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Your guide for the 2023 Summer Soulstice festival

Since Wisconsin weather can’t seem to make up its stupid mind, there’s an actual date on the calendar signifying the official start of summer: next Wednesday, June 21, also known as the summer solstice. Then there’s the unofficial start of summer ‘round these parts: Summer Soulstice, the East Side festival that returns this Saturday, June 17.

Befitting a celebration of the longest day on the calendar, the free event runs from noon to midnight, packing just a ton of stuff into those 720 minutes. We’re talking 28 acts on four different stages, 46 vendors peddling everything from jewelry to essential oils and cookies to cheese curds.

You’ll be able to find all of those things on the festival grounds bordered by Kenilworth Place to the north (roughly), Ivanhoe Place to the south, Farwell Avenue to the west and Prospect Avenue to the east (see the map below for more exact cardinal directions). You can enter near the North Point Water Tower on the east end, as well as what organizers call a “crossroads” post (possibly near Crossroads Collective?) on the west end.

East Side BID #20

Really, your experience at Summer Soulstice is only limited by your desire to walk around the East Side. Yes, there will be food-and-drink vendors on the festival grounds serving up treats, Asian street food, barbecue and other good stuff. But the East Side bars, restaurants and other shops will be open throughout the day, including many right up to and past the festival’s midnight finish.

Based solely on the music lineup, you’re going to want to stick as late as possible. The local representation is fierce, including this week’s last-minute-ish addition of NilexNile on the Kenilworth Stage (which we’re proudly sponsoring) at 9:30 p.m. You can also catch the likes of Bug Moment, Spider Creek, Fellow Kinsman, Wave Chapelle and Collections of Colonies of Bees as part of an entertainment slate that literally starts the moment the festival opens and wraps up just before Sunday officially starts.

You can check out the full music and vendor lineup below, and visit the Summer Soulstice website for more information about this year’s event.

Kenilworth Stage

  • 12:30 p.m. — Bug Moment
  • 2 p.m. — Robot Witch
  • 3:30 p.m. — Lake Drive
  • 5 p.m. — Spider Creek
  • 6:30 p.m. — Rx Drugs
  • 8 p.m. — Mark Waldoch & The Hallelujah Ward
  • 9:30 p.m. — NilexNile

Ivanhoe Stage

  • Noon — School of Rock
  • 1:30 p.m. — Fellow Kinsman
  • 3 p.m. — Hanna Simone
  • 4:30 p.m. — Holy Pinto
  • 6 p.m. — Julien Kozak
  • 7:30 p.m. — Wave Chapelle
  • 9 p.m. — Wire & Nail
 A crowd of people dancing and talking in an alleyway with brightly colored murals and a musician performing in the middle.
East Side BID #20
Black Cat Alley at a recent Summer Soulstice festival.

Black Cat Alley

  • Noon — DJ Why B
  • 1:30 p.m. — DJ MIA
  • 3 p.m. — Will Mitchell
  • 4:30 p.m. — Delilac
  • 6 p.m. — Don Black
  • 7:30 p.m. — Greyhound
  • 9 p.m. — Asher Grey

Farwell Stage

  • 1 p.m. — BD Greer and The Gents
  • 2:30 p.m. — The Kal Bergendahl Project
  • 4 p.m. — Allison Mahal
  • 5:30 p.m. — Tigera
  • 7 p.m. — Astral Hand
  • 8:30 p.m. — Strangelander
  • 10 p.m. — Collections of Colonies of Bees
 A vendor selling kettle corn under a bright yellow tent at a street festival with several multi-story building nearby.
East Side BID #20

Vendors

Food/Treats

  • BB Cakes
  • Chillwaukee
  • Frankie’s Restaurant and Catering
  • Junior’s BBQ
  • Milwokee Asian Street Food
  • Pop’s Market Place
  • T. Best Kettle Korn
  • Wisconsin Fried Cheese Curds
  • Uyghur Grill
  • Yadeem’s On the Go

Arts/Crafts

  • Abbey Bell Does
  • Africa Alive
  • Amoura Candle
  • Barefoot Fox Designs
  • Beard MKE
  • Birdsongs
  • Boho Designs by Katya
  • Clay Creations by Kayla
  • Empress Roots
  • For the Love of Drax
  • FlyBlooms by Funky Fly Flowerchild
  • Hands of Henna by Anita
  • Happy Buddha Boutique
  • Imperial 3D Printing & Design
  • Ina Maka
  • James Steeno Gallery
  • Jennifer Froh Jewelry
  • Jóvenes con Talento
  • Jungle Gems Vintage
  • Kristalyzed Kreations
  • Ladi Nayaase
  • Legacy Creative Solutions
  • Linny’s Artsy Fingers
  • Midwest Shores
  • My Sistuhs Trunk
  • Nobody’s Bizznis Plus Boutique
  • Paloma Walder Studio
  • Papyrus & Charms
  • Soap & Dagger
  • Third Eye Fern
  • Thom J. Ertl Designs
  • Too Much Metal
  • Vadose Orchid
  • Wiskullsin
  • Xeroine Illustration