June 12, 2015
Before a crowd of more than a hundred, local cover band Rabid Aardvarks opened the Monona Terrace’s Concert on the Rooftop series earlier this month.
As expected, attendees at the weekly concert series were dancing, drinking and enjoying the warm spring night as well as views of both the capitol and Lake Monona as the band jammed out to contemporary pop hits.
Taking place weekly now through July, the concerts are a welcoming event that’s not only free but also fit for all ages.
This year, the series features five more bands: The Boogie Men, The Jimmys, Madison County, Start Making Sense and ABBA Salute. Concerts on the Rooftop is one of many free community programs offered at the Monona Terrace. Their community programs run all year and range in scope from health and wellness to children’s programs.
At first, these programs started as a way to fill the community gathering space built with the building in 1997. The concert series in particular reinforces the Monona Terrace’s place as a community center, said Fran Puleo, the venue’s manager of community and public relations.
Wisconsin residents from all over come for lively conversation and dancing as they sip beer provided by The Great Dane restaurant.
The Monona Terrace’s Community Events Coordinator, Misty Lohrentz, said Monona Terrace community programs are quickly gaining attention from Madison residents who enjoy the environment of community gatherings.
“Since 2009, [attendance has] gone up 150 percent for all the programs the Monona Terrace produces,” she said.
With attendance numbers on the rise, Concerts on the Rooftop provides an opportunity for bands to gain popularity.
Kevin Machan of the Rabid Aardvarks believes that these concerts enhance the quality of life for the community.
“We always enjoy the opportunity to play outside in the summer, and the series has a great reputation with both performers as well as with people who have attended in the past,” Machan said.
Although June’s kick-off concert was the first appearance of Rabid Aardvarks at the Monona Terrace, many bands like the seven-piece country group Madison County continue to come back year after year. Madison County is one of the most popular shows at the Monona Terrace, attracting crowds of thousands. The band is scheduled to play on July 9 this summer.
“Honestly it’s probably one of our top three favorite places to play just because of the setting,” said Madison County’s member Mike Zibell.
The Monona Terrace has been able to keep Concerts on the Rooftop and other community programs free of charge thanks to an increase in sponsorship over the past few years. But Puleo said the Monona Terrace always looks for more sponsors so the concert series can continue to grow.
“We try to mix up the different genres of music that we offer,” she said. “With the increase of sponsorships we are able to bring in some national bands, so we can keep it a little regional and a little national.”
For more information about the Monona Terrace’s Concerts on the Rooftop series and other events, visit their website at www.mononaterrace.com.