A block party to top all block parties
“Beer that brings people together”
By Kira Doman
Every Friday this summer, starting May 27, Badger State Brewing will host a Summer Block Party, which will include food trucks, music and a long list of beer. The evenings are free and will take place outside at the Badger State Brewing Beer Garden.
Bring your pups and your friends for multiple evenings of alternative local music, fragrant food and locally crafted beer.
Jen Radloff, event and entertainment director, and Nicole Poley, social media marketing manager, said their team began preparing for this event back in November. Radloff said they began reaching out to bands and food trucks and things began falling into place.
“We’re going to do some giveaways throughout the season,” Poley said, “because we’ve got some tickets and stuff we’ll give away as well.”
Radloff said the event was crafted in part by staff and general manager Tom Johnson, back when Badger State Brewing was still starting out and its team was much smaller, and they wanted an event they could all attend together.
“We don’t want to drive every summer to go to Summer Fest,” Radloff said. “We don’t want to have to travel to see good music. It should be accessible. And we thought that Green Bay was really lacking in an alternative style music festival.”
She said it started out as a one-day block party back in 2017, where the brewery grounds were transformed into a fairground of sorts, but last year they modified the event to a weekly series.
“The series ends up actually being a better turnout in the long run, because then there are multiple sets of music,” Poley said. “People who can’t get here one weekend can come next weekend. The rotating food trucks. Every single weekend there’s something going on outside that’s free for people to attend.”
Radloff said it’s morphed into its “own little monster over the years, and it’s working.”
Along with the free shows every Friday, Badger State Brewing is also hosting one paid show from 3-10 p.m. Saturday, June 25. Boris the Sprinkler, The Ergs, Butcher’s Union, The Leg Hounds and the MINORS & the DUIs will be performing for the Neo-Spectacular 30th Anniversary Show. Tickets are $15 in advance, and $20 the night of.
“That’ll be the only paid one,” Radloff said. “But most of the bands were found through music agencies, and then we have some regular returning local artists that we bring back year after year.”
Radloff said Johnson has been booking performers for more than 20 years, both nationally-touring and local artists, leading to very strong connections in the music industry.
“We like original artists,” she said. “So we’re not big on cover bands unless it’s for some of our themed events. Cover bands are great, we just want to showcase bands that are working to put out their own content. So we typically book indie alternative, rockabilly, country-folk styles, rock ‘n’ roll – you name it. We’ve probably had it here.”
Poley said bands are welcome to sell their merchandise during the show.
“So if they want to sell their T-shirts and CDs or records, I guess is the retro thing now, they’re welcome to do that too,” she said.
Radloff said one band has performed at every one of the block parties.
“They’re called Four on the Floor, and they’re out in Minneapolis,” she said. “They actually do a fun end of the night thing, where the last hour they will take requests, and they have basically a jukebox variety of songs that they know how to play and sing. So for additional tips, you can tip them like 20 bucks and they will play that song that you request.”
Badger State Brewing’s Friday Night Food Trucks events start on April 22 and will continue throughout the summer for the Summer Block Party series. Poley said food trucks offered at the block party will alternate based on which ones have availability, and which have proved to be successful in the past years – such as Caribbean Taste, Aftershock Smokers, the Boo-Yah Shed and Oley’s Pizza.
“It’s dependent on their schedule,” she said. “They want to come and serve food, they will come and serve food. We also pay attention to what our customers like. So we bring back a lot of the same ones because they can serve a larger audience in a faster amount of time.”
Food trucks arrive at 5 p.m., and stay open until 9 p.m. The shows start at 7 p.m. The Badger State Brewing taproom will be open for beer orders.
“We want people to come out and have a really good time,” Poley said. “I mean, it’s beer, music and outdoors. You can’t really beat it.”
Kira Doman is an editor and freelance journalist who graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Green Bay in the Spring of 2021.