The Squeaky Curd is prepping for Summerfest 2017 by previewing a few hand-selected musical acts our readers should not miss. For the day by day recommendation breakdowns, make sure to check back here each Monday of June leading up until the festival on the 28th. If you’d rather let your ears do the choosing, follow along with our curated Youtube Playlist, found right here.

Less than two weeks out from Summerfest 2017! Our media passes are in-hand, and we’re ready to add another 3 days to our ongoing preview of which lesser-known free stage acts you definitely should put on your own itinerary. Days 7-9 coming in hot:


Day 7: Wednesday, July 5

T-Pain may be on a boat, but we’re in the crowds for these acts:

Welshly Arms (8:00 PM @ Johnson Control’s World Stage)

Vocal power and driving beat grab you, but it’s Welshly Arm’s blues/rock backbone that sets the stage for songs you’ll feel in your bones.

Uprising (6:00 PM @ BMO Harris Pavilion)

It wouldn’t be a great Summerfest if there weren’t spot-on cover bands, and Uprising is Milwaukee’s best. You have to be quite the draw to get a nighttime slot on the second largest stage at the fest. Plus, their keyboardist is Milwaukee’s preeminent piano man.

Ethan Keller Group (8:00 PM @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard)

Local boys hitting the high notes and mixing funk, acoustic, and light rock is what Ethan Keller Group is all about. Set the mood at their 8PM set before moshing with the headliners.


Day 8: Thursday, July 6

A second night of Tom Petty is great, but for one-night only you should see these bands:

Tegan & Sara (10:00 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage)

Twins Tegan & Sara have been simultaneously showing up on pop radio stations while also flying under the musical radar for nearly two decades. But their latest album is gaining traction in the mainstream as they also become vocal supporters of LGBT issues. Also, this song/video is just oozing subtle sexuality.

D’Amato (4:15 PM @ Johnson Control’s World Stage)

It’s hard to place exactly what Milwaukee’s 1-to-12 piece band D’Amato exactly is, but what it is easy to say is you won’t see another act quite like them at Summerfest.

Tucker Beathard (8:00 PM @ U.S. Cellular Connection)

A newcomer in the national music scene, or any music scene for that matter, Tucker Beathard is hitting the airwaves running with his first single off his first album. But his country twang is polished with deep guitar rifts and pop beats.


Day 9: Friday, July 7

Huey Lewis & The News for one generation, Walk The Moon for another will both be bringing major hits to free stages. But don’t overlook these others:

Ben Rector (10:00 PM @ U.S. Cellular Connection)

Every song on Ben Rector’s new album (let’s be honest, his whole discography) makes me feel all the feelings. His approachable style instantaneously strikes emotional chords. This one’ll be a fun one.

Michelle Branch (8:00 PM @ U.S. Cellular Connection)

Yes, yes, Michelle Branch will undoubtedly end her set with the old hits you loved in middle school. But it’s her new sound, a simultaneous throwback to glam electropop and new-age synthrock that’s poised to tear up today’s charts.

Vinyl Theatre (8:30 PM @ Miller Lite Oasis Stage)

Young upstarts Vinyl Theatre hit it big a couple years back with their mix of today’s pop-punk sound, but their roots lie in their Milwaukee hometown. A new album has them out on tour again, ready for a raucous local crowd.


Summerfest starts Wednesday, June 28; we’ll finish with our last preview article next Monday to cover Days 10-11.

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