Wisconsin Country Music Festivals
June 30, 2015
There's something special about Wisconsin in the summer. I think it's because we know we only have 12 - 16 weekends of great summer weather, and we don't want to waste it. For Wisconsin country music fans, summer means country music festival time. We've put together this comprehensive list of Wisconsin country festivals to help you choose your next country concert getaway.
Armed Forces Days | Camp Douglas, WI
We always think of this one-day festival as the unofficial start of outdoor concert season. Some years are a bit colder than others but the lineup has consistently featured some of the hottest acts in 90s country music alongside some of Wisconsin's best regional country acts. If you spend all winter waiting for outdoor music, join the 2,000 plus WI country music fans who kick off summer on Main St. in Camp Douglas. http://www.wicampdouglasafd.com/the-bands.html
Country Fest | Cadott, WI
4 days, 5 stages, and more than 30 country music acts ranging from top-tier regional talent to the biggest names in country music, make Country Fest one of the premiere country music festivals in the state. Nestled in the farmland outside of Cadott, Country Fest also offers one of the most picturesque backdrops you'll find at a Wisconsin country music festival. While the main stage sells the tickets, experienced Country Festers know the memories are made in the campground and the side stages where excellent independent country music acts provide the soundtrack to your weekend. http://countryfest.com
Country USA | Oshkosh, WI
Country USA does things a little different, and we like that. Their party starts on Tuesday and runs through Saturday, bringing you 5 consecutive nights of quality entertainment, and affording you all day Sunday to get home and sleep it off before you have to start your work week. But my favorite thing about Country USA is their lineup. Traditionally, no festival this big in Wisconsin does near as good a job as Country USA when it comes to delivering a blend of acts that will appeal to a wide variety of country fans. http://www.countryusaoshkosh.com
Porterfield Country Music Festival | Marinette, WI
As a band, we've learned something. You can tell a lot about the quality of a country music festival by talking to other artists who've played there. Based on what we've heard, Porterfield is a gem. While lesser known than some of the other festivals in Wisconsin, Porterfield is nothing less than a serious contender when it comes to delivering a great talent lineup and am great time for attendees. http://www.countrymusicfestival.com/index.html
Summerfest | Milwaukee, WI
While this annual music binge isn't exclusively a country festival, it does annually include a healthy dose of nationally known and upcoming country music acts. If you've never attended this 11-day, 11-stage monster of music, you really need to get it on your list. We played the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard stage in 2014, and walked the grounds for a few hours after our set. It's a live music lover's paradise. http://summerfest.com
Hodag Country Festival | Rhinelander, WI
Hodag is a bucket list festival for me, both as a country music fan and as a performer. While I have never been there, annual attendees tell me it is their favorite Wisconsin Country music festival. That's easy to understand. The festival features Neal McCoy as a headlining act every single year, and even has a "XX more days to Hodag" call out on their website featuring the favored entertainer. If you've never seen Neal live, Wisconsin is the place to do it. He has a special kinship with our great state, and always delivers a home run show here. Hodag also features great regional acts all weekend long in their pavilion. https://www.hodag.com
Country Jam | Eau Claire, WI
I've had the opportunity to attend Country Jam several times while I was a student at UW-Eau Claire. This 3 day country music festival is among the best-known in the state. I love the atmosphere, and the in-town location is great for locals and out of towers who prefer hotels to campgrounds. The only knock I have on Country Jam is the lack of opportunities for regional talent. This is a perfect and untapped opportunity to showcase great Wisconsin country music to a large audience. http://countryjamwi.com
Country Thunder | Twin Lakes, WI
Country Thunder is a 4-day, 3-stage country music festival in Southeast Wisconsin. They have a sister event in Arizona each year as well. With no personal experience to draw from, I can't recommend this one based on my own knowledge. But the lineup is always impressive, and they do a great job highlighting regional talent on their side stages. See for yourself: http://wisconsin.countrythunder.com
Country on the River | Prairie Du Chein, WI
Country on the River is one of the youngest country music festivals in Wisconsin, but it's made an iact as a serious contender. In 2013, they outgrew their digs in a city park and relocated on farmland just outside of the city. As the state's only country music festival in August, Country on the River offers Wisconsin country music fans an exceptional lineup and one last opportunity to put a countrified stamp on the end of their summer. https://countryontheriverwisconsin.com
All things considered, you really can't go wrong with any of the Wisconsin country music festivals on this list. With the right group of friends, and some cold drinks, there's limitless fun waiting for you at whichever festival you choose to spend your money and time.
Thanks for checking out our blog! The Pat Watters Band is the 2015 WAMI Country Artist of the Year and a 6-time Wisconsin Area Music Industry People’s Choice Award winning band. Check out our music for free! You can download our breakout song, “I’m Your Buddy,” for FREE.
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