Paramount Music Festival« Back to Events
Are you aware of the great music history of Blues, Jazz, R&B, gospel, country, classical and more in… Ozaukee County? The Paramount Music Festival is! Yes, Grafton and Port Washington were music hotspots back in the day, hosting musicians and their studio sessions at Paramount Records. Thousands of recordings were made and millions of records were pressed in Grafton, laying groundwork for the most popular music genres to ever come out of this country from 1917 until 1932.
For a decade and a half, 78 rpm records were pressed and distributed to the nation, allowing artists such as Lawrence Welk, Blind Lemon Jefferson, Tom Dorsey and Louis Armstrong to inspire future music generations and lay the seeds for the R&B and Rock ‘N Roll Eras. Between 1929 and 1932 alone, over 1,600 songs were recorded in Grafton at a make-shift studio in the Wisconsin Chair Factory; the output accounted for about 1/4 of the so-called “race records” of the era. The musicians often came up from Milwaukee or Chicago by train, recorded in Grafton, and stayed overnights in Port Washington where Paramount and the Wisconsin Chair Company had their offices. So many major and influential musicians cut records here that it’s an official stop on the Mississippi Blues Trail!
On September 1-3, 2017, the Paramount Music Festival celebrates the centennial of the opening of Paramount Records and all the music it produced. Three days of incredible live music, food and family fun with local, regional and national musicians take the stage to celebrate the history of Paramount Records. This year’s artists include Starset, Whiskey of the Damned, Billy Branch, Corky Siegel, Reverend Raven, Cathy Grier, The Muddy Crowes and over 20 more performers!
The festivities take place along Lake Michigan in Port Washington’s Coal Dock Park, a cool venue with a history all its own. Additional activities take place just a few miles away in Grafton, where the festival originated and the Paramount Records facility once stood. There are shuttles available to get between venues and the two towns.
Tickets can be purchased here. They range from $25 for daily advance passes to $250 for a 3-day VIP pass. Get the full music lineup below!
Paramount Music Festival Lineup
Friday, September 1st
Gates open 4:00pm
4:30 – Lil Davy Max
5:30 – Matthew Curry
7:00 – Marquise Knox
8:30 – Greg Koch/Marshall Trio with special guests Billy Flynn & Jim Liban
Saturday, September 2nd
Gates open 11:30am
12:30 – Cathy Grier
1:30 – Joe Filisko & Eric Noden
3:15 – Alex Wilson
4:45 – Davy Knowles
6:45 – Shemekia Copeland
8:30 – Chicago Blues Legends celebrate Paramount Records with: Billy Branch, Corky Siegel, John Primer, Sam Lay, & Eddy “the Chief” Clearwater
Noon – Starkweather Bay Band
1:30 – Jonny T-Bird
3:00 – Jonny Millard & Friends
4:15 – Katz Sass
6:15 – The Waterstreet Hotshots
Sunday, September 3rd
1:30 – Muddy Crows
3:15 – Reverend Raven & the Chain Smokin’ Altar Boys with Westside Andy
5:45 – Nelson Street Revival
8:30 – STARSET
2:45 – Big Al Dorn & Jonny T-Bird
4:45 – Sue DaBaco & Double Down
7:15 – Whiskey of the Damned
Check their website for the full lineup of performers and activities!