We’ve been awarded a Dane Arts Grant!

We’re proud to announce that we’ve been awarded a Dane Arts grant for our 16th Annual Blues Picnic. Thank you!

This project is supported by Dane Arts with additional funds from the Endres Mfg. Company Foundation, the Evjue Foundation, Inc., charitable arm of The Capital Times, the W. Jerome Frautschi Foundation, and the Pleasant T. Rowland Foundation.

Please consider joining us for this community-wide free event on June 16th at Warner Park!

Local Band Blythe Gamble and The Rollin’ Dice to Perform at Picnic

Photo by James Pederson

We’re delighted to announce the second of the two local bands who
will be performing at our 16th Annual Blues Picnic: please welcome !!! If you haven’t yet heard Blythe’s powerful and emotive vocals, you’re in for a treat. Blythe and Rollin’ Dice guitarist Bill Roberts are both up for MAMAs this year. Make your calendar for Sat., June 16th. We’ll see you at Warner Park in Madison for a great day of blues!

Announcing Ivy Ford Band for Annual Picnic!

Welcome the Ivy Ford Band from IL!

Ivy shines on lead guitar and vocal and the full band is super tight. We know you’ll love them! And in a special aligning of the stars, you can check them out at the Knuckle Down Saloon this Friday at 9pm! C’mon out and show them some Madison love! Ivy’s the real deal: jjust a couple of weeks ago, she graced the cover of Blues Blast Magazine in its article on Chicago Blues Guitar Women. You can read the article here:


Annual Picnic Headliner Announced

Check it out! We’re thrilled to announce that all the way from New York, The Chris O’Leary Band will be headlining our 16th Annual Chris O'Leary BandMadison Blues Society Blues Picnic. Chris’s musical background includes duties as lead singer and front man for rock and roll hall of famer and Grammy award winner Levon Helm’s band, The Barnburners. During the 6 years that Chris and Levon played together they toured across the US and Canada lighting up stages everywhere they went. Chris has alsoappeared on stage with: Legendary Rolling Stones sideman Bobby Keys, The Fabulous Thunderbirds, Jimmy Vivino, Jeff Healy, Dan Aykroyd, Albert Lee, Dave Edmunds, Dave Maxwell and the great James Cotton to name just a few. Get it on your calendar: Sat. June 16th at Warner Park!

Membership Questions? Ask Dave.

As Membership Coordinator for the Madison Blues Society, my job is to receive and process new member applications and membership renewals. Member information is kept in a database which I maintain. I also manage the membership email list and periodically send out information such as meeting minutes from the Board of Directors and special event announcements. Interested in joining us? You can become a new member or renew online at www. Feel free to contact me via my email ( or by phone (608-234-0358) if you have any questions about membership records or processes.

Peace and blues, Dave.

How the Music Committee Selected Our 2018 Line-Up

If you were excited about the terrific line-up for last year’s Madison
Blues Picnic, you’ll be happy to know that the members of the
MBS Music Committee have choosen the 2018 lineup set for Sat.,
June 16 at Warner Park in Madison.

Our committee— Susie Laudner (Chair),Dave Speers, Vivian Schmelzer, Shari Davis,
Steve Lendborg—began reviewing bands once the submission
deadline passed on Nov. 27.

So how do we begin to whittle down the list? Well, because we
don’t have a travel budget we start by eliminating from consideration
those who wouldn’t already be in the Upper Midwest.

Next, it’s important we get the right mix of bands. If we choose
all local bands, we’re probably giving our audience acts they have
already seen and heard. But if we don’t choose any local bands, we
felt we weren’t being true to our local music community. We plan to
do what we did last year: Select a combination of local and regional
bands, plus a great headliner.

We spend time together listening to the bands that fit in each of those
categories. We’re also on the lookout for bands who will offer a variety of blues styles. We discuss, debate, research, and eventually come to a consensus.

Once we came to a consensus, we presented our recommendations to the
2018 MBS Board of Directors and it was approved! The five selected bands have been notified and once the contracts are signed, we’ll make the public announcement. It’ll be very soon!

Next up, we’ll be reaching out for volunteers to help run this
free community event, so mark your calendar for a day of great blues
music and fellowship with other blues music lovers—Sat. June 16!

WANTED: Your Ideas & Help to Strengthen MBS!

The health of Madison Blues Society is directly related to how many members choose to be active in some way. No ONE person can pick up all the balls that we try to juggle—and even if we could, it’s not a wise, long term strategy for MBS’s success. We’re working to provide avenues to become active that correspond to varying levels of time commitments.

What we can accomplish is related to how many people participate. If you want to be part of a strong blues society, we invite you to reach out to any member of the board (listed at the end of this newsletter) or membership chair Dave Speers.

We really want to hear from you—Madison Blues Society belongs to ALL of us!