The summer landscapes of Driftless Wisconsin want to be set to music. Its deep river valleys and lofty ridge tops inspire a song that hits every note from base to tenor.
The Driftless Wisconsin region has long been known as a place that lifts your creative spirit. Whether it’s firing pottery, capturing landscapes, or carving wood; the hills give shape to your creation. And aim to your lyrics.
Summer finds many talented artists making music in Driftless Wisconsin. Add an enthusiastic crowd and you have an event you’ll be telling friends about when you get home. Better yet, bring them along.
July and August is prime time. It begins with the Stump Dodger Bash in Gays Mills on July 3 and 4. The Bash is a Country music spectacle held on the banks of the Kickapoo River at the Kickapoo Stump Dodger Campground. This year’s Saturday headliner is multi-platinum Blackhawk, a band that has spun out 12 top-ten hits and sold 7 million albums. Friday culminates with Jared Blake, a native of Arkansas who made his mark on the hit NBC show, “The Voice.” Six other bands perform throughout Saturday and Sunday.
On July 18, the Driftless Music Festival in Viroqua will kick off with its eclectic mix of performers, including Cris Plata with Extra Hot, Cajun Strangers, Chicago Afrobeat Project, and Bumpus. The evening closes with Mankwe Ndosi, who has worked stages in Chicago and the Twin Cities as “a musicmaker, performer, educator and culture weaver focused on sound, story, and expanding the vocabulary of singing.”
A different genre takes stage at the Prairie Dog Blues Festival in Prairie du Chien on July 31 – Aug 1. Twelve bands will perform over two days on this venue located on St. Feriole Island on the Mississippi River. The festival features “Chicago Blues to West Coast Jump, hard-driving Mississippi Hill Country Blues, New Orleans horns and Texas Boogie, Zydeco, Gospel, Blues Rock.” Girls with Guitars leads off on Friday, culminating on Saturday with Davy Knowles, former lead guitarist & vocalist for Back Door Slam.
The next weekend brings us full circle back to country music at the Country on the River Music Fest in Prairie du Chien on August 6 – 8. Now in its fifth year, the festival will include star performances by legendary Alabama, Jake Owen, and Dierks Bentley.
The music does not stop there. The fall will bring talented regional artists to the Driftless Area Art Festival on September 19 – 20, the Hillsboro Brewing Company’s Octoberfest on October 3, and other venues throughout the area. Just check out our calendar of events and sort on the music category to see the full slate. The hills and valleys of Driftless Wisconsin will reverberate with music this summer, lifting your spirits as only a song can.