Just wanted to take a moment and talk about some local venues in the Madison area.
This time of the year were fortunate enough to have a plethora of outdoor music venues to explore. One thing Madison does well every summer is music, over the last three or fours years the available shows has been outstanding and comparable to much larger metropolitan areas.
A few spots are highlighted below including paid and free events. Id also like to notate Maximum Ink, the only source for "homegrown" music expose, has an excellent section in the back outlining local/tri county and festival music events.
Maximum Ink "A Home Grown Music Magazine Since 1996"
WUD Music Presents (Wisconsin Union Directorate Music Committee) Free
Starting Every Thursday into Saturday evenings typically around 5PM they host a series of free concerts at the Rathskeller/Memorial Union Terrace and a few at The Sett. The Rathskeller also host easy going sessions Fridays 5-7PM. Check their Facebook and WUD links for updated listings.
I recommend showing up a little early if you want a table and chairs, otherwise their is plenty of side and lake front seating available. Local and afar Beers and icecream/food options are available in and out of the Memorial Union. This is a personal favorite, I caught the Isthmus Jazz Fest here with Susan Hoffer, the Sangria kicks ass too.
Live on King Street (Majestic and Local Sponsors) FREE
Live on King Street is a series of concerts hosted on King Street in downtown Madison starting June 26th and running through September 18th in the cast of the Capitol building. This is its 5th year hosting and growing bigger and better each year. I am incredibly excited to catch Benjamin Booker on September 18th. Remember their are at least 3 parking garages down there and the concerts are still FREE! I recommend a Beer at Pauls or Coffee at Michelangelo's prior :)
Sunset Music Series (East Side Club) $
The East Side has hosted an impressive line up already this summer and continues the tradition with an affordable lake side outdoor mashup. Starting at 5PM most events with music at 6PM, for most children and teens shows are free with nominal 6$ tickets for adults. Ample parking for the most part and they welcome bringing your own chairs or paddle up to the dock! Plenty of food and beverage options available for cart vendors as well.
Olbrich Gardens Summer Concert Series $
This is a relatively new series. Hosted at the world famous Olbrich Gardens on the West side. The grounds are a beautiful spot for concerts, arrive early to walk the paths and grab onsite parking. The offering is wide swatch from Jazz to Honky-Tonk at 7pm July 14th, 21st and 28th remaining. $1 minimum suggested donations and don't forget, bring a picnic and chairs or a blanket!