Mayor Soglin's Blog

Celebrate Summer Solstice with Make Music Madison!

April 19, 2013 6:03 PM

Considering the weather we have faced this winter and spring, the thought of summer might be hard to grasp, but I am looking forward to it for a number of reasons.  One of them being we will be participating in our very first Make Music Madison!

Make Music Madison will be an annual one-day citywide, free, outdoor music festival to be held on the Summer Solstice, June 21.  The goal is to generate a continuous wall of music as people walk around participating spaces.  Music will play throughout the city – along State Street, in parks, inside churches, at the airport, in schoolyards, at Memorial Union, and at homes.  The festival will include all styles of music, and skill levels of musicians.  Everyone in the community should feel welcome to participate.  Please check out the website http://www.makemusicmadison.org/, find a location to play, support an artist, and of course, come out and listen to the many sounds our City has to offer! 

Planning for Make Music Madison began months ago, and truly hundreds of people have been involved.  However, there was a major hurdle to surmount.  The technology needed to effectively run the innovative 'distributed concert' envisioned would require either a much larger budget, or a number of full time staff.  As neither was available, District 8 Alder Scott Resnick who pioneered the Open Data initiative asked local entrepreneurs to help and once again, the results are astounding.

From day one, Madison's tech entrepreneurial scene has been inundated with unique community-focused initiatives such as Capital Entrepreneurs (CapitalEntrepreneurs.com), Madisonium (madisonium.com), and Hacking Madison (HackingMadison.org).

For Make Music Madison, Michael Fenchel  of BuildMadison.org stepped forward to lead an entirely volunteer effort of almost a dozen talented citizens to design and develop the necessary website and technology.  At the same time, local tech businesses, BendyWorks, Horizon Coworking, and Murfie stepped forward to sponsor space, hosting, and other development costs, enabling the volunteers to get their work done.

Within two months, the team created a website, a communications campaign and a 'community matching' platform that allows artists and venues to link up for performances under city administration.  The platform developed provides a powerful solution for community organization and involvement, while granting the city the necessary ability to oversee the project.

The matchmaking software, developed by this Madison team, is now also facilitating similar festivals in the cities of New York, Philadelphia, and Denver for their World Music Day celebration.  Athens, Greece is also using the software.  A number of other cities are also looking into using the tool, and the project may result in not only a great event, but also in the birth of another successful local tech business.

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