Photos courtesy of the Dead South Weekend in the 608: four music and food festivals in Madison Photos courtesy of the Dead South More Arts & Culture

Madison fans of live American roots music have options this weekend between the Sugar Maple Music Festival and Atwood City Limits Music Fest. Makers market shoppers, Broadway musical fans and vegans are in luck, too, with events tailored for them.

For everyone else there are house cats that play musical instruments. You’re welcome.


Sugar Maple Music Festival, Lake Farm County Park
Friday-Saturday, Aug. 2-3
Bluegrass, folk, Americana and zydeco musicians will converge at Lake Farm County Park on Friday and Saturday for the 16th annual Sugar Maple Music Festival. Organized by the Four Lakes Traditional Music Collective, the Sugar Music Fest includes workshops and jam sessions as well performances by Grammy-nominated artists — such as Wood & Wire, the bluegrass band from Austin playing the Main stage on Friday night. Return Saturday night for Jeffery Broussard & the Creole Cowboys, as well as several other bands on both days on two other stages.

Madison Vegan Fest, Madison College Truax Campus
Saturday, Aug. 3, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Who needs meat or cheese when you can have delicious alternatives not made from animal products? That’s the question and the Madison Vegan Fest is the answer. Food court vendors at the event include Fuegos, Soul Vegan, Ian’s Pizza, Green Owl Café, Surya Café and Adamah Neighborhood Table. Dozens of other exhibitors will also be on hand.

Madison Makers Summer Market and Pub Crawl, 700-900 blocks of East Washington Avenue
Saturday, Aug. 3, noon-5 p.m.
Some 75 arts and crafts vendors will be set up Saturday afternoon for the Madison Makers Summer Market at and between several establishments on both sides of the 700 to 900 blocks of East Washington Avenue. So come to stroll and shop, but plan to keep the drinking contained to Giant Jones Brewing Co., Old Sugar Distillery, Bos Meadery, Tangent, The Brink Lounge and High Noon Saloon.

Atwood City Limits Music Fest, Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace
Saturday, Aug. 3, 2-10 p.m.
For the second consecutive weekend, there’s live music to be found on Atwood Avenue. On Saturday afternoon, the parking lot of Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace hosts the Atwood City Limits Music Fest. Four rock and American bands are set to play — Steering Ships With Empty Bottles, The Lower 5th, Arlo McKinley & The Lonesome Sound and WheelHouse. With tacos and margaritas served by Tex Tubb’s, what more do you need?


The Dead South, Live on King Street
Friday, Aug. 2, 7 p.m.
From Canada to King Street, the folk-bluegrass band The Dead South play a free Live on King Street concert. Wikipedia says the band is “often jokingly referred to as ‘Mumford & Sons’ evil twin.'” Find out what that means after Armchair Boogi and Them Coulee Boys open the show.


“Anastasia,” Overture Hall, Overture Center for the Arts
Thursday, Aug. 1, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Aug. 2, 8 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 3, 2 & 8 p.m.; Sunday, 1 & 6:30 p.m.
The Broadway musical “Anastasia” is based on the 1997 animated film which was itself an adaptation of the fictional story of the Grand Duchess Anastasia, an imagined surviving member of the Romanovs, the Russian royal family executed by the Bolsheviks in 1918. Several musical numbers were added to the stage production, which follows Anya, an orphan with amnesia, and a Soviet officer villain in pursuit of her.

“Grease (High School Edition),” The Playhouse, Overture Center
Thursday-Friday, Aug. 1-2, 7 p.m.
Actual local high school students recreate the fictional Rydell High School in the 1950s for a production of the classic musical “Grease.” Presented by the Children’s Theater of Madison, some of the city’s most talented teen performers will tell the story of greaser Danny and new girl Sandy and their individual circles of friends, the Burger Palace Boys and The Pink Ladies.


The Amazing Acro-Cats, Bartell Theatre
Friday, Aug. 2, 7 p.m.; Saturday, Aug. 3, 3 & 7 p.m.; Sunday, Aug. 4, 1 & 5 p.m.; Monday, Aug. 5, 7 p.m.
As seen on Animal Planet and Adult Swim, a troupe of highly trained house cats ride skateboards, jump through hoops and, most impressively, play instruments. Don’t believe it? Then come to one of their purrformances at the Bartell Theater this weekend.

Joel Patenaude is associate editor of Madison Magazine.