Song Fight! Live 2019: Location

All about the next annual live event. Are you coming?. Discuss travel & lodging. Recruit band members, discuss equipment, setlists, etc.
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by fluffy » Wed May 22, 2019 1:51 pm

Yeah it mostly comes down to the flight schedule from Seattle.
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by grumpymike » Wed May 22, 2019 2:06 pm

Madison, being a capitol, does have a lot of direct flights, but they will be pricier ($300 ballpark iirc). The layover flights are about on-par with MKE, price-wise, once you consider time and transportation. (MSN with layover is usually +$100)

My preference is Delta with a layover in Minneapolis (or Detroit going east). The MKE airport isn’t terrible, but MSP is a lot roomier and newer, and MSN is maybe the best airport ever.

The Madison airport is small and amazing in every way - I can usually get through security in under 5 minutes. It’s probably smaller than our training center at work...

Honestly, I’d only go through MKE if money is a huge consideration, or you are severely averse to layovers. The MSN layover planes are sometimes smaller too (sometimes roomier), and might have fewer people depending on the time.
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by fluffy » Wed May 22, 2019 2:12 pm

Yeah the main problem I'm running into is just the takeoff time for whatever flights. I really cannot do ultra-early-morning stuff.
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by grumpymike » Wed May 22, 2019 2:14 pm

True dat. I do recall my west coast flights being butt-early, and the best I could get was like 9am to get home at 10pm.
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by owl » Wed May 22, 2019 2:20 pm

Also, I'm going to start assembling some lists for visitors with Interesting Things to explore here... other Wisconsinites, please feel free to add your recommendations!

Music shopping in Madison, part 1: Instruments
  • Dave's Guitar Shop--this shop rules, they have a big variety of new and used electric and acoustic guitars, basses, amps, pedals, etc. and you can try out everything without it being a huge hassle. I believe they have a selection of ukuleles/banjos/mandolins as well. It's an offshoot of a legendary store based in La Crosse. A bit far from downtown, in a strip mall (there's also a pretty good Chinese restaurant there, and a board game shop.)
  • Guitar Shop of Wisconsin--this is closer to downtown but still well outside what's considered the downtown area. It's sort of disorganized but they have a ton of interesting new and used inventory (same deal... all sorts of things with strings--including lap steels!--and amps, pedals, a small variety of accessories. Also in a strip mall, near the community college, very little nearby of interest except for I think a gluten-free brewery tasting room next door.
  • Spruce Tree Music--the place to go for acoustic instruments. Also golden retrievers who live in the shop! <3 A small shop pretty close to downtown, in an up and coming hipstery neighborhood, with a curated assortment of midrange to high end folk instruments... banjos, acoustic guitars, harps, mandolins, violins, dulcimers, and so on. If you want a $2000 ukulele this is a great place to get it. Lots of books and sheet music, videos, picks, straps, too. Fun stuff nearby includes restaurants, cafes, clothing shops, and a rock shop where if you want, you can buy yourself a hand-carved $200 fossilized amber guitar pick.
  • MC Audio--also close-ish to downtown. Super friendly people with lots of DJ equipment but also a decent range of synths, samplers, various keyboard-type instruments. (I bought a Korg Monotron Duo from them once) I haven't been to this location yet, but it's in a not very interesting strip mall, I believe it's next door to a record shop and an ice cream shop.
  • Heid Music--this is a general purpose music store with a wide range of instruments, books, sheet music, etc., just about everything. Kind of like a locally owned Guitar Center. However, it's far from downtown in the no-man's-land of malls and freeways. Also, to me it feels more utilitarian and less like a unique destination.
  • Ward-Brodt--haven't been to this location yet either. Similar notes as for Heid Music. I think they do band instrument rentals for kiddos.
  • Full Compass--I haven't been here either because I have a day job, but from what I hear, it's a super pro music gear shop... aka their showroom is only open during the hours when most people are working (M-F 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM)... but they have a huge selection online at least.
  • UW Swap Shop is kind of fun, they sell university surplus and sometimes have musical instruments. Also kind of a trek to get to.
there is a Guitar Center out in suburbia too, but I won't bother listing that.

Honorable mention for anyone coming in via Milwaukee + rental car: Music Go Round--they have a really amazing selection of used stuff. A gear-obsessed friend is always going out there and trading in his stuff to get new guitar pedals.
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by grumpymike » Wed May 22, 2019 2:32 pm

owl wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 2:20 pm
there is a Guitar Center out in suburbia too, but I won't bother listing that.
And by “suburbia” it’s like a 20-30 minute drive from downtown... this city is neither huge nor is traffic bad.

And if you’re practicing at my place, it’s the closest store. 8-)
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by owl » Wed May 22, 2019 2:44 pm

Yes! Madison is small, safe, pretty easy to navigate, and doesn't have much traffic. So "far away" in Madison terms for anyone coming from almost any major city is going to be kind of laughable.

I've bought a lot of stuff at that Guitar Center. It just doesn't seem like the most exciting "local" music store to suggest shopping at.

(and Grumpy Mike, please let me know if I've forgotten anything we should add to that list. I don't spend a lot of time on Planet Middleton)
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by grumpymike » Wed May 22, 2019 2:58 pm

Naw your list is good. I mostly just took offense at “suburbia”. While it technically is, it’s not quite as bad as the suburbs of Milwaukee. :D

I suppose Cascio Interstate could be worth visiting if you do end up... in real suburbia...
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by grumpymike » Wed May 22, 2019 3:00 pm

Honestly I’m just trying to convince myself I haven’t entirely become what I hated.
Last edited by grumpymike on Wed May 22, 2019 3:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by fluffy » Wed May 22, 2019 3:01 pm

Not to break up the talk about where to buy or rent instruments, but I'd personally be more interested in sightseeing things that don't involve feeding my gear acquisition syndrome. :) Any interesting stuff along those lines?

I visited years ago and the capitol building was neat, and then there's the Milwaukee Museum of Art, but what sorts of group-outing type activities will there be?
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by owl » Wed May 22, 2019 3:21 pm

I will compile a list of other sightseeing type things too, that list was just part 1!

What other particular things do potential attendees like seeing and doing?
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by grumpymike » Wed May 22, 2019 3:24 pm

I think a lot of that depends on how far outside the city you're willing to travel and what you're specifically interested in. I assume hanging out by the lakefront is a definite. I'll defer to owl, the urbanite, for unique downtown ideas. My idea of entertaining out-of-towners is showing them my work campus - which, I realize, isn't exactly the most exciting thing in theory - but it's probably some of the most impressive, unique architecture you'll see.
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by frankie big face » Wed May 22, 2019 3:27 pm

I will go see your work campus because I like you and I think that will be entertaining. And I don't care how sarcastic that sounds - I am being serious.
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by owl » Wed May 22, 2019 3:27 pm

Ha, I bet I know where you work...
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by owl » Wed May 22, 2019 3:28 pm

(and if I'm correct, it is actually pretty cool to visit.)
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by ken » Wed May 22, 2019 3:49 pm

frankie big face wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 3:27 pm
I will go see your work campus because I like you and I think that will be entertaining. And I don't care how sarcastic that sounds - I am being serious.
I've seen it, and it is.
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by grumpymike » Wed May 22, 2019 7:03 pm

Aww Frank your sincerity broke the forum for an hour. I'm excited you're 90% coming and I hope the 10% does as well!
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by Lunkhead » Wed May 22, 2019 7:03 pm

Yeah, I'd check it out too! There's free food there too right?! :P
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by Pigfarmer Jr » Wed May 22, 2019 7:06 pm

ken wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 3:49 pm
frankie big face wrote:
Wed May 22, 2019 3:27 pm
I will go see your work campus because I like you and I think that will be entertaining. And I don't care how sarcastic that sounds - I am being serious.
I've seen it, and it is.
I haven't... and the wife is asking about what types of things we'll be doing. I'm for walking and we loved the lake front at night when we walked around it with Nancy. But I imagine some site seeing things for the wife and I to join in on would be welcome. She did say she'd stay in the hotel and read but I'm not sure that's the best way to ensure marital bliss. There is a slight chance that she'll not make the trip and I'll solo it on the motorcycle.. but it's not likely.
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by owl » Wed May 22, 2019 7:07 pm

OK, by request, fluffy, here's another, less commercial list of enrichment activities! I have family visiting this weekend so I'm thinking about stuff to do in Madison anyway.

Sightseeing, Part 1: Various Free Attractions. More to come later.
  • Grumpy Mike's workplace (I presume). It's cool. I'm not going to spoil it by telling you what's there, although I assume the major highlight of the tour is going to be Grumpy Mike's office, "where the magic happens."
  • The Capitol Building--lovely architecture, and you can go up on the roof for an awesome view of the city. There's a self-guided fossil tour where you can go through the building looking for trilobites and starfish embedded in the marble they used to build it. Our SF Live venue, The Rigby, is located just off the Capitol Square.
  • State Street--the heart of downtown Madison is the isthmus between our two major lakes, Mendota and Monona. The Capitol Square is on one end of what I (as a sophisticated urbanite) would consider "downtown"--the university, UW Madison, bookends it on the other side, and State Street runs between them. Car traffic is forbidden on State Street--buses, pedestrians, and bikes only. It's fun to just wander around and window shop and people watch here.
  • Dane County Farmer's Market--this takes place on the Capitol Square on Saturday mornings. It is the largest producers-only farmer's market in the nation. Some local food highlights include fresh cheese curds (they squeak between your teeth when you chew them!), juustoleipa (you can get free toasty pan-fried samples), and the cult favorite Stella's spicy cheese bread. If you don't like cheese, I guess you can buy a kohlrabi or something. (This market is huge and overwhelming and full of people, so I actually hardly ever do my actual food shopping here, but it's fun for tourists...)
  • The Memorial Union Terrace and the university in general--the student union is a beautiful huge old building that opens out onto this big lakefront terrace that everyone in Madison loooooves. There's a stage--I went to see Palehound here (the university hosts lots of good free shows!) and the lead singer called the union "a Hogwarts-themed airport," which seems pretty architecturally accurate. Gorgeous view of the lake; there are usually lots of cute dogs and ducks here to look at; you can sit outside on colorful metal chairs and drink beer or eat ice cream made by Babcock Hall (Dairy Studies at the School of Agriculture. It's good stuff). I believe you can rent kayaks here too. There's a really pretty lakefront walking path you can take from here to a little wilderness area called Picnic Point, and you can often see some cool wildlife along the way like cranes and turtles.
  • The Madison Museum of Contemporary Art--in a big glass building downtown, on State Street a block or two from the Capitol. It's not huge, but the exhibits are interesting and constantly changing. It has a nice rooftop garden thing.
  • Wisconsin Historical Museum, right on the square. This technically has free admission, but it's a suggested $5 donation. It's fun if you like creepy old dioramas. And history. There's a little exhibit about Les Paul, who's from Waukesha, WI, but sadly, I don't think they have any dusty uncanny valley wax models of him.
  • The Chazen Museum of Art--this is on the other end of State Street, on the university campus. It's huge and full of art. So much art. 4 floors of it! Old and new! I actually haven't made it all the way through this museum yet.
  • The UW Geology Museum--also on campus. I haven't been here yet, but I hear it's cool and there are excellent fossils and minerals to look at.
  • The Vilas Zoo--bequeathed to the city once upon a time by some rich people on the condition that admission should be free forever. It's also in the middle of a very nice city park and adjacent to the Arboretum. A+ capybaras, jungle conservatory, porcupine. In 1960, some monkeys escaped from the zoo into the city and they never found them.
  • The Arboretum--mentioned above--is, as the name suggests, a big tree-filled preserve with a lake and marsh in it, and it's great for hiking, jogging, biking, and wild turkey-spotting.
  • Olbrich Botanical Gardens--a lovely botanical garden--the outside is free, while the hothouse costs $2 to go into but is full of gorgeous orchids and tropical plants and quails and other birds roaming around inside. There is a golden Thai pavilion in the back of the gardens that was a gift from the Thai government. There's a biergarten on the lake in the park across the street where you can sit on picnic benches and drink beer (this is a common theme in a lot of Wisconsin attractions).
  • Elvis Plaque--I think I read that someone stole this recently so maybe it's not there anymore?! But if it IS there, it makes a small and interesting diversion if you're en route to the Guitar Shop of Wisconsin or... uh... Staples or Old Navy or something. This plaque on the lawn of a car dealership marks the spot where Elvis Presley jumped out of his limo on the way to a show and broke up a fight using his karate skills.
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by fluffy » Wed May 22, 2019 7:15 pm

That all sounds really neat!

Oh yeah, any recommendations about hotels to stay in or avoid? And best ways of getting to the city from the airport? (Lyft? Taxi? Transit? Or should I just rent a dang car?)
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Re: Song Fight! Live 2019 Location

Post by grumpymike » Wed May 22, 2019 7:40 pm

I mean, my work actually gives tours to random folks who show up, and it's listed on some tourist guides. I don't want to oversell it, because it's a bunch of office buildings, but they're office buildings that look like Disney World on the outside, so it's probably the only place you'll see something quite like it. We have a 11,000 person suspended ceiling auditorium built into a hillside.

I appreciate and concur with Owl's list, and humbly add the mustard museum, Pope Farm Conservancy, and American Player's Theater. I think they're fairly unique (it has nothing to do with their serendipitous proximity to my home base).

If you don't want to be disappointed, we should maybe focus on events rather than "hitting sites". We're an overgrown town, not a tourist city - and that's the charm! But we do have paddleboarding, tons of breweries that have tours, and quirky things like Mallards games.
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