Courtesy of Taste of Madison This weekend in Madison: Taste of Madison, Women in Music, Ben Sidran Courtesy of Taste of Madison More Arts & Culture

Taste of Madison will be the big draw all weekend. But so too should the third-annual Respect: A Celebration of Women in Music at Majestic Theatre Saturday night and the inaugural Great Midwest Hootenany at the High Noon Saloon on Sunday.

The weekend starts Thursday night with a rare local performance by Ben Sidran, a last show for the band Woodrow and a celebration of William Shakespeare at American Players Theatre.


Taste of Madison, Capitol Square
Saturday-Sunday, Aug. 31-Sept. 1
Every year since 1983, Taste of Madison has invited tens of thousands of food lovers to Capitol Square to sample the offerings of local restaurants. This weekend more than 80 establishments will serve hungry taste-goers from carts and tents. Live music will be played on three stages — predominantly rock, country and hip-hop acts — and several performances by Tundra Line, the Packers’ drum line are scheduled on Saturday.


Ben Sidran’s 2nd Annual 75th Birthday Celebration, Majestic Theatre
Thursday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.
International jazz icon and Madison resident Leo Sidran celebrates his 75th birthday for the second consecutive year by singing and speaking with a full band behind him at the Majestic. That band includes his son and drummer Leo Sidran, bass fiddler Billy Peterson, funk saxophone player Al Falaschi and guest vocalist Joy Dragland. It’s a rare opportunity to see a unique and influential musician and anything could happen.

Woodrow Farewell Show, The Winnebago
Thursday, Aug. 29, 7 p.m.
The 4-year-old Madison indie-pop band Woodrow is playing its last show Thursday night. Connor Brennan, who founded the band and wrote most of its songs, is moving to Nashville. And the four remaining members have decided they can’t continue without him. In its too-short lifespan, Woodrow released three EPs and one full-length album and earlier this year the band won a Madison Area Music Award for Best Alternative Performer. Come see them one last time Thursday night at The Winnebago. Raine Stern and Disaster Report open.

Respect: A Celebration of Women in Music, Majestic Theatre
Saturday, Aug. 31, 8 p.m.
At the third annual “Respect: A Celebration of Women in Music,” a dozen female vocalists will brings to life on one stage some of the most iconic women artists in American music. The revue, with backing band The Big Payback, will included songs by Beyonce (sung by drag queen Amethyst Von Trollenburg), Brandi Carlile (Shawndell Marks), Ella Fitzgerald (Marilyn Fisher), Amy Winehouse (Lo Marie) and Bonnie Raitt (Liz Feig) among others. The event not only honors decades of women in music, it spotlights many of the talented female musicians in the Madison area. 

The Great Midwestern Hootenanny, High Noon Saloon
Sunday, Sept. 1, 2 p.m.-midnight
The inaugural Great Midwest Hootenanny will bring more than a dozen bluegrass, Americana and jam bands and an assortment food trucks to the High Noon Saloon for much of Sunday. The lineup includes Australian singer-songwriter C.W. Stoneking, Milwaukee’s Joseph Huber, Eau Claire’s Them Coulee Boys and Madison’s Kelsey Miles Band and The Handphibians. See the High Noon’s website for the full listing of performers.


“The Book of Will,” American Players Theatre, Spring Green
Thursday, Aug. 29, 7:30 p.m.; Sept. 1, 7, 13, 15, 21, 27, 29 and Oct. 5
“The Book of Will” is (as Madison Magazine theater reviewer Aaron R. Conklin described it) a love letter to APT’s loyal audiences over the last 40 years and to William Shakespeare himself. The production assembles several Core Company principals to perform some of The Bard’s greatest hits as, the story goes, The King’s Men race to collect his scattered masterpieces and create the First Folio. The result is a charming and magical experience seemingly custom-made for this beloved local theater group.

Joel Patenaude is associate editor of Madison Magazine.