Madison Blues Society, Madison, Wisconsin Madison Blues Society, Madison, Wisconsin
Blues Picnic at Warner Park
photo by Dan Schilling

With great music and fun all day long, the Madison Blues Society will hold its 9th Annual Blues Picnic on Saturday, June  18, 2011 from 11:00AM to 9:00PM at Warner Park. You can enter at 2930 North Sherman Avenue or at 1625 Northport Drive. Head on back behind the parking lot to the shelter with the big colored drums and you'll find a lot of fun! This great event continues to be FREE! Everyone from the community and beyond can come and enjoy a fantastic day of music, food, drink, beer and fun in the sun!

We'll have another great lineup of music and there's plenty of room for dancing. There'll be ten hours of FREE MUSIC! If just hanging out is your style, there's also lots of room for blankets and chairs with shade under the trees. We'll have a variety of traditional and ethnic food vendors to give you lots of options for great eat and drink. And Capital Brewery will be back with their fine brews.

MBS owes huge thanks to the Dane County Cultural Affairs Commission for their continued support of the MBS Blues Picnic. They've come through for us year after year in support of this community event and we're glad to be able to team up and help keep Dane County the fine place it is.

Blues Picnic Crowd 2008
photo by Dan Schilling
The Blues Kids will be back!

Joe Nosek's Blues Kids are gonna be back again this year. This year, Joe and MBS are working with the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County. This great group of kids has been working hard in their own music program under the leadership of Joey B. Banks, well known local drummer, teacher and producer. This year we'll be hearing kids playing harp and drums, too. As always, the kids will be backed up by a first rate professional blues band - the Cash Box Kings. The Boys & Girls Club will be taking over the food vending for hot dogs, brats, soda and water this year, so you'll be seeing these kids at the park enjoying the picnic as well as playing the Blues!

Help spread the word!

We're getting the posters put up around town. You can help by printing out a few and getting them put up in your neighborhood. Just click the poster to get the full PDF file. You can also get quarter-page flyers HERE.

Check us out on FACEBOOK! List the 2011 Blues Picnic as an event on your FACEBOOK page and get the news out to everyone on your friends list.

Don't miss the Raffles!

We're keeping our Prize Raffle going this year to give blues fans plenty of chances to win! Pick up your tickets at the MBS tent and you might come home with a great prize! You can check out all the contributions from our great Blues Picnic supporters on the PRIZE LIST.

And a lot of folks love the 50/50 CASH RAFFLE. Tickets sold in the crowd at the Blues Picnic bring some very lucky winners a bundle of cash and help the Madison Blues Society keep bringin' you the blues.

And don't forget the Food Drive

You can help your community by bringing non-perishable food items for the Food Drive. This really helps out hungry people with donations to Lakeview Lutheran Church's food pantry. Last year we filled a pickup truck with food donations. Let's do it again! Drop off canned and dry goods in the marked crates at the entrance. Your help is really appreciated!

We've got another great bunch of Blues comin' at ya!

You'll want to be sure you know when your favorites are playing.
Of course, you could just stay all day and see them all!

The LOCAL BANDS will kick things off to a great start!

TANI DIAKITE (pronounced tan-NEE JAH-kee-tay) is a native of the Wassoulou region of Mali. He now lives with his American wife and their toddler in Madison. He grew up in a small village with earthen homes and thatched roofs. Instrumentally, Diakite plays a Kamele Ngoni, a stringed, long-neck gourd instrument that has been outfitted with an electronic pick-up made from old radio parts. The instrument's name means "young person's harp." His music is a mesmerizing mix of traditional melodies from Mali, blended with traditional American delta blues. He is also a wonderful vocalist with a warm, yet excitable tone. His performance is supported by a guitarist, bassist and percussionist.

Since Summer 2005, FEDORA has been working hard to perfect an original sound that still stays true to the roots of blues and rock n' roll. Having played nearly 75 shows in 2009 alone, the band is relentless in their desire to showcase their unique blend of oldies, blues, classic rock and ear-catching original material that combines elements of all three. Indeed, hardwork does pay off and the public has taken notice. This year, Fedora earned the opportunity to play four shows at Austin, Texas's coveted South By Southwest music festival, which showcases the world's best unsigned bands, as well as playing host to many of the most established names in music. Back home in Southern Wisconsin, the quartet was honored with a Madison Area Music Award for Blues Song of the Year, as well as three other nominations for the self-titled debut album, including Rock Album of the Year. Fueled by their unending desire to both create and perfect something new, the band is working out the final kinks in a plethera of new tunes slated to be released on their highly anticipated second album this Spring.

The BLUES KIDS bring terrific enthusiasm to Warner Park!
Joe's Blues Kids
photo by Dan Schilling

The BLUES KIDS have been a highly successful project of Joe Nosek of the Cash Box Kings for several years now. Joe has been working with community kids to teach Madison's youth about Blues music and start the next generation of Blues musicians.

This year, the BLUES KIDS had their training and practice sessions at the Boys & Girls Club of Dane County. They'll be back, singing, blowin' harp, and stampin' their feet backed up by the Cash Box Kings. The last few years, proud parents have attended the picnic, taking pictures, cheering on their kids and making it a great family event. The kids have a lot of fun on stage and the crowd always loves the show they put on!

The CASH BOX KINGS bring us Solid Chicago Blues!

When the kids finish their set, the CASH BOX KINGS will do their own set of real Chicago-style Blues in the spirit of the 1940's and 1950's post-war blues sound. The band showcases the music of Chess Records and Sun Records luminaries such as Little Walter, Muddy Waters, the Howlin' Wolf, and Big Walter Horton as well as lesser known artists such as Robert Nighthawk, Eddie Taylor, and Luther Huff. The Cash Box Kings also delve into the Mississippi Delta sounds of blues men like Charley Patton, Son House, Fred McDowell and R.L. Burnside. The group rounds off their musical offerings with a healthy dose of original music that captures the essence of the Memphis and Chicago blues sounds.

We're bringin' in a 2011 IBC Finalist this year, the ALEX WILSON BAND!

Alex Wilson is a Blues guitarist who picked up the guitar at five years old and never put it down. Immersed in the Milwaukee blues scene, Alex was surrounded, and influenced by such local luminaries as Stokes, Lee Gates, Jim Liban and Milwaukee Slim. Alex formed his own garage band at thirteen. By seventeen he began to dig deep into the blues, learning the songs and styles of masters such as Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Buddy Guy, Jimi Hendrix and Magic Sam. At seventeen Alex began playing professionally and by twenty-one he had joined Milwaukee's Blue Rubies and was performing regionally while still playing part-time with his own band. Playing up to 25 gigs a month, Wilson honed and sharpened his skills as a singer/songwriter, guitar player and over all entertainer.

The Alex Wilson Band went down to Memphis this past winter for the International Blues Challenge 2011. After 5 years and 5 Blues Challenge competitions, the band was finally passed the local barrier to compete against 130 Blues Challenge winning bands from all over the world. Although they did not come in the top 3, we did make make the Finals (only 8 bands!) and the only 3-piece band on stage in the Orpheum Theater. A major accomplishment and recognition for years of effort were finally achieved.

2010 Sidetracked Summer Blues Event Headliners

TANA DELONAY AND OUTSIDE THE BLUES will bring a great sound to Madison this summer. Tana fronts the band with an uncanny like ability and effortless vocal lines. The soloists in the group are some of the most experienced and sophisticated players in the midwest. When hearing this group the rhythmic groove will be overtaking as their music presents a distinctive listening pleasure.

Tana Delonay as captivating front lady to Outside the Blues, casts a spell on listeners with fluid melody and the tone of a morning dove. This young songstress was brought up in a family of musicians with roots deep in the blues. She is a dramatic artist well on her way to becoming the next R&B diva.

Top favorite again and again, year in year out!

WESTSIDE ANDY / MEL FORD BAND has been delivering the boogie to folks every Thursday night at the Hody Bar & Grill in Middleton for years now (as well as lots of other places!) and audiences have come to expect an outstanding experience every time they take the stage. With Barrelhouse Chuck on keys, this dynamic band really knows how to please.

From Westside Andy Bio, by R.C. Harris
"First off, for truth in advertising, I'm a totally biased fan of Westside Andy's harp playing. Been so since dirt was invented. More modern facts include that Hohner, Inc. lists him as an endorser alongside Rod Piazza, Toots Thielemans, & Corky Siegel, among many other great players. Those who know who these folks are, nothing further need be said. Turn the page.

"For those who haven't had that good fortune, know that these are giants on Planet Harmonica. Actually, Corky was one of Andy's most enthusiastic early mentors. In fact, the night they met during a Siegel/Schwall Blues Band set break, Corky asked him to sit in for the entire next set. Andy was 15.

"That may have been the galvanizing moment when the "Westside" story really started. Meaning thousands of gigs. Probably a million miles with a trunk full of gear, and how many late nights driving home in ice and snow in the groovy winters of Wisconsin where this blues bird resides. In the process, Andy has shared the stage with James Cotton, Luther Allison, Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, Charlie Musselwhite, Doobie Brothers, Richie Havens, Muddy Waters, Gary Primich, Jimmy Johnson, Tab Benoit, Hubert Sumlin. Ok, you get the idea. Not to mention his current long-time collaboration with Mel Ford, a blues guitarist/vocalist/songwriter of wide acclaim. And thus, the name of the band. The Westside Andy/Mel Ford Band. Like a winter night's drink. Neat and hot.

"But enough of this. Give a listen, and see if the boogie man don't dance."

The addition of Barrelhouse Chuck adds an extensive Blues background to the band. Barrelhouse Chuck is the only Chicago blues pianist to have studied under Sunnyland Slim, Pinetop Perkins, Blind John Davis, Detroit Junior and Little Brother Montgomery. Barrelhouse Chuck draws on this distinguished lineage to create a blues, boogie-woogie and barrelhouse piano style that places him at the forefront of this celebrated tradition. People like S.P. Leary, Smokey Smothers, Erwin Helfer and Little Brother Montgomery took Chuck under their wings, invited him into their homes and made him feel a part of their families. Chuck's connection with these and other great musicians combined leading to an outstanding international performer.

All put together, this band brings an experience that can't be beat. You'll feel the boogie creep up on you as your feet start tapping and the urge to get up and shake it becomes irresistible. You won't want to miss this! Be sure to BE THERE!

Winners will get food, fun and more!

Check out these great prizes! Tickets are mailed out to members and sold at the white Madison Blues Society tent. Only $10 or 3 for $25 and we put groups of prizes together so each prize is a big one!

Here's what's come in so far:

There's more comin' in all the time so check back to see what's new!

We'll have our usual great selection of food and drink!

Please help support our great vendors and KEEP THE PICNIC FREE!


Food Vendors

The Boys & Girls Club will provide hot dogs, brats, chips, candy, soda and water this year. Help out this great organization by stopping by their food stand!

We'll also have the great ethnic choices that Blues fans have come to know and love:

Plenty of Fine Brews

Don't miss all the great beers from Capital Brewery. We'll have cups and pitchers again so you can be well stocked for the day.


At the MBS Tent, we'll have BLUES MERCHANDISE for sale including MBS T-shirts with a great new design. This year we'll also have Picnic Posters for sale and we've still got a few more flashing beer mugs - a real crowd pleaser after dark! There'll be lots of Blues fans bringing something back home with them after a great day of music.

And if you haven't joined the Madison Blues Society, check out our membership packages. One-year single memberships are still only $15! MBS is bringing all you Madison area fans the Blues! Don't miss this great day!

And we'll have Akarim African Products bringing you all kinds of interesting goods from Africa

Listen in to GREAT BLUES on WORT-FM community radio!

We're continuing the promotional exchange with WORT-FM community radio this year. They'll be at the picnic and helping get the word out in the preceding weeks. Be sure to tune in for broadcast interviews with MBS "picnic people" and members of the picnic bands as well as lots of great Blues music.

Don't miss these WORT Blues Shows:

These great supporters bring you the Blues
Ho-chunk Gaming
Ho-chunk Gaming


Bringing us rewards for Blues Lovers!