Just north of Dodgeville, in the little town of Spring Green, you’ll find a music venue that just might be one of the best in the whole country. It’s called The Sh*tty Barn, but talk to anybody who’s played there – or been in the audience – and they’ll most likely tell you it’s pretty darn nice.
It’s the baby of Spring Green resident Chris Staples, and was originally purchased to be the home of Furthermore Beer (that’s another story we’ll get to down the road) when Staples was still a partner in that venture. Public musical performances first came to The Barn at Furthermore’s annual “Sh*tty Barn Party,” when the brewers would bring in a few bands and open up the taps. After a couple of those well-attended events, The Barn was proving to be a better spot for bands than brewing. So, back in 2010, the Sh*tty Barn Sessions began, with a handful of shows throughout the summer featuring a few independent artists with roots in Wisconsin and Minnesota. In keeping with the laid-back atmosphere, concert goers were encouraged to bring along dinner and eat before the show on the barn grounds. Grills were fired up for general use and some of that delicious Furthermore Beer was available to help wash things down. Interest in the shows grew and the buzz began to spread from Spring Green to Madison.
Based on the success of those early shows, the Sessions became a weekly event in 2011. In fact, it wasn’t long before word spread through the musician community, and artists wanting to play this unique little concert hall were getting in touch with Chris. Now, every Wednesday evening (and occasionally on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday), one or two bands are booked in. Some indy, some folky, some bluesy. All intimate and right there on The Barn floor. No stage, and pretty much no seating. Bring your own lawn chair and grab a spot. The musicians are close enough to touch. And with a capacity of 80 (okay, sometimes that might get stretched a little) everybody’s guaranteed a great view and a one-of-a-kind musical experience.
Four years on, The Sh*tty Barn continues to bring new artists, favorite alums and even some bona fide stars in every week. The season’s winding down for this year (since there’s no heat in the barn, shows wrap up in October), but there are still a few weeks of music left. Upcoming shows include Milwaukee’s own Field Report, Communist Daughter out of Minneapolis and English guitar wizard Adrian Legg. If you live in the area, plan to be in the area, or love to see music off the beaten path, you owe it to yourself to get to a show at The Sh*tty Barn. And soon.
You can find the rest of this year’s schedule along with more info and tickets, right here.
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