Waterfront Festival, June 10- 11 2017

The Waterfront Festival takes place in Yahara Place Park. Yahara Place Park is nestled on the northern shore of Lake Monona near where it meets the Yahara River just a couple of blocks from Williamson St., Schenk’s Corner, and the O’Keeffe/Marquette school complex. This is a very supportive residential area but please bus, walk or bike to the event if possible. There will be bike racks and a bike livery provided by the Bike Federation. We are very dependent on beverage sales to keep this event free. So please no carry-ins other than water. The event is handicapped-accessible and free to the general public. Also we would like you to leave your pets at home.

The Waterfront Festival is an MNA event. It raises funds through corporate sponsorship, donations and concessions. Funds enable MNA to achieve our goals and mission.

Have questions about volunteering, vending, performing or sponsiring the 2017 festival? Contact Bob Queen:

Saturday Events

Saturday Morning – The DANDELION DASH!ddash

The 100 yard Kids’ Dandelion Dash starts off the Waterfront Festival. This neighborhood event is a great way to kick off Waterfront Festival and enjoy a beautiful summer morning by Lake Monona at Yahara Park.

Registration: to be announced

For more information about the Dandelion Dash visit the event’s Facebook page.

Music at the Main Stage on Saturday, June 10th:

Noon– Mal O Dua
1:30 pm– Edi Rey y Son Atlantico 
3:00 pm– Fareed Haque and The Flat Earth Ensemble
4:45 pm —- Les Poules a Colin (Quebec)
6:30 pm —  Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound

Click here for Main Stage performer bios & band info.

Music at the acoustic Cottonwood Stage Saturday, June 10th:

50 feet east of the Main Stage, we tried an acoustic stage three years ago and it was an immediate success. We named it The Cottonwood Stage that year and added a Sunday lineup for your pleasure this past summer. Talented and light hearted Bobby Batyko is booking this eclectic stage and he has assembled a formidable performer list once again. We’ve added some more food and drink vendors this coming season and more chairs for this stage to make The Cottonwood grounds a happening and comfortable scene.

11:45 am — Willy Street Chamber Players
1:00 pm — Bluegrass Jam with Sortin the Mail
2:30 pm — David Landau (Kids)
3:00 pm — Sortin the Mail (Bluegrass)
4:15 pm — Josh Harty (Americana)
5:45 pm — Fareed Haque (Jazz)

Click here for Cottonwood Stage performer bios and band info.

Sunday Events

On Sunday, June 11th things get started with The Fool’s Flotilla, sponsored by the River Alliance of Wisconsin.

This annual canoe parade dubbed “The Fools Flotilla” will flow with the current down the Yahara River.  It is always great fun and last year involved close to 200 decorated craft filled with intrepid musicians and paddlers. The canoe parade has really caught on and has become a much-anticipated, spectacular addition to our water-themed festival.

Participants should meet at 9:30 am at the Tenney boat launch parking lot along Thornton Avenue just below the Sherman Street bridge (not the ice skating parking lot). Boats will head down the river at 10:30.  No cost and no registration required. Just show up!  Contact Sharon White of the River Alliance for more details: or check out the Facebook event page at:



Music at the Main Stage Sunday, June 11th:

11:30 am — Willy Street Chamber Players
1:00 pm — Get Back Wisconsin (Beatles)
2:30 pm — Josh Harty
4:15 pm — Maggie Koerner
6:15 pm — Nikki Hill

Click here for Main Stage performer bios and band info.

Music at the acoustic Cottonwood Stage Sunday, June 11th:
Noon — Old Time Jam with No Name String Band
1:30 pm — Frogwater ( Celtic/Cajun/Bluegrass)
3:00 pm — Golpe Tiera (Latin)
4:30 pm — Devil in a Woodpile (Blues/Country/Ragtime, etc)
6:00 pm — Les Poules à Colin (Quebecois)

Click here for Cottonwood Stage performer bios and band info.



Dorla Mayer’s T-shirts will be printed at the historic Screen Door print shop on Willy St.  You will find Waterfront hats and miscellaneous commemorabilia (made that word up 3 years ago and am sticking with it). Wildwood Productions should be thanked for coordinating the merchandise creation every year from the humble beginning of this event. Intellasound Productions does a fine job with the main stage and Lonya Nenyashev is equally skilled over at The Cottonwood Stage.

The Crystal Corner staff  and volunteer beer pour men and women are a motley crew who come together every June and endure the “tough enough” management style of  Crystal manager John Durand.  John promises to keep three beer gardens well stocked with a wide array of refreshing beverages including some One Barrel Brewing, WI Distributor and Capital Brewery selections. A third, smaller caddy will conveniently service The Cottonwood Stage for the first time and include libations from the fine people at One Door and Capitol . We are happy to announce that the award-winning Fisher King Winery based now in Verona will be the exclusive vintner again this year. They create a stellar cellar of wines using only Wisconsin-sourced grapes. Restoration Cider will set up at The Cottonwood enclave as that area is becoming quite the scene.


You can be assured that there will be plenty of kids’ games (Noon to 3 pm or later) run by the neighborhood Boy Scout Troop 34.  Face painters, caricature artists,  henna tattoo-ists and Jahil’s Heel Brush Tattoos will be at the park as well. There will also be a tasteful complement of jewelry, arts ,crafts and import vendors and information tables lining the street-side edge of the park for your browsing and shopping  pleasure. Joanna Donovan will help keep the vendors happy and well situated this year.

2017 Sponsors

A heartfelt thank you goes out to these generous sponsors who make this event possible.

This year’s sponsors include the Willy St. Co-op, Heartland Credit Union, Wisconsin Distributors, Capitol Brewery. The Overture Center for the Arts, Solidarity Realty,  Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream, MG&E, TDS Custom Construction , American Family Insurance, The United Way, Dane Arts , Fisher King Winery, Restoration Cider, Prime Urban Properties, The Barrymore Theatre, The Harmony Bar, Madison Blues Society , Mark E. Saunders ,Weary Traveler Freehouse,   Lazy Jane’s , Mickey’s , RP’s Pasta, Liz Lauer Realty Group , The Bock Corporation, Research Products , MadCat Pet Supplies , Herrick & Kasdorf  Law Offices, Heitke & Vu, DDS, Ltd. , Tinnen Family Chiropractic, The Alchemy, The Tip Top Tavern, Madison Greenhouse Store and The Kathman/ Queen Family Foundation.