With Halloween just around the corner, it’s time to start planning for the perfect way to celebrate this spooky holiday. Lucky for you, Madison offers plenty opportunities for you to show off costumes you’ve pinned onto your Pinterest board since before last Halloween. Freakfest has been the largest Halloween party in the area since 2006, and it offers some of the best music for you to dance the night away. Keep reading to get all the details behind this year’s lineup.
Mountain Dew Capitol Stage – State Street
1. DJay Mando: 7:30-8:10 p.m. and between sets
A familiar face to some, this performer is the resident DJ at the popular nightclub Liquid. He has been voted the #1 Local DJ and the #1 DJ in the Madison Region by Reverbnation, a company that connects artists with events to help them launch their careers. It’s likely that his set will be well attended by his local fans, and he is sure to keep you moving all night long.
Clyde Stubblefield All Stars: 8:15-9:00 p.m.
This band is devoted to paying tribute to Clyde Stubblefield, a talented drummer who played with musical greats like James Brown. The band is headed by another talented drummer, Joey B. Banks, who is also a musical director and Grammy nominee. The passion this band has for their music will draw crowds to listen to lively beats and complicated rhythms.
Kweku Collins: 9:15-10:00 p.m.
The unique story behind this 20-year-old from Chicago is enough to make him a big name at this year’s festival. Since a young age, his dream was to become a professional skateboarder. However, he came to realize that music has been his true calling — he has been singing into makeshift microphones ever since he could remember. With a fresh voice and youthful energy, Collins is sure to capture ears from even the farthest ends of State Street.
George Clinton Parliament Funkadelic: 10:30 p.m.-Midnight
This is one of the more experienced groups in the lineup. The lead of this band, George Clinton, has been performing since the ’50s. The name may seem a bit confusing, but it comes with a story to match: Clinton rebranded the group several times under different names since its origin. He’s coming to play for Madison with a mix of all of them.
DRAM: 12:30-1:30 a.m.
This name might ring a bell, because it belongs to the rapper behind “Broccoli,” the double platinum song that features Lil Yachty. This song also spent some time at the top of multiple rap songs charts. Other notable additions to this young artist’s resume are his tour appearances with Chance the Rapper and Kanye West. Considering DRAM is associated with names like that, it would be wise to take advantage of the opportunity to see this big act for a small price.
Steve Brown Apartments/Green Cab/Z104 Stage – Gilman Street
Bird’s Eye: 7:30-8:00 p.m.
This band is full of fun and surprises! They have a funky hip-hop vibe, and they make their music all live with instruments. They also have a habit of bringing audience members on stage with them. If you enjoy this band after hearing them on the Oct. 28, you are in luck: the band plays monthly for events around the Madison area. It may be worth your time to check this group out — you might just be the lucky winner of your own minute of spotlight.
Mama Digdown’s Brass Band: 8:15-9:00 p.m.
These seven friends have been performing together for the last two decades to bring the sound of New Orleans’ brass band music to audiences around the country. This group is originally from Wisconsin and uses the state’s outline in place of the first “a” in their name. If you want a listening experience that goes beyond the Midwest, though, this would be the show for you!
The Main Squeeze: 9:15-10:00 p.m.
Having gotten their start on another Big Ten campus (Indiana), this group is used to playing for big parties. With a blend of soul and hip-hop, they have a sound that stands out from others in their genre. They have some impressive accomplishments under their belt: they have been championed by Randy Jackson, they have played at the famous Red Rocks Amphitheater, and they have been critiqued by Rolling Stone. Their goal is to reach people, so their unique vibe might just pull at your heartstrings.
MUTEMATH: 10:30-11:30 p.m.
This alternative rock band uses vintage guitars and electronic instruments, such as the keytar, to make its sweet sound. They have been together since 2002, when they first gathered in New Orleans. This group is often labeled as a Christian band; so if you were looking for a cleaner option for your fun Saturday night, this would be the music to turn to!
Trombone Shorty and Orleans Ave: Midnight-1:00 a.m.
The lead singer, who doubles as a trombone player, is the feature of this group. He started playing the trombone at the age of four and was performing by the age of eight. He has a laundry list of achievements, including five White House gigs, backing up Macklemore and Madonna at the Grammys and voicing the adult characters in the Peanuts movie. With a desire to bring unity through their music by incorporating different sounds, this group is a must-see.
WSUM/Ian’s Pizza Stage – Frances Street
Mr. Martin and the Sensitive Guys: 7:30-8:15 p.m.
This trio of friends from Stevens Point started in 2015. They classify themselves as indie punk rock and take turns on leading vocals. The group released their first album a year ago from this month. This band is great to check out if you want to appreciate homegrown talent from a fellow Wisconsin college town.
Nester: 8:45-9:30 p.m.
This Madison-based group of five got its start in 2008. Its cryptic lyrics and driving beats give a different twist to the modern experimental rock genre. They get most of their inspiration from bands like The Talking Heads and Radiohead. They might just make you nod your head when you catch them rocking out on stage.
The Begowatts: 10:00-10:45 p.m.
Self-termed as “21st century electric rock and roll,” this group of four Madison men plays a unique combination of modern Rock and Roll and ’70s grooves. They recently released their second album in September. This would be the band to check out if you are looking to enjoy a fresh twist on two of the classic movin’ and groovin’ styles!
Greenhaus: 11:15 p.m.- Midnight
Greenhaus rings in as the newest group in the lineup, as it was formed less than a year ago, in January. However, they have already been invited to perform at many events and have released their first record, which was written in two days by a member who wanted to release her melancholy of being away from home. As their music evolves, each member writes their own parts into the songs. This act is one to witness while you still can, as they are bound to be the next big thing in the Indie music scene.
Twelves: 12:30-1:30 a.m.
This band is returning to Madison to play for their home base after wrapping up their Midwest tour. They focus on noisy, angular rock music to give a thrilling stage performance. Although they have already completed their first album, they have yet to release it to the public. However, they do have tour-only CDs available. If you choose to jam with them, maybe you will walk away with their exclusive sounds.
With long lineup like this, there is sure to be something for everyone to enjoy. Although every Halloween comes with great memories, being with your friends and seeing all the best local bands can make this the best one yet. Additional information about this music party can be found on the Freakfest website. See you at Freakfest!