at Java Cat; the auction is open through 5 p.m. on July 8 at

Stoughton Fair, through July 7, Mandt Park, Stoughton: This festival remains centered on community exhibitors of livestock, arts and crafts, and more. But the Stoughton Fair also includes plenty of entertainment: Stunt dog performances by Team Zoom Canine Entertainment, CC Bucking Bulls rodeo, truck and tractor pulls, and live music including Bree Morgan Reloaded, The Box Band, and others. There’s also a Friday fish fry…what is more Wisconsin than that? Find the full schedule at

Columbus Fourth of July, through July 7, Fireman’s Park, Columbus: Why travel to Columbus for a Fourth of July celebration? Columbus’s Fireman’s Park has the look of a late 19th century American Midwestern small town, with its impressive two-story dance hall. The park hosts a carnival each day and bands at night July 3-5 and all afternoon and evening on July 6 (including a Madison Music Foundry showcase and fan fave ’80s hair band tribute Cherry Pie). Fireworks are scheduled for dusk on the Fourth. The fest closes on Sunday with a classic car show. Find the full schedule at

Monona Community Festival, July 3-4, Winnequah Park, Monona: From beginnings as Monona Fun Days in the 1960s, the Monona Community Festival has grown into one of Dane County’s best Fourth of July events, featuring a spectacular fireworks display, a big art fair, bands and a hopping beer tent, kids’ activities, and the unique spectacle of the Wisconsin Wife Carry Championship. The fest has always been free admission, and entirely volunteer run as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit raising funds for community organizations; unfortunately, a decline in volunteers and a rise in costs to put on the festival have led the organization to announce that 2024 will be the final year. Set aside some time to make some new memories to join those of fun times during past years. Find the full schedule at

Fourth Fest, Thursday, July 4, Edgewater Plaza, 2-9 p.m.: The Edgewater’s spacious plaza is a delightful place to take in some sun and enjoy the view of Lake Mendota — or a band or two. Fourth Fest is back with extended outings by a pair of Madison area favorites: the rockin’ soul of People Brothers Band and reggae masters Natty Nation. There’s also activities for the kids from 2:30-5 p.m….and if you’re watching the lake, Mad-City Ski Team performs at 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. Admission is free. Watch for updates at

Catfish River Music Festival, July 4-6, Rotary Park, Stoughton: Along with three days of music, the Catfish River Music Festival features the announcement of the 2024-2025 season at Stoughton Opera House. It’s also a fundraiser for the nonprofit, and beverage sales help maintain the historic venue — as do donations from enthused music fans. But, who is playing, you may ask? Returning fest favorites The Cactus Blossoms and Charlie Parr (back-to-back on Friday); a galaxy of local stars such as Neil Young tribute band Shakey, carisa and The Spine Stealers; and many more. Prepare for a busy weekend. Find the full schedule and updates at

Red Rose with Raquel Aleman, Friday, July 5, Madison Children’s Museum Wonderground, 5 p.m.: The extravagant and fanciful dream outdoor playground at the Madison Children’s Museum is the perfect backdrop for some adult fun, too. The summer concert series in the Wonderground continues with a performance by Red Rose, a Madison band that plays a danceable, trippy mix of funk and house music. They are joined by frequent collaborator Raquel Aleman (a member of Don’t Mess With Cupid, originally scheduled but unable to play this Wonderground date).

The Low Czars, Friday, July 5, High Noon Patio, 5:30 p.m.: There are cover bands, and then there are The Low Czars. With a repertoire reaching back to the 1950s, whether you’re in the mood for renowned or obscure power pop, garage rock, R&B or something you didn’t even know you needed to hear, The Low Czars deliver. This collective began years ago by playing a one-off show for a wedding, and features members of various local bands: Larry Braun (Straka & Sphynx), Peter Fatka (Linda), Bob Koch (Arkoffs, and also Isthmus calendar editor), James Leaver (Back Issues), and Aaron Scholz (Also-Rans). This is a free show — and the perfect way to start the weekend.

Willy Street Chamber Players, Fridays, July 5-26, various venues, 6 p.m.: If the Willy Street Chamber Players are playing, it must be summer. The neighborhood group, founded by graduate students, puts on an entertaining and ambitious program of classical music aimed at the Williamson/Marquette neighborhood. The season starts with an adventurous (and free) outdoor concert at Orton Park on July 5 featuring mostly 21st century pieces, one 20th century and Mendelssohn’s Four Pieces for String Quartet. Following Friday concerts are July 12 at the WYSO Center for Music, July 19 at Immanuel Lutheran Church, and July 26 back at WYSO; all shows at 6 p.m. See the full programs at

Helion Prime, Friday, July 5, Crucible, 8 p.m.: This majestic power-metal bill brings California’s Helion Prime back to Madison after the sci-fi-themed band — think Iron Maiden and Helloween — blasted the High Noon Saloon’s roof into outer space at the 2019 Mad With Power festival. Also performing will be two other Mad With Power alumni bands, both fronted by females. Minneapolis-based AfterTime blurs symphonic metal with orchestral film scores and is celebrating the May release of its second album, Arcane Horizons. Madison’s Queen of Dreams, meanwhile, is an epic band with progressive overtones and big things ahead. Relatively new Madison fantasy metal quintet King’s Caravan is also on the bill. Tickets at

Interdependence Day, Saturday, July 6, Bur Oak, 2-11 p.m.: Madison band The Earthlings has been expanding the meaning of concert with multi-disciplinary events like their “New Year’s Revolution” event closing down 2023 at Garver Feed Mill. They are back with “Interdependence Day,” a two-part blowout at the Bur Oak. The afternoon is outdoors (and free), with music by Def Sonic, FlowPoetry, Hannah & Noa, Old Oaks, Lukie P and M Shays, food, and a visual artist showcase. The party moves indoors at 7:30 p.m., featuring sets by the hosts, Free Dirt and Please! Tickets at

Madlen Breckbill, Micah Behr + Nolan Veldey, Saturday, July 6, Token Creek Chamber Music Barn, 5 p.m.: The program title for this Token Creek concert succinctly describes what listeners will hear: “Sonatas for Viola: Two World Premieres.” The new works were commissioned by violist Madlen Breckbill, a UW-Madison graduate who has played orchestral and chamber music around the world and closer to home, along with founding the Stoughton Chamber Music Festival. The premiering sonatas were written by Micah Behr and Nolan Veldey, and each will accompany Breckbill on his composition. Tickets at

The Stolen Sea album release, Saturday, July 6, Bierock, 7:30 p.m.: The members of the music and art collective The Stolen Sea have been busy in recent times, with at least four new LPs worth of recordings out or on the way soon. Released in June was a cassette incarnation of the debut by Medlén (a duo of Stolen Sea members Nate Meng and Hanna Edlén). And The Voyager’s Companion, the first album of a three-part song cycle called “The Stolen Sea Tell Tall Tales,” will be celebrated at this release show (the album is available on streaming services). And that’s not all the folk-rockers have been up to; keep an eye out for more projects at

Waco Brothers, Sunday, July 7, Bur Oak, 7:30 p.m.: Waco Brothers is a long-running Chicago project featuring British punk-rocker Jon Langford (Mekons). Even as the alt-alt-country rock songs maintain a punk rock smolder, Langford is just as happy going full cowpoke. Rolling Stone has described Waco Brothers as “Clash meets Cash.” Langford will open his own show in a duo with Alice Spencer (of Bright Shiners, another Langford project) before a crazy musical menagerie known as Suitcase Junket (Matt Lorenenz) plays the middle set. Tickets at

Interlay EP release, Sunday, July 7, High Noon Saloon, 8 p.m.: Since forming in 2018, Madison quartet Interlay has blended a variety of guitar-rock side roads (shoegaze, grunge, goth) and honed a distinctive sound of their own, made instantly recognizable by the evocative vocals of Alexandria Ortgiesen. The group built some well-deserved buzz with their 2020 EP, Cicada, followed by a few equally worthy singles. A new EP, Hunting Jacket, will be celebrated at this show, and the singles released in June, “Medic” and “Virgin Mary” are both bangers. With Cult of Lip, High, Gash. Tickets at

Nuill, Sunday, July 7, Mickey’s Tavern, 10 p.m.: Milwaukee hardcore funsters Holy Shit! (if you don’t know them, the exclamation point is well deserved) have made some tours to Japan in recent years. This summer they are hosting a band from Japan for a tour: Nuill, a Hiroshima group whose recorded work is played as hard and fast as seems possible. If you are stretching the long holiday weekend to the last second, this is the show that will punch Monday morning in the face. Also on the bill are Madison punks Mail Manipulators and garage dwellers Hypnic Jerks, along with Tea Eater on tour from Brooklyn, New York. Note, Holy Shit! is not playing this final date on the tour.

Find the individual Picks collected here, and as part of the full calendar of events.

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