Kerry G. Hill
Participants in the 2011 edition of Busking for Books perform on the 400 block of State Street.
The performers who'll be along State Street on Saturday during the Busking For Books fundraiser can't use amplification, but expect them to make a lot of noise and quite a variety of it.
About 25 acts will be posted along State Street from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with guitar cases open for donations that go right toward efforts by the local nonprofit Literacy Network to provide free English and literacy tutoring to Dane County's adults. Last year's event raised about $1,200, Volunteer and Outreach Coordinator Shawn Steen says.
Sure, there will be plenty of acoustic pleasantness to go around, courtesy of groups like Oak Street Ramblers, Sparetime Bluegrass, Evan Murdock and the Imperfect Strangers, and the Barley Brothers (which features Literacy Network executive director Jeff Burkhart). But there will be plenty to jar people along the way: Black Star Drum Line will move from Library Mall up to the corner of State and Lake, and Steen expects that "They're going to blast out the next block."
Last year's top donation-getter, throat-singing mischief-maker DB Pedersen, will be out in front of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art. Pedersen says he'll be performing solo with his drone-producing shruti box, "pulling rabbits out of my larynx-hat." He's likely to make plenty of spot-on livestock noises for the kids, but promises "no balloon animals," and perhaps unnecessarily, "no mimes."
Also among the assortment this year are Stu Levitan, Jon Zarov, the Mad City Jugband and members of the Madison Area Ukulele Initiative. Steen points out that some of Lit Network's learners have ended up performing before as well.
Here is the Busking for Books 2012 lineup:
- Library Mall/State and Lake: Black Star Drum Line
- State and Frances: Anna and Emily
- State and Gilman: Sparetime Bluegrass; Ambulatones; Winn Dixie
- State and Broom: Evan Murdock and the Imperfect Strangers; Madison Area Ukulele Initiative
- Lisa Link Peace Park: Ad Hoc String Band
- State and Gorham: Rachel Drapcho and Noah Phillips; Northern Pikers; Jonathan Zarov; Unibummer
- State and Johnson: Original Mechanical Mouse; Hanna Luree; Mad Celts; The Stu Levitan Experience; DB Pedersen
- State and Henry: Studio B Jazz Band
- State and Fairchild: Percy; Mad City Jug Band
- State and Dayton: The Banned Wagon; The Weary Traveler Free Band
- State and Carroll: Oak Street Ramblers: The Barley Brothers
"So many of our adult learners come to us through word of mouth," Steen says.
Plus, the response from local musicians has quite clearly been strong. Steen adds that organizers had to turn away about a half-dozen acts this year.