Sawdust Days Music Festival Days 1-3


If you’re in Oshkosh, you either love or hate Sawdust Days.  The festivities, which take over the southern 2/3rds of Menominee Park, are entering their 43 year starting today (July 1 and running through July 5).  But carnies and social politics aside, most folks can agree that Sawdust Days annually brings together a great line-up of live music acts playing on multiple stages.  And that is where we’ll focus our attention today – the music of July 1 and 2 at Sawdust Days.  We’ll be back with days 4 and 5 tomorrow. Three stages will host music this year, including the exclusively-named Bud Light and Budweiser stages, along with the Sabor-A-Mexico stage.  The latter Sabor-A-Mexico stage typically features a mix of traditional mexican and latin music, along with other stage performances.  The poster for this stage can be found here.

The Bud Light “Variety Stage”

Music begins tonight at 7:00pm with an act from Little Vito & the Torpedoes.  The band covers songs from past eras, including “Rock Around the Clock” and “Footloose.”

Danny from Copper Box being attacked by an accordian.

Danny from Copper Box being attacked by an accordian.

Thursday July 2 music starts shortly after 1pm, and features Kenny James (1:30- 2:30pm), Dr. Kickbutt (3-4:30pm),  Happy Schnapps Combo (5- 6:30pm) and Copper Box with a double set from 7 – 10:30pm.

The Kickbutt team blends the sounds of burritos, slayer, Blatz beer, and sea horses into an orchestra-themed dramatics that leave you smiling, bouncing, and yearning for Nelly.  Happy Schnapps plays boastful polish-style Wisconsin beer and sauerkraut music, with accordion and harmonica beer polka.  Beer too.  Copper Box wraps up the night led by the Jerebek duo of husband wife combo Danny and Michelle, who feature an unending list of instruments from accordion, keys, vocals, cornet, sousaphone, bari saxophone, guitar, washboard, etc, etc, etc.). The group blends polka with the sounds of Louisiana and a bit of blues, and has become one of the areas finer purveyors of original music.

Cajun Strangers on Wisconsin Public Television

Friday, July 3rd music starts at 1pm featuring  Captain Red.  3 – 4:30pm was still TBD, but at 5pm the Cajun Strangers take the stage.  Unity the Band finishes the night with a double set from 7-10:30pm.

The Cajun Strangers hail from Madison, where they throw down energetic cajun style music filled with folk melodies and the need to dance.  Unity the Band plays original roots reggae with an accomplished sound with exceptional vocals and harmonies that is an ideal fit for a fine evening of music on the shores of Lake Winnebago.

The Budweiser Main Stage

Wednesday, July 1 features Johnny Wad Band from 7-10:30pm, playing cover songs from the 70s – 90s.

Thursday, July 2 music begins at 1pm with Cookee.  2-3:30pm the band The Hits take the stage, with Sly Joe & the Smooth Operators following up from 4 – 5:30pm.  At 6pm, Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin’ Alter Boys will throw down some blues, with Sawdust Days regular Andy’s Automatics finishing the night with a double set from 8-10:30pm.

Sly Joe & team bring original feel-good funk to the Fox Valley, while Reverend Raven grabs the audience and knocks them over the head with straight string-bending, seasoned blues.  The Automatics celebrate the blues rock midwestern hillbilly sounds of your gun-totin’, bare-back horse-ridin’ Lake Winnebago cowboy grandfather.  Watch out. dd

Friday, July 3rd music begins with Kenny James at 1pm.  A special tribute to the late blues guitarist Chris Aaron follows featuring Pat MacDonald & Purgatory Hill and the Velveetatones from 2:15 – 5:45pm.  At 6:15pm, Delilah DeWylde & the Lost Boys take the stage, with  Twistin Harvey & the 7 Sounds finishing the night.

Purgatory Hill – the video is below – watch it and love it.  The Velveetatones rock the blues as well, but thrown out heavy key leads that inflict impulsive shaking of the legs.  DD&TLB is a 3-piece rockabilly outfit out of Michigan with deadly female lead vocals and exceptional song craftsmanship. Headliner Twistin Harvey @ crew (featured image above) grabs a faded bucket, polishes the hell out of it, and throws in a bunch of Old Soul, Funk, R&B, Disco, Blues, DooWop, Jazz, Gospel, and pours it all over, filling the tent with the finest in late night park festival sounds you’ve always needed.



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Justin R. Mitchell

Justin is the founding editor of the Oshkosh Independent.

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