WHAT:  The 3rd Annual Wabeno Art & Music Fest (WAM Fest) is set for Saturday, August 5th featuring live music on two stages, 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.

 WHEN:  Saturday, August 5th, 2017 — 10:00AM – 10:00PM

WHERE: Wabeno, Wisconsin.  Music performances will be held at the Wabeno Band Shell and the East Pavilion. 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.

MORE DETAILS: Live music kicks off at 10 a.m. on the Band Shell and Large Pavilion and runs all day. An evening concert has been added at the Band Shell beginning at 8:30 p.m.Piper Road Spring Band tight crop (800x444)  Piper Road Spring Band offers musical diversity from bluegrass through Irish fiddle tunes to American country, big band and classic rock. The band features Randal Harrison on fiddle, Bob Mason on mandolin, Mark Hembree on Bass, Barry Riese on guitar and vocals and Billy Kangaroo on washboard.

Five free mini art and music workshops for all ages will be held during the afternoon. Professional artists will lead the 30-40 minute creative discovery programs in the areas of fiddling (Randal Harrison), flute (Keith McGillivary), magic (Gizmo), acrylic painting (Judy Gosz) and cigar box guitar-making (Ken Dennison).

An Art Walk is planned. Fine artists who want to sell their unique, original, handcrafted items are invited to request an application to: Sue Bessert,

Back from last year will be the “Plein air” Art Competition. Artists who paint outdoors are invited to participate in a live outdoor painting competition and sale. Artwork painted that day will be available for purchase. According to event chairperson Mary Beck, “The Plein Air or live outdoor painting competition is in its second year and 100% of the fees go toward the winning purse!” Beck added, “The project has a community focus because artists select a landscape, downtown building or other outdoor location within two miles of the Wabeno Band Shell in the heart of town. That’s where they paint for the day and visitors can view painting in action, plus purchase the art!”

by Gary Baum

What is a Plein Air?
En plein air (French pronunciation: [ɑ̃ plɛn ɛːʁ]), or plein air painting, is a phrase borrowed from the French equivalent meaning “open (in full) air”. It is particularly used to describe the act of painting outdoors, also called French: peinture sur le motif means painting of the object(s) or what the eye actually sees. A painter reproduces the actual visual conditions seen at the time of the painting. This method contrasts with studio painting or academic rules; those might create a predetermined look. WAM Fest Plein Air Competition will offer a purse for first and second place as judged by a juried committee.

The outdoor painting begins anytime between 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. and runs until 2 p.m. on Saturday, August 5th. Artists supply their own paints and canvas that is no larger than 16”x 20”. Media may include oils, acrylics, watercolors, pastels, wax encaustic and gouache. Framed, ready-to-hang paintings will be sold at the artist’s selected price during the “buy it now” period 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the WAM Fest grounds. An additional opportunity to sell their art is also available at a private art auction in town that evening. Artists may submit up to three paintings.

Artists interested in participating in the Plein Air Competition can open this document to review rules and complete a registration form: Plein Air rules and registration

Also back from last year with a new twist is the Jr. Rembrandt activity. Children are invited to be an artist by painting their own work of art; supplies provided at no cost. Jr. Rembrandt activity takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the kid’s area by the Logging Museum. Kids can get their picture taken with their art in the “artsy” photo booth. Judging this year is optional. Top artist in each age category will receive art supplies and be recognized on the Band Shell at 3:45 p.m.

Local artist Gary Baum is the featured artist for this year’s art raffle. Baum’s painting of the newly built boardwalk along the trout stream that goes through town will be available to win along with additional original local art. Art raffle drawing is set for 6:30 p.m. A $1000 winner will be drawn at 9 p.m. at the Band Shell through a 50-50 raffle contest sponsored by Friends of Wabeno. Proceeds go toward hosting the 2018 WAM Fest.

WAM Fest is hosted by Friends of Wabeno and sponsored in part by Wisconsin Arts Board, the National Endowment for the Arts, Potawatomi Carter Casino and WXPR.

Questions?  Contact us at or call us at 608-628-0757.  Add us on Facebook here

Pictures from past WAMfests:

This page was last updated on July 13, 2017

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