Orton Park Festival: August 24-27, 2017

Orton Park Festival, one of the country’s longest-running outdoor music festivals, takes place a few blocks off Williamson St. in the heart of Madison’s east side. This MNA-sponsored event is known for great music, an array of terrific vendors from local restaurants and businesses, kids games, an elegant Jazz Brunch, a rather quirky auction, and a magical aerial trapeze performance under one of the park’s great oaks.

This is a very supportive residential area, but please bus, walk or bike to the event if possible. We are very dependent on beverage sales to keep this festival free, so we ask you to refrain from bringing carry-ins. OPF is handicapped-accessible and free to the general public… but not to pets.

The festival raises funds through corporate sponsorship, donations and concessions. Funds enable MNA to achieve our goals and mission.

Volunteer opportunities will be posted soon. Food and non-food vendor spots have been filled. Check back for a list of the great restaurants and businesses participating this year.


With more than a half century under its belt, Orton Park Festival is well practiced at delivering a high-end array of local, regional and national acts, and this year is no exception.

Cycropia Aerial Dance kicks off the four-day festival with a performance from under the park’s great bur oak on Family Night, Thursday, August 24th. They go on at 7:30 pm, following the 5:30 pm pizza and ice cream social.  

Gold Dust Women (Amber Rahn photo)

Gold Dust Women (Amber Rahn photo)

The music lineup starts at 5:15 pm on Friday with Madison’s own Better Yeti. This funk cooperative features the BBQ Boys horn section and fun, tongue in cheek lyrics. Catch the Better Yeti before they catch you! Next up, NYC transplant Meghan Rose returns to Madison to reprise the popular Fleetwood Mac tribute band Gold Dust Women along with local rockers Ginny Kincaid, Ellie Erickson, Shawndell Marks and Kelly Maxwell. “Go Your Own Way,” “Don’t Stop,” “You Make Loving Fun,” “Dreams” and “The Chain”… we’ll see you on the dance floor for all the favorites. Friday evening ends with another magical performance by Cycropia at 8:30 pm.

Shangri-las. Shirelles. Supremes. Saturday’s lineup begins with the muses of Girls Are Go!, a collection of Madison musicians playing ‘60s girl group classics along with hidden gems of the era. They go on at 11:45 am. Nitty gritty, soulful rock ‘n rollers, Wrenclaw, take the stage at 1:15 pm, blending their country harmonies and slithery slide guitars to create a down-home, backwoods soul shakedown. At 2:45 pm welcome back to Madison 21 year-old singer songwriter Gabe Burdulis. After winning multiple MAMAs and two Launchpad Les Paul awards, Burdulis (described as “a more country John Mayer”) relocated to Nashville in 2014 and has been touring with his duo Future Stuff. At 5 pm enjoy the soulful alt-country sounds of Appleton up-and-comers, DUSK.

Alejandro Escovedo headlines Saturday

Alejandro Escovedo headlines Saturday

At 6:30 pm, prepare to fall hard for the bold, animated, and perfectly weird Diane Coffee (a.k.a. Shaun Fleming), former Disney voice actor and touring drummer for the band Foxygen, whose glam rock alter ego is as entertaining as it is thought provoking. Taking his name from Diana Ross and a song called “Mr. Coffee” by a young accordion player named Nathan Pelkey, Diane Coffee delivers an eclectic mix of elements: garage rock, Motown, soul, folk-pop and glam, to name a few.

Renowned songwriter, singer, true believer, Alejandro Escovedo makes his first visit to Orton to close the Saturday lineup. In a trailblazing career that began with The Nuns, San Francisco’s famed punk innovators, to the Austin-based-based alt-country rock pioneers, Rank & File, to Texas bred darlings, True Believers, through countless all-star collaborations and tribute album appearances and finally a series of beloved solo albums beginning with 1992’s acclaimed Gravity, Escovedo seems just made for the Orton crowd. He goes on at 8:15 pm.

Catch SOULMEN at the Jazz Brunch

Catch SOULMEN at the Jazz Brunch

For Sunday’s Jazz Brunch we’re bringing back the outstanding hip hop/neo soul band SOULMEN, before Madison loses some of these young musicians to college. Set your alarm clock; the brunch opens at 9 am and the line forms quickly.

Warming up the Orton stage at noon on Sunday we have The Viper and His Famous Orchestra, a band known for delivering a powerful blend of street-corner jazz, front-porch country, and meeting-hall agitprop. At 1:30 pm, Madison’s own Low Czars come on to cover songs both oft-requested and generally neglected from the ’50s through what seems like only yesterday — rock, roll, and all points in between, with lots of guitars, lots of singers, and one solid rhythm section. At 3:00 pm local favorite the Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Band returns to the festival, bringing classic Latin jazz music is reminiscent of the 1950s and ‘60s.

Next up, Jane Lee Hooker, a band of five women from New York City who infuse the grit and attitude of their hometown into the blues. With double lead guitars, a hard-driving rhythm section, and soul-scouring vocals, JLH honors the likes of Muddy Waters, Howlin’ Wolf, Johnny Winter, Big Mama Thornton, and other blues greats. Few bands today deliver the goods with as much raw soul as JLH. Catch them at 4:30 pm.

Davina & The Vagabonds

Davina & The Vagabonds close Orton Sunday

We wrap up Orton this year with a group that has created a stir on the national music scene with their high-energy live shows, level A musicianship, sharp-dressed professionalism, and commanding stage presence. Davina & The Vagabonds come to us just off a European tour, with a new spin on old sound that has influences ranging from Fats Domino and the Preservation Hall Jazz Band to Aretha Franklin and Tom Waits. Don’t miss this unique performance.

As always, Orton Park Festival will feature a number of terrific local restaurant vendors, as well as craft beer and wine tents. Kids games, the cake walk and the ever-popular MNA auction (Saturday only) will return as well. The event is FREE – but please, no dogs or carry-ins.

See you at the park!

For updates, connect with the Orton Facebook page.

Here’s the festival schedule:

Thursday, 8/24
Pizza and Ice Cream Social 5:30 pm
Cycropia Aerial Dance 7:30 pm
Friday, 8/25
Better Yeti 5:35 pm
Gold Dust Women (Fleetwood Mac tribute band) 7:00 pm
Cycropia Aerial Dance 8:30 pm
Saturday, 8/26
Girls Are Go! 11:45 am
Wrenclaw 1:15 pm
Gabe Burdulis 2:45 pm
MNA Auction 4:00 pm
DUSK 5:00 pm
Diane Coffee 6:30 pm
Alejandro Escovedo 8:15 pm
Sunday, 8/27
Jazz Brunch with SOULMEN 9:00 am
The Viper and His Famous Orchestra, Noon
Low Czars 1:30 pm
Orton Cake Walk (in the game tent) 2:30 pm
Tony Castañeda Latin Jazz Band 3:00 pm
Jane Lee Hooker 4:00 pm
Davina & The Vagabonds 5:45 pm

Big thanks to our partners!

Orton Park Festival remains free and fabulous thanks to generous support from these community businesses and individuals:

Willy St. Co-op
Solidarity Realty, LLC
Overture Center for the Arts
Heartland Credit Union
Capital Brewery
Wisconsin Distributors
Dane Arts
Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream
RP’s Pasta Company
The Alchemy
The Barrymore Theatre
The Bock Corporation
Jatinda Cheema
Glass Nickel Pizza
The Harmony Bar
Heitke & Vu, DDS, Ltd.
Herrick & Kasdorf Law Offices
The Kathman/Queen Family Foundation
Lauer Real Estate Group
Lazy Jane’s Cafe
MadCat Pet Supplies
Mad Gael Productions
The Madison Greenhouse Store
Mickey’s Tavern
Prime Urban Properties
Research Products
Restoration Cider
Mark Saunders
Robert J. Sawicki, CPA/Innovative Financial, Inc.
SRO Artists
Star Liquor
TDS Custom Construction
Tinnen Family Chiropractic
Tip Top Tavern
United Way of Dane County
Weary Traveler Free House 


Food Vending Policy 2016
Additional questions about vending, performing or attending the festival? Contact Katherine Davey at katherine_davey@yahoo.com