2018 People Fest Artist
America's Rock n Roll band - The Blackfoot Gypsies fuse their influences -- swamp blues cool, downhome hillbilly funk and homegrown punk panache -- into a lean, mean machine invoking such classic musical malcontents as the Rolling Stones, the Faces and Mott the Hoople, while sparking and spitting 21st-century fire. It's the type of record that could only come from a band that learned to rock the old-fashioned way -- one sweaty, full-throttle live performance at a time.
One of the staples of Madison's vibrant music scene, The People Brothers Band has been spreading their brand of Rhythm and Soul around the Upper Midwest for nine years. Currently working on their second studio album, the band is known for energetic live shows and ability to connect with the audience. They are the winners of the Wisconsins Area Music Industry Award for 2014 Soul/R&B Band of the Year and the Madison Area Music Award for 2015 Pop/R&B Album of the Year (Middle of the In Between), 2013 Blues Album of the Year (People Brothers Live) & Blues Song of the Year (Looky Here Mister).
The One Man Entertainment System, otherwise known as Heatbox, has been emerging in the Minneapolis music scene (“the 612”) for the better part of a decade. From rocking crowds in his humble beginnings with the Root City Band to selling out shows across the country, Heatbox’s unparalleled crossover between Motown, A cappalla, R&B, Hip Hop, Soul and Funk has gained National attention from both fans and the media alike.
Creating beats and building songs from the ground up, Heatbox uses a Boss LoopStation RC-50 and a DigiTech Vocal 300 to create his songs. Recording each part as he goes, Heatbox’s music is live and in the moment. Using no tracks, samples, or pre-recorded music, each song and performance is distinctly unique.
The story goes that the Big Wu, bound for rock stardom, sold their souls for a case of Old Style beer one thirsty night long ago. The legend and the band live on. Still rocking their powerful, moving, and energizing original music for the fans. A jam band with a unique style and presence, the Wu combine strong, free flowing improv and vocal harmonies, with finely crafted songs for all tastes. Oh, and their fans are famously friendly.
WheelHouse is a nationally touring Americana and bluegrass band hailing from Madison, Wisconsin. As a full-time working band they perform over 220 shows per year and have garnered attention from national labels. Featuring three and four part harmonies, fiddle and guitar leads, and driving rhythm of the upright bass WheelHouse brings an energy and attitude unique to themselves. WheelHouse also owns their own brand of whiskey appropriately named WheelHouse Whiskey, which can be found throughout southwestern Wisconsin.
Old Shoe is a five-piece Americana Roots Rock band based out of Chicago, Illinois. Made up of talented songwriters from across the country, hailing from as far away as Alaska, the band’s compositions paint a diverse landscape of American life.
The band’s new album Family is not merely another notch in the belt for the Old Shoe, but is more so a poignant culmination of their growth and progress since the last release in 2011. Family went on to be selected as the Best of 2013 Local Album by AAA radio station, 93.1FM WXRT. They also rounded the Midwest festival circuit at high-profile events like Summer Camp, Wakarusa, Harvest Fest, and Phases of the Moon and opened for Grammy-award winning Bruce Hornsby, Leftover Salmon, Keller Williams, and Greensky Bluegrass and even produced 6 consecutive installments of their own festival, Shoe Fest.The all-original 13-track release showcases the band’s diverse influences, ranging from bluegrass to prog-rock to jazz, with it all settling into a familiar comfort zone akin to one’s favorite “old shoe.” The album reaches new heights from previous releases with a star-studded guest roster featuring musicians from the Henhouse Prowlers, The Low Down Brass Band, and Chicago’s production of The Jungle Book.
Chicago Farmer, the moniker Bloomington, Illinois’ Cody Diekhoff performs and writes under, is set to independently release his 7th album titled Midwest Side Stories on September 30, 2016. Midwest Side Stories is about hope, depression, job loss, meth, skateboards, a divided nation, used cars, the late shift, farms, factories, the destruction of our environment, and still being around to sing about it. The new release contains ten tracks all of which were written by Diekhoff (pronounced dee-cough), with the exception of the John Hartford classic “I’m Still Here”. Lyrically driven, Chicago Farmer delves into the social and political issues of today’s world, taking it all in and putting it back through music as a commentary on modern times in the Midwest. With his unfeigned and relatable approach, Chicago Farmer has earned a place in the heart of his generation’s rise of protest songs. He composes music written and sung by and for the working class, the “regular person”, bringing to mind modern day folk tales.
Musically sprouted from the blend of American folk, country, rock-n-roll, and blues, Erik Koskinen and his top-shelf band realize a sound that is distinctive.
Frogleg is a fresh young band out of Minneapolis. Since their first show in late 2012, a major buzz about the band Frogleg has been spreading throughout the Midwest music scene stemming from their ever-growing weekly tradition, “Frogleg Thursdays @ Bunkers” in downtown Minneapolis. With the Frogleg closing the book on this chapter of their musical path, they are setting their sights on more cities outside of their current circuit.
The band has now headlined shows at most of the major venues in Minneapolis from the Cabooze to the Skyway Theatre downtown as well as an appearance on the First Avenue mainroom stage. Frogleg has shared the stage with the Steven Tyler, Jeff Austin Band, New Orleans Suspects, Devon Allman, Orgone, Raw Oyster Cult, Samantha Fish, Allie Kral, Robert Randolph and has multiple dates with Melvin Seals and the Jerry Garcia Band.
Known for their songwriting and improvisational live performances, this seven piece would be best described as a soul band, as their influences are not drawn from one specific genre. A typical Frogleg show will usually features a unique blend of Funk, Reggae, Rock, Jazz and Bluegrass.
Frogleg’s debut, self-titled album was met with much excitement last year, selling out their first pressing in under six months. The band is back in the studio working up their follow up release. They’ve brought in local heavy weights Rob Genedak and Jimmy Anton as co-producers. The album is tentatively scheduled for a spring release. Despite being a 7 piece band, they have not shied away from taking this show on the road. With national tours filling out 2017, active work in the studio on their follow up album, Frogleg is showing no signs of slowing down. Do yourself a favor and go see a Frogleg show!
Jaedyn James & The Hunger is a 11 piece, raw funk, rock n roll, soul band who burst onto the Minneapolis music scene in the fall of 2014.
Consumed by her passion Jaedyn James was determined to assemble a group of collaborative musicians who could cultivate music, acceptance, and empowerment. The Hunger is built on a foundation of friendship, honesty, and respect. This tantalizing group of weirdos has performed in warehouses, dive bars, and elite jazz clubs. No stage too small. No dance floor too sticky. The band loves to play.
The Hunger brings the heat; Jaedyn James, the fiery sparkplug- ignites her band and audiences. It’s obvious when seen live, JJ&TH takes their fun very seriously. In fact, you are expected to dance at a Hunger show. Self expression is encouraged, laughing is inevitable, standing still and staring at your phone is not option. #Stayhungry
Armchair Boogie formed in the winter of 2014 as a banjo and guitar duo. After playing a handful of shows as a romp-stomp’in toe-tapp’in duo, Augie Dougherty (banjo) and Ben Majeska (guitar) recruited a well versed rhythm section to hold down the upbeat tempos and provide an extra oomph that’ll bring even saddest uncle to a dance floor. Drums and bass were destined to join the Boogie. This happened in October 2015; and In the few short months since then the Boogie boys have been busy performing, booking, and have just begun recording their first album.
Even though Armchair Boogie is young, their unique brand of bluegrass is true to the genre’s roots and has already landed them shows with Dead Horses, 2nd Strings, and Horseshoes & Hand Grenades. Armchair Boogie performed as special guests at The Sentry Theater’s holiday show in December, 2015. If you can get up and dance, you’ll enjoy a time with Armchair Boogie.
Wurk is an up-and-coming funk-fusion group from Madison, Wisconsin. Isthmus Magazine described the band as “summer-jam-perfect”. Wurk’s style encompasses several genres, with clear influences from bands like Snarky Puppy, Thundercat, Umphrey’s McGee, Tauk, The Motet, Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, The Meters, and many more. Their sound seeks to employ a musically educated yet groovy “Big City” tone.
In a world where words like “legend” get thrown around entirely too lightly, it's good to know that there are a few people still worthy of the word's original intent. And when it comes to music in Iowa, Joe Price stands as one of the art's legendary practitioners.
Armed with a joyous, disarming demeanor and the ability to play the doors off most anyone else in the room, Price has opened for the likes of Iris Dement and John Lee Hooker, while Iowa's own Greg Brown calls Price “the Buddha.” Brown isn't alone in his praise, as a litany of Iowa musicians list Price as one of their influences.
Price's reputation was cemented in the 1970's, when he spent the latter half of the decade as part of Mother Blues, one of the greatest and most heavily influential Iowa blues bands of all time. It was a time when Price was playing nearly non-stop, and developed the style that has made him such a memorable performer.
And make no mistake, Price certainly is memorable. Head down while he plays, big ball cap covering his eyes from the crowd while he plies his trade, feet tapping out the time as his hands work those six strings like their on autopilot. Price isn't the kind of artist you “think” you've seen play; once you've been taken to church by that slide, it stays with you.
But no man lives by bread alone, and Price has two great loves in his life. It's the rare man that gets to mix two passions together and make a life out of it, but Vicki Price makes that easy. The pair married in 1987, but Vicki had been holding her own in the wilds of small-town Iowa before then. Her guitar playing has more structure to it than Joe's, while her voice provides a good deal of their songs fire.
Bold and brassy when she wants to be, Vicki's voice has elicited visions of Loretta Lynn or June Carter, but she's able to get far bluesier than any of her most obvious comparisons. This duo is far more than the sum of their impressive parts: it is when these two take the stage together that the genuine magic happens.
Joe's deep love and admiration for his wife is obvious from the moment she joins him on stage—something that can happen at any point during a set; he beckons her with “You Are My Sunshine”—and the amount of fun they clearly have performing with one another elevates their performances, transforming them from something that blues purists and guitar fans can appreciate, into something that everyone with ears and a love of life can understand and tap along to.
The couple released a slew of solo CD'son seminal Iowa label Trailer Records, including “25 Below” (Joe, 1996), “Mississippi Summer” (Vicki, 1998), “Request” (Joe, 1999), “Designated Drive” (Joe, 2000) and “Looking for Love” (Vicki, 2005). After Trailer closed up shop, the pair released 2008's “A Brand New Place” and 2009's “Rain or Shine” independently. The latter two albums were both lavished with critical praise, but the pair may have just saved their best work for their most recent album, “Night Owls.” Featuring both Joe and Vicki throughout, “Night Owls” is the Price's music at its fullest, most memorable and most fun.Whether you are seeing them for the first time or the 100th, whether it's live or via one of their albums, experiencing Joe and Vicki Price is an experience worth having, worth sharing, and easy to love. Chad Taylor
A fusion of highly danceable rock, intricate song craftsmanship and psychedelic funk. Set out to make every show inspiring. Imagine going to a double matinee showing of Led Zeppelin & P-Funk at Dream Theater and then heading to an Amsterdam discotheque to dance until the sun came up. That's about as close as can be described without seeing Soap for yourself.
Porky's Groove Machine is the intergalactic ambassador of Wisconsin’s silliest nerd funk. Since forming in the fall of 2011 in Appleton, we’ve spent five years playing around Wisconsin, toured the Midwest and East Coast twice, even opening for Guster at Indianapolis’s Old Egyptian Room! With a three-piece horn section and percussionist on top of a traditional rock rhythm section, our mature musicality but not-so-mature humor has been described by Julian Loida of Bloomington, Indiana's WIUX as "the vibe of the B-52's and the Flaming Lips combined with the sound of Phish, G. Love and Special Sauce, and New Orleans music." Releases include our 2016 presidential campaign platform, “Make America Funk Again”, "Magic Brunch" (May 2014) and "This Would Be A Great Present For My Grandma” (2011). We're launching into 2017, ready to get sillier than ever before. We're proud to have joined the Omni Arts family, and are ready to take our brand of nerd funk to audiences across the region, nation, and cosmos!
Madison, WI based funk band specializing in partying hard.
Moonhouse plays a diverse mix of original and cover tunes. You will always have fun at a Moonhouse show. You will always feel loved at a Moohouse show. You will always feel touched at a Moonhouse show and you will always leave a Moonhouse show a better person than you came in.
McNasty Brass Band is a collection of Minneapolis/Saint Paul based horn players and percussionists that fuse the Minneapolis sound with the spirit of New Orleans. The outcome of this fusion is hard-hitting dance music and high-energy live shows.
Freshwater bluegrass & Americana from the twin ports of Duluth, MN and Superior, WI. Using a bluegrass instrumentation BRR has crafted their own sound made up of mostly original music which can be heard on their debut album "Garbage Pickin" (released in April of 2013). Their sophomore album "Spring Thaw" (released June 2014) added another year of songwriting and live performance experience to their sound. Five years of touring, personnel change, and personal growth has inspired a third record "Just Can't Win" (released September 2017) Just Can't Win has had radio play worldwide and has charted on independent and college radio states across the United States.
Get ready to dance. Period.
Old Soul Society is a Wisconsin based group rooted in Americana with branches into Folk, Rock, Soul, Blues & more.
Old Soul Society’s focus on the craft of songwriting is displayed in the rich, textured musical layers they create to underscore songwriter Derek Ramnarace’s emotionally raw, honest and heartfelt lyrics. These details combine into a powerfully stirring live performance that has been winning over audiences everywhere.
Eight friends hungry for a little something funky, The Civil Engineers brings ride their Madison-based high-intensity groove machine of funk, rock and soul throughout the Midwest, entertaining Madison, Milwaukee, La Crosse, Rochester, Appleton, and Chicago.
Folksinger Stanton West sees the world from the perspective of a six and a half foot tall, left-handed, freckle-faced, red-head. Realizing he would never quite fit the mold, he embraced his uniqueness, picked up a right-handed guitar and started playing it upside-down. This was his first break from creative structures and limitations.
Stanton West songs are rootsy, feel-good, and groove driven. His songs are about hope, having fun, being who you are, and relishing the moment. He is an award-winning songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and world traveling troubadour spreading a message about the importance of family, community, nature, and positivity.
For over 20 years The Freaks Of Nature have been laying down the groove. They first played together in 1998. While jamming in a living room one of the band members kids walked through holding a sign calling them Freaks Of Nature, and so it began. They are a joyful, raucous celebration of the vibe that emanates from this sacred Driftless area. They make music that makes you glad to be alive culling from Rock, Funk, Soul, Blues, Dub and much more. The Freaks Of Nature love to jam and follow the groove wherever it may take them. They are a 7 piece band hailing from the heart of Wisconsin’s Driftless area. Freak Out!!!
An original blend of Rock & Bluegrass. Smokin' Bandits have been a staple on a powerful Midwest music scene for nearly a decade with their high-energy form of original music dubbed "Grass n' Roll." With a catalog of original material mixing influences ranging from Willie Nelson to The Allman Brothers Band, Little Feat to Leftover Salmon, the band brings a powerhouse performance each time they take the stage sure to make you move, shake, and promising for every show to be one of different form. Forming as a string band in La Crosse, WI in 2003, the Bandits electrified in 2004 to form a sound that is uniquely theirs but reaches to music lovers of all different genres and generations
Bluegrass. Contemporary tones blend with traditional roots in Milwaukee’s unparalleled Chicken Wire Empire
Since their formation in 2014, the Chicken Wire Empire has wasted little time establishing themselves as one of the hottest up and coming bands in the local and regional music scene.
Natty Nation’s unique pedigree of a Midwest home base and artistic openness has helped the posse foster a signature sound. The group describes themselves as hard roots rock reggae because in addition to their honest and authentic roots reggae foundation, their embrace of soul, rock, and funk is undeniable. Natty Nation is also influenced by such diverse geniuses as Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, Living Colour, Earth Wind and Fire, Fishbone, and Bad Brains. Since 1995, Natty Nation has had fluid membership of esteemed and visionary musicians. Currently, Natty Nation is led by JAH Boogie – bass / lead vocals (also percussion and drums in the studio), musical director Aaron Konkol – keyboards, vocals, and melodica, Chris Di Bernardo — drums, Nick Czar — guitar, and finally Captain Smooth — live dub engineer.
A VERY SPECIAL THANK YOU TO OUR 2018’S SPONSORS