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Lake-facing concert Lakefront Live to return as three-event series as part of season of free, live music at Memorial Union Terrace

Posted: 05/16/23

Lake-facing concert Lakefront Live to return as three-event series as part of season of free, live music at Memorial Union Terrace

For the second year, a unique free summer concert experience will return to Madison – this time, as a triple concert series. The Memorial Union Terrace series, Lakefront Live, features live band performances from the UW Credit Union Terrace Stage played facing Lake Mendota to be enjoyed by audience members on paddle and watercraft. 

Hosted by the Wisconsin Union’s Outdoor UW and the Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD) Music Committee, Lakefront Live will take place on the Terrace June 8 at 6 p.m., featuring Birddog Blues Band; July 6 at 6 p.m., featuring country and blues band The Grouvin Brothers; and Aug. 10 at 6 p.m., featuring bluegrass group Cork n’ Bottle String Band.

“Lakefront Live is back again this year, and it’s better than ever with not one, but three outstanding free performances throughout the summer,” said Sean Michael Dargan, Wisconsin Union Directorate advisor. “We are excited to give Madison even more opportunities to come join us and celebrate our community’s incredible music scene and outdoor views!”

Concertgoers can rent single or double kayaks, stand-up paddleboards – including an eight-person stand-up paddleboard called the SUPSquatch – or canoes from Outdoor UW to savor the music from the water. Each person must make a reservation – for $16 – to secure one spot on an Outdoor UW paddlecraft for the entirety of the event (6-9 p.m.). 

The Outdoor UW team encourages patrons interested in a specific rental paddlecraft to arrive early, as patrons with reservations will receive a spot on a craft on a first come, first served basis. Renters may arrive starting at 3 p.m., and all members of a party must be present to select their shared craft. Guests can make online reservations and read reservation details at (June 8), (July 6) and (Aug. 10).

The presence or consumption of alcohol/drugs is not permitted on Outdoor UW watercraft. Individuals who are believed to be under the influence of alcohol/drugs will not be allowed to board a craft.

Those with their own watercraft may paddle over to enjoy the concert as well. The concert can also be enjoyed from the Memorial Union Terrace, where audience members can savor dishes from Memorial Union’s many dining options and take in the show.

If there are inclement lake conditions on the day of an event, Outdoor UW will refund rentals, and water outings will be canceled, with Lakefront Live transitioning to a Terrace-facing event. In the event of inclement weather, outdoor rentals will be refunded, and the concert will occur inside Memorial Union at der Rathskeller. Details of this series are subject to change. The Wisconsin Union team aims to announce any unanticipated changes to the series by 4 p.m. on the day of each concert. 

With four nights of live music each week on the Terrace, Lakefront Live is one of the many live music events held at the outdoor dining and entertainment destination this summer. Other performances include:

For a full lineup of this summer’s concerts and other Terrace season events, visit

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