What is Madison Music Sessions? 

Simply put, MMS is intimate concerts in Madison, Wisconsin. We don’t restrict ourselves to any particular genre, or any particular space, and we work with artists and space owners on a show-by-show basis. We proudly consider ourselves music nerds and seek to build community around music. We’ve been letting this ‘thing’ grow organically since our first show back in July 2015. We still don’t have a strongly defined brand or identity, and we like it that way.

If you’re a music lover who wants to focus on the musicians and their craft in an intimate environment with minimal distractions, our shows are for you. We are focused on coordinating quality shows and care about the experience for both the musicians and audience members. “Music first. Keep it simple.” No fluff or frills here. 

We are also interested in connecting with other intimate venues in the Midwest (and perhaps beyond!) and hope to create a supportive network of venues that musicians can plug into. Venues we love (and think you should too!) are Aster Cafe and The Warming House in Minneapolis, The Root Note in La Crosse, WI and Driftless Books and Music in Viroqua, WI.

Artists we’ve worked with: San Fermin (video, Isthmus review, NYT mention), Dead Horses (video), Milo (video, review), The Lil Smokies, The Way Down Wanderers, The Wayfarers, American Feedbag, Rachel Hanson, Jason Moon, Auralai, Big Sadie, Kendra Swanson, Sandler Waggoner, Ray Bonneville, Jeff Burkhart, Feeding Leroy, Humbird, The Gambol, Lowland Hum, Gaelynn Lea and Luke Callen.

Spaces we’ve worked in: Bright Red Studios, 100state, Maven Vocal Arts, East Side Club, Trevor’s garage.

I have an idea for a space/venue. Can I host a show?

Part of the fun is matching music with spaces. We’ve coordinated a pop show in an art gallery, hip hop in a coworking space, mountain music in a garage and more. While the shows in our current series are all held at Maven Vocal Arts, we do not have a ‘home’ venue. We’re open to all sorts of creative ideas, whether you want to open up your own living room, own a business with space for an audience or just want to recommend a spot where you think an intimate concert could work. Email us with your idea.

How can I get involved?

As we begin to grow and evolve, we’d love some extra support. Here are a few ways you can help:

Donate: Since this is a break-even endeavor with all funds going to the artists, donations are always accepted and appreciated.

Provide food/drink/housing: We want to create a great experience for the musicians who play our shows, and give nationally touring acts a warm welcome to Madison that they’ll never forget. You can help make that happen.

With no budget or discretionary funds for these shows, we are often unable to satisfy requests for food, beverages and housing for artists. Our goal is to build a supportive community around our shows where we can provide artists with dinner, drinks and/or accommodations. We accept gift cards to restaurants, particularly in the downtown/Atwood area, beverage donations for the artists and the offer of an extra room in your house or Airbnb.  

Videography/Photography: This is a piece that’s missing from our shows that we would love to incorporate. If you have skills you’d like to contribute to MMS, connect with us by email. 

Promotion: We do not have a budget for our shows, or funds for promotion. If you are excited about what we’re doing, we encourage you to come out to a show, tell your friends, share our events on Facebook, etc. If you’d like to become more involved with promotion, send us an email. 

Host a show: We enjoy matching music with spaces and coordinating shows in places that are not typically music venues. If you own a space or have one to suggest, reach out to us.  

How do I buy a ticket to an MMS show?

You can buy tickets online or at the door. We prefer online in advance, but cash, check or credit card will be accepted at the door. We use Square to process payments. 

For our current series at Maven Vocal Arts, tickets can be purchased in advance on their website. Tickets also can be purchased in-person at the door at the time of the show. 

Do you serve alcohol at the shows?

We do not serve alcohol at the shows. BYOB is allowed for our current series. Please consume responsibly. 

How big is your venue?

Since we coordinate shows in all sorts of spaces and places around Madison, the audience capacity will vary depending on the location. Our focus is on intimate concerts, so generally we look for spaces that can fit 50-100 people. The capacity is about 45 people at Maven Vocal Arts, where our current series is held. It’s small and intimate – feels like a house concert.

How do I book a show with MMS?

We are a small, DIY operation and can only coordinate a few shows at a time. While most of our shows are curated and we reach out to artists from our end, we are open to other possibilities.

The best way to reach us is via email at madisonmusicsessions@gmail.com. If you’re able, please include a link to your website, a link to a video of you live, dates that you would like us to consider, an estimate of your draw in Madison or your past performance history in town and we’ll get back to you from there.

I set up a show with MMS. Now what?

We believe that it takes a combination of venue AND artist support to make every event successful. One of our main goals for every performance is to generate an appropriate audience for the show. In order for us to meet that goal, it is very important that you as a performer help us find your appropriate audience. Remember – a majority of the time (but dependent upon the space), there will NOT be a built in audience.

More information and suggestions:

  • We will create a Facebook event and you will be listed as the host. Please RSVP and invite people.
  • Please send us the image you would like us to use for our calendar listing along with all social media and web links.
  • Update your website calendar. Make sure that you post the correct information about your show(s). Make sure to write your showtime down correctly, as the start times of our shows do vary.  Also, make sure that you include the correct contact information for Madison Music Sessions.
  • Reach out to local radio stations to see if you can get some air time on or around the day of your performance.
  • Contact local newspapers (feel free to ask us for suggestions).
  • Remember, there is no one way to reach the public. MMS will do its best to promote each and every show, but we need your help. The most successful shows are marketed via a combination of these approaches.
  • Send out postcards, flyers, and emails to your friends, family, and mailing list. Send out your own press release to specific media contacts with whom you have a direct relationship. Be sure to make extensive use of all social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, etc.). Link up with our pages as well! Make sure to add bloggers to your contacts for press releases; in today’s world, the blogosphere is just as effective as print media at getting the word out.
  • We care about our community of musicians and audience members, and your experience with MMS. After the show, we’d love to get your feedback. And we always welcome positive reviews posted to our Facebook page. 
  • If you know an artist or band who would be a good fit for an intimate show in Madison, feel free to point them in our direction. 

I have questions that aren’t covered in your FAQ. How do I connect with MMS?

The best way to reach us is by email at madisonmusicsessions@gmail.com.