WHAT:  The 4th Annual Wabeno Art & Music Fest (WAM Fest) is set for Saturday, August 4th featuring live music, fine art sales, “plein air” competition, “arty” activities for kids, mini art and music workshops, unique and traditional-festival food, drink, art and 50-50 raffles and more. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in historic downtown Wabeno, Highway 32 in Forest County.

WHAT’S NEW THIS YEAR:  Local historical folk music and folk art will comprise a new component of the festival.

 WHEN:  Saturday, August 4th, 2018 — 10:00AM – 10:00PM

WHERE: Wabeno, Wisconsin.  Music performances will be held at the Wabeno Band Shell. On the green in front of the Logging Museum there will be an open-air art competition, as well as a food & drink concession, and a children’s stage.  Several locations along North Branch Street (Hwy 32) will be open, including restaurants, bars and shops along the street.


Headliner Musical Group: Water Street Jacks


Water Street Jacks is an Americana band out of Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin. Educators by day, the band grew out of getting together to play for students at a staff variety show at Sauk Prairie Middle School where Ted Harter (lead vocals and rhythm guitar) is the principal and Hans Fester (drums, harmonica, vocals) is a Physical Education Teacher. Along the way Ted and Hans picked up two Sauk Prairie High School staff members: Vocal Music Teacher, Matt Brennan (keys, vocals) and School Counselor, Owen Murphy (mandolin, vocals). They formed The Jacks and began to play in earnest in 2016 for local events and at their home pub, The Woodshed Ale House.

All of the members have strong musical backgrounds. Harter grew up playing trombone, singing and acting at Wabeno High School and milking cows to late 80’s/early 90’s country on the radio in his family’s dairy barn. Fester was a drummer and front man in punk bands in the late 80’s like Drop Forge and Skip Tracer out of Milwaukee. Murphy formed the bluegrass group Old Farm Dog with a lifelong friend a few years ago which was recognized in 2015 as Madison Area Music Awards Country/Bluegrass Performer of the Year. And Brennan, a Sauk Prairie native, studied music at Drake University and has taken over a storied and renowned music program as the Vocal Music Teacher at Sauk Prairie High School; his musicals, show choirs and vocal soloists routinely win competitions across Southern Wisconsin as well as in Illinois, Iowa, and Minnesota. While their musical roots are different, they share a love for the folk, Americana, and alt-country music that has a foundation laid by artists like John Prine, Bob Dylan, and Bruce Springsteen and has recently made a resurgence thanks to groups like Mumford and Sons, The Avett Brothers, The Lumineers, The Head and the Heart, and Old Crow Medicine Show.

Since 2016, the band has collaborated to write and play over a dozen original songs along with the covers they play. River and Someday (Fester), Where to Stay and Heart of the Wilderness (Harter), and Step Out on the Stage and Adalie (Murphy) all pull together the musical backgrounds, tastes, and life experiences of this fun group of guys. Recently they changed the bands name to Water Street Jacks to reflect its beginnings at The Woodshed, everyone’s favorite corner pub on Jackson and Water in Sauk City.

Water Street Jacks prides itself on killer four-part harmonies, devilish good looks, and the only Mando-Strat this side of Nashville! In the Summer of 2018 they can be seen all around the Madison area at venues like Tyranena Brewery in Lake Mills, Yahara Bay Distillers in Fitchburg, Concert at the Portage in Portage, and at the Vintage Brewing Company and the Fire on the River festival in Sauk City. And of course, they are very proud to headline WAM Fest right here in Wabeno, WI.

This page was last updated on April 26, 2018

2 thoughts on “

  1. Last year I played a later set under one of the picnic shelters as a local entertainer. Are you going to have music in the shelter again? Will you have an Open Mic stage as well?
    Also what kind of music workshops are you thinking about?
    I have enjoyed WAM Fest since it started. Congratulations on your 4th year.
    Thank you,
    Pat Schwenke


  2. Hi Pat, We are trying something new this year. We have added a folk and local traditions and art to WAM Fest. This includes about 14 individuals demonstrating their art or performing a cultural tradition. For example, the Woodland Sky Native Dance company will take the stage and dance to illustrate a native story telling through dance. With that said, we have a full roster for this year. Sorry about that. Please keep us in mind for next season. Thank you for asking about us. –Mary Beck


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