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Hundreds of local performances to jam out in Wisconsin as part of global Make Music Day

23 communities statewide are participating in the celebration this Friday

A band plays guitars at the Beloit Farmer's Market
Local Beloit band Nick & Friends is expected to play during Make Music Day on June 21, 2024. Band members play at the Beloit Farmers Market in this photo. From left to right: Johnny Wittnebel, Voodoo Mike, Greg Gerard and Nick Dimassis. Photo courtesy of Moments by Tiki.

Hundreds of free musical performances will take place across Wisconsin on Friday, June 21 to celebrate the world’s largest annual music event. 

Make Music Day was launched in France in 1982, and it is now held on the same day in more than 1,000 cities in 120 countries, according to the Make Music Day website. In Wisconsin, 23 communities are slated to participate this year.

Each year, an open invitation goes to all musicians — amateur and professional — to reimagine “their cities and towns as stages,” according to a news release from Create Wisconsin, an organizer of the Wisconsin event.

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Beloit is participating for its second year. Local band Nick & Friends is expected to play. The band only plays original music, and therefore it rotates band members.

Founder and lead singer Nick Dimassis said on WPR’s “Wisconsin Today” his band appreciates how Make Music Day is about community. 

“People forgive a world of musical sins if you look like you’re having a good time,” Dimassis said. “If you try too hard that is when you might get discouraged and get nervous. Just get out there and do it.” 

Here’s a taste of what Make Music Day will look like across Wisconsin. 


Superior: In Superior, Friday kicks off Make Music Day and Porchfest — a summer-long series that features performers playing on a person’s front porch. Porchfest continues every other Thursday through September.

Chequamegon Bay: This is the first year the La Pointe township on Madeline Island in Lake Superior is participating in Make Music Day. Peggy Ross, the board chair of the La Pointe Center for the Arts, said any municipality — large or small — can participate. 

“Take the talents and opportunities that you have within your own community, and it’s fun,” she said. 

Starting at 10:30 a.m. Friday, a kazoo and instrumental band will travel with passengers on the ferry between Bayfield and Madeline Island. Then, musical events will continue throughout the day. 

Other participating communities in northwest Wisconsin include Barron, Cable, Eau Claire and Spooner-Shell Lake.


Land O’Lakes: Land O’Lakes is one of the smaller Wisconsin communities participating in the event. It has a population of fewer than 1,000 people. The town is offering a “music crawl” because the performance venues are so close together. Participants can walk from place to place. Local singer and guitarist Jon Franke is expected to perform at 10 a.m. Friday. 

Other participating communities in northcentral Wisconsin include Marshfield and Stevens Point.


Appleton: In addition to performances, Make Music Appleton will include a sensory-friendly music-making workshop and a dance workshop that is led by the Broadway touring production of Moulin Rouge. 

From 11:05 to 11:50 a.m., there will be an introduction to mariachi, where the audience can learn from Jando Valdez. He leads the Lawrence University Mariachi Ensemble.

From 4 to 5 p.m., local guitar and voice teacher Katie DeNure will lead a “ukulele jam,” where all ages and skill levels are welcome. 

Other participating communities in northeast Wisconsin include Green Bay and Oshkosh.  


Madison: Madison began participating in Make Music Day in 2013. A nonprofit group, Make Music Madison, now organizes the city’s celebration each year. In 2023, the city had the highest level of participation in North America with 196 venues, 621 concerts and more than 1,500 musicians in one day, according to the nonprofit.

The nonprofit also has an anthem written and performed by Madison artist Corey Whitmore. 

Beloit: Nick & Friends is expected to play at 7 p.m. Friday at The Castle. 

Other participating communities in southwest Wisconsin include: Cambridge, DeForest, Middleton, Monona, Sun Prairie, Platteville and Waunakee


Kenosha: This is Kenosha’s fourth year participating in Make Music Day. The city will hold a block party with a series of stage performances by local artists including Malcolm Wright Music. 

Milwaukee: Milwaukee is expecting dozens of performances around the city, including the launch of a 112-foot hot air balloon over Veterans Park. The balloon, called “Baby You,” is in the shape of a sleeping newborn meant to represent people’s potential “that’s waiting to be awakened, unlimited and endless as the sky,” according to the Przekrój Foundation.