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A guide to the 2023 Brady Street Festival

An artist's view of the crowd at the 2016 Brady Street Festival.
An artist's view of the crowd at the 2016 Brady Street Festival.

Do you know what big events love? Multiples of five. If it’s the something-th (10th, 20th, etc) or something-fifth anniversary of something, they go all out — Summerfest’s celebration of its 55th being the most recent example.

However, there are organizations that zig when others zag, choosing not to make a big deal of a nice round number. Take Brady Street Festival, which held its first gathering June 10, 1973. Some quick math indicates this year’s event is its 50th anniversary. Yet, at least in the press materials I’ve received, the half-century wasn’t mentioned even once.

The first Brady Street Festival in 1973.
Milwaukee Public Library
The first Brady Street Festival in 1973.

Was this an intentional choice by the Brady Street Business Improvement District (BID #11)? Did they just not realize the significance of this year’s festival? Is my math wrong? All equally possible.

Regardless, the celebration starts at noon this Saturday, July 29, and goes all day before wrapping up at 11 p.m. It’s free to attend; just get yourself to Brady Street between Van Buren Street and Farwell Avenue. If parking is tough to find, The Hop does make a couple stops on Ogden Avenue, leaving you a roughly four-block walk to the festival. So you could always find a place for your car pretty much anywhere on the streetcar’s route, ride to Ogden and hoof it from there.

Once you’re within the festival grounds, you’ll have five stages of entertainment, 85 vendors and a whole bunch of local businesses to occupy your time. You can find the full performance schedule below (with a few artists our stations have featured in bold) and a long list of vendors on the BID #11 website.

Bud Light East Stage

  • Noon — Kid Boogie Down
  • 2:30 p.m. — True Skool Showcase
  • 4 p.m. — OneDrum – Musical Life
  • 5:30 p.m. — Sypher Lady X with DJ GetMoses
  • 7 p.m. — Zach Petrini
  • 8:30 p.m. — The Erotic Adventures of Static Chicken
  • 10 p.m. — Abby Jeanne

North Shore Bank Center Stage

  • Noon — Peter Thomas
  • 1:30 p.m. — Heirloom
  • 3:30 p.m. — Listening Party
  • 5 p.m. — Diet Lite
  • 6:30 p.m. — The Steph Lippert Project
  • 8 p.m. — Moonglow
  • 9:30 p.m. — Klassik

Smirnoff and Bacardi West Stage

  • Noon — Dog Yoga
  • 1:30 p.m. — carisa
  • 3 p.m. — Mr. Lotus Fanhk
  • 4:30 p.m. — Matthú
  • 5:30 p.m. — Evan Lane
  • 7:00 p.m. — Mrs. Fun
  • 8:30 p.m. — Brady St. Babes Drag Show

Lillipad (inside Lilliput Records)

  • 2 p.m. — Grey Genius
  • 3:30 p.m. — Okay Omen
  • 5 p.m. — Emmitt James
  • 6:30 p.m. — Bug Moment

Nashville North Stage (inside Nashville North)

  • 11 a.m. — Hannah Simone with Elly Bird
  • 1 p.m. — Maddie Joe Duo
  • 3 p.m. — Wapatui
  • 7 p.m. — Joe Wray