The Rebel Music Stage is an original independent stage that is bringing in local bands at Milwaukee’s Summerfest. 90 bands will be playing at the Stage this summer and this year especially, the Rebel Music Stage will be featuring a different genre every day like old school punk, EDM, hip hop, and female-fronted metal.
The idea started with Eoin McCarthy and his band Whiskey of the Damned. After busking outside of Summerfest, they were able to play at the Tiki Stage because of a cancellation. Whiskey of the Damned decided to continue to play each day at Summerfest by laminating passes for the Tiki Stage. After getting busted though, a Summerfest official decided to give them an available spot to play each year despite not being sponsored by the music festival because of their huge response.
Since it’s beginning in 2008, The Rebel Music Stage has now evolved into a DIY stage run by artists and for artists at the world’s largest music festival. Although they have a following well beyond Summerfest, McCarthy and fellow volunteers work hard to bring justice to the Milwaukee music scene. Although the struggle of managing Whiskey of the Damned and a stage at such a big festival can be time consuming, McCarthy claims that the fully-volunteered staff is incredibly supportive. Original artists are showcased, and those very musicians are the people who set bands up, sling merch, and overall keep the Stage running. McCarthy also gets to play with some of his favorites from the local scene, and is most excited about the female-fronted metal bands that will be highlighted as the theme for one of the days.
Supporting the unique edge of homegrown music is something we here at the Midwest Music Collective are proud of, and McCarthy encourages MMC readers to “Go to a show. Support local music. Make a scene.” You can keep up with the Rebel Music Stage on Facebook and find out about the lineup, and upcoming shows.