New Glarus Music Fest, May 27 & 28


New Glarus Music Fest, the annual entertainment event produced by the New Glarus Youth Committee, is moving back to Memorial Day weekend in 2017 (Saturday & Sunday, May 27-28 and Friday night May 26 in conjunction with the Lions Club BBQ) after experimenting with a mid-June date last year. But while the summer kick-off event is switching back to its traditional weekend, this year the festival is expanding from beyond the confines of a singular tent and the entire village is invited to get involved.

Taking a cue from such renowned festivals like South-by-Southwest (SXSW) in Austin, TX and Mile of Music in Appleton, WI, the Youth Committee saw an opportunity to pay homage to New Glarus’ heritage of businesses working together for the greater benefit of the community, in this case to raise funds for scholarships and educational programs geared toward area children.

“We’ve produced Music Fest for so many years but we were never sure attendees and performers understood what we were raising money for,” says John Bigler, president of the Youth Committee. “We saw this as a way to dig in and speak to businesses to let them know how we can help them, and they in turn can help us help the kids. We hope to create a powerful win-win situation all around.”

The plans for this year’s Music Fest involve local businesses getting in on the act. The Youth Committee is asking retail outlets, restaurants, taverns, etc. to host musical acts over the course of the weekend. The Youth Committee will work with a business to help them find and hire musicians. Whether or not a business is able to host a musical act during the weekend, the Youth Committee will gladly accept any donations. Bigler says there are also plenty of sponsorship opportunities available.

“So far the support for this new direction has been very positive,” says Bigler. “We are going to do our best to promote the event, the venues, the sponsors and the artists so we can welcome a slew of visitors looking for something unique to do over the holiday weekend.”  

Bigler says musicians will play at various businesses throughout both days, and the Youth Committee is already working with a few establishments to secure “headliners” for later in the evenings. He says the group is also looking to find headliner sponsors to help with costs.

“Each business owner in the village knows his or her customer base very well, so we're not about to tell them who to book or when,” says Bigler. “The business is in control! They can book a polka band, guitar-player, violinist, rock band. The more unique, the better! It’s about presenting music in any form. And if the business needs some ideas, we have a list of musicians who have expressed interest in the event already.” 

Currently, plans for this year’s Music Fest weekend also include the Lions Club’s Chicken BBQ with an accompanying street dance on Friday evening and obtaining an open-container permit throughout the course of the festival so attendees can walk around town while enjoying a beverage.

“We think New Glarus is so fantastic,” says Bigler. “The unique businesses, the heritage, the hospitality, the music; combine all that and you really have a wonderful showcase for everything the village has to offer.”

The New Glarus Youth Committee raises funds for scholarships, the annual Fifth Grade Field Trip to Chicago, Lunch with Santa, the Krafty Kids Summer Program, Post Prom Party and a “matching funds” program for projects led by New Glarus youth.

Any business that would like to take part in this year’s Music Fest as a venue, a musical act or as a sponsor can contact the Youth Committee at or via