The four-day event features concerts at a number of local venues on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and a barbecue on Sunday in Cathedral Square Park.
The $16,200 provided by the grants helps pay for bands, festival production and other artistic needs.
Although "Radio Summer Camp" raises some money for WMSE, fundraising is not the main goal of the festival, says promotions director Ryan Schleicher.
"It's not a primary fundraiser, but it has the possibility to be so. The current value in Radio Summer Camp is visibility," he says. "Or awareness. Not just for the station, but for Milwaukee's local music community. We're trying to bring great visibility to the great music our city is making by mixing some of those bands with respected national acts."
Among the acts featured are local bands like The Goodnight Loving, Collections of Colonies of Bees, .357 String Band, Codebreaker and Def Harmonic.
Band of Horses, Neon Indian, John Doe, Carolina Chocolate Drops and Southern Culture on the Skids are some of the national acts on the ticket.
The Goodnight Loving's show -- Saturday at 10 p.m. at Linneman's Riverwest Inn -- is one of the most exciting of the entire festival. It is the record release party for the Milwaukee band's debut Dirtknap Records disc, "The Goodnight Loving Supper Club," which has been garnering national attention for its uptempo genre-smash.
The record's 15 songs run the gamut from the spaghetti western of "It's a Long Way in a Bad Way," to the British Invasion jangle of "Earworm" to the rootsy rumble of "Bike + Stick" to the almost surf-y "Ramble Jamble."
Stay tuned as we'll have a full-length interview with the band next week.
Since "Radio Summer Camp" is still new, Schleicher says the WMSE staff is learning the ropes, but that it's an exciting process.
"It's really still in its infancy as a WMSE event compared to the Rockabilly Chili Contest and Food Slam," he notes.
"The latter two events have grown into their own distinctive brands and are, at this point, much more recognizable than Radio Summer Camp. We're still trying to figure out the ins and outs of putting on a festival. It's a nine-month process, and a process we have a lot of room to improve upon. The festival is going to be really fun, but it's only going to get better."
With so many acts on offer, we asked Schleicher about what he's most looking forward to.
"It depends on which staff member you ask," he says. "I'm really excited for Samantha Crain and The Loom. (Volunteer coordinator Chris) DeMay is stoked for John Doe and Scott Lucas. (Station manager Tom) Crawford is geeked for Red Baraat and Spires That in the Sunset Rise. (Underwriting director) Dori (Zori) for Codebreaker and You, You're Awesome.
"I know a bunch of our DJs are really looking forward to Jack Oblivian. That's kind of the beauty of this whole thing. It represents our program format pretty well, so there's probably something for everyone without it being watered down."
Radio Summer Camp festival passes, which gain entry to every Radio Summer Camp show Thursday-Saturday, are available through Brown Paper Tickets and are a steal at only $25.
A complete schedule of performances is here. The Backyard BBQ -- which starts at 11 a.m. -- features live music and is free. -- Bobby Tanzilo
A week earlier, this would have made a tasty Summerfest bill.
Better late than never, we say. Sublime With Rome headlines The Rave on Wednesday night (tickets cost $34 and $44), on a bill that includes Matisyahu and Dirty Heads.
Original Sublime members Bud Gaugh and Eric Wilson met Rome, a 21-year-old native of northern California, and began performing club dates together last year that spawned a tour and an upcoming album. --Drew Olson
Forget the alt-country label. The Old 97s are one of the stronger live bands working today. With a new record due this fall, Rhett Miller and friends head to town for a show Thursday night at The Pabst. The 97s mix elements of Buddy Holly, Bobby Fuller and Gram Parsons with a little bit of Replacements-style edge for good measure. David Wax Museum will open the show, which costs $20 in advance and $22 at the door. Look for a preview of this show on Wednesday here at OnMilwaukee.com. --D.O.