Robby Cox
Robby Cox

As regular readers of this column know by now, Madison is Indiana’s Music City. So when we have any kind of event, be it a boat race, an arts fair or a soup and stew fest, we’re by golly gonna have music, too. And that’s not even counting our pure music festivals, of which we can boast several now.

The annual Soup, Stew, Chili & Brew Festival just keeps getting bigger every year. Lindsay Bloos at the Madison Chamber of Commerce said the festival, which is Oct. 12 this year, has doubled in size and attendance in just a few short years. And the breadth and quality of the music keeps growing, too.

“Music has always been part of the DNA of Soup Stew,” said Rusty Bladen. “John Walburn started out as the music coordinator, and I took over after he passed. It started out with just one stage and two or three bands, and now we’ve grown to three stages and eleven music acts this year.

“One of the big reasons we’ve been able to grow the festival, and the music in particular, is the involvement of some great sponsors. This year Walmart came on board and sponsored all the music, which is very exciting.

“Our philosophy is to keep it acoustic-based, and to focus on solo and duo acts. Our stages are too close together to feature loud bands. The stages are currently all on Main Street, but as things keep growing, we might put stages down some of the side streets, we’ll see.

“Another thing we pride ourselves on is featuring more local acts. We have a few out-of-towners coming for sure, and we’re very excited about them. But we like to make sure all of our great local talent gets showcased. Next year we’ll be looking for some jazz acts, maybe pop, and I’d like to try some hardcore country.

“Like I said, most of the acts are local but we have some great outside talent coming in, too. Kade Puckett is an Indiana state fingerpicking guitar champion. Britton Patrick Morgan is an amazing singer-songwriter out of Louisville. And from Nashville, we have Amanda Webb on keyboard.”

All the sets are 45 minutes, kicking things off with Jimmy Davis and Bill Lancton at 11 a.m. Charlie Rohlfing (that’s me!) is next at 11:30 a.m., Robert Reynolds and Darryl Hewitt at noon, 2 Buck Chuck at 12:30 p.m., Britton Patrick Morgan at 12:45 p..m., Amy Noel at 1:30 p.m., Jordan Wilson at 2 p.m., Rusty Bladen at 2 p.m. (different stage), Robby Cox at 3 p.m., Kade Puckett at 3:15 p.m., and finishing up with Amanda Webb at 3:30 p.m.

“If you are a musician and you’d like to be considered for next year’s line-up, submit your name and music samples to Lindsay Bloos at the Madison Chamber of Commerce.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Rusty said. “I get up at 6 in the morning, start setting up stages and sound. My brother Rick helps me every year, and Gary Duckworth is helping too. Not only do I organize the music, but I’ve performed every year of the festival except one,” he said. “I like being involved, and I feel like it’s a way of giving back to the community.”


Thursday at Red Bicycle Hall, the incomparable Black Lillies will visit Madison one more time. Our town has a long love affair with this Knoxville-based country-rock band, ever since it first played RiverRoots. The show starts at 7 p.m., so you can still make your weeknight bedtime! On Saturday the Elks Lodge is celebrating its 120th anniversary with a big party. The Marlinaires will be playing, and they evoke a real sweet sense of nostalgic charm. They take you right back to the days when all the social clubs used to host dances all the time.

Charlie Rohlfing is a retired advertising man and partner in The Red Bicycle Hall music venue. Look for his distinctive fedora bobbing above the crowd, anywhere live local music is happening.

THIS WEEK IN MUSIC: October 3, 2019

Thursday, October 3:

Off Broadway Taproom – Brady Meenach

Red Bicycle Hall – The Black Lillies (7 p.m.)

Friday, October 4:

Off Broadway Taproom – Nick Dittmeier & the Sawdusters

Vevay Opera House – Lagniappe (7 p.m.)

Rembrandts – Leonard Miller at the piano

Red Roaster – The Chestnuts (6-8 p.m.)

Saturday, October 5:

Off Broadway Taproom – Famous Amy Noel Band

Thomas Family Winery – Tom Roznowski

Elks Lodge – Marlinaires

Rembrandts – Leonard Miller at the piano

Goodwill Cons. Club – Bluegrass show (5 p.m.)

Sunday, October 6:

Mad Paddle Brewery – The Pine Road Players

Off Broadway Taproom – Davy or Daryl