Slurp up these festival stories packed with vitamins, minerals and everything you need to spike your summer fun. The Summer Festivals Guide is brought to you by Punch Bowl Social. Come on in – it's time we all win at adulting.
You never know who you'll find at Summerfest – and that includes on the actual stages.
Two years ago, that happened to me as I was holding seats and waiting for another show to begin when the unassuming afternoon act on stage – Coleman Hell – happened to be a hitmaker in his own right, busting out "2 Heads" out of nowhere. I, as well as my compatriot that afternoon, like to fancy ourselves pretty on the pulse of pop culture, but we both had no idea that was coming – and it turned out to be one of the most enjoyable and entertaining moments of the Big Gig that year, a moment of true random discovery.
And I'd like to help you have a "Wait, THIS is who sings that song?!" moment like that as well. So here are nine acts at Summerfest 2019 that you've heard but maybe haven't actually heard of yet.
Where you know them from: I normally try to make turn these little info paragraphs explaining where you've heard of an artist into something clever or witty. Well ... not in this case. It's this simple: You've definitely heard this Swedish-Minnesotan duo's hit, "You're Somebody Else," which has had solid radio play on across alternative, and even the occasional Top 40, radio stations. It's also the only winning thing in history involving a Minnesotan and a viking.
Where they're playing: flora cash will take the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, June 28.
Where you know them from: The days of Apple commercials turning songs into hits are far from over. Just ask SHAED, who got some sweet placement in an Apple MacBook Air late last year for their whistle-happy song, "Trampoline." That exposure's turned "Trampoline" into a radio hit, with the tune making its way onto alternative radio playlists. (I see you, FM 102/1.) Between them, flora cash and the night's Big Backyard headliner, lovelytheband, Friday will be a big night for bands you didn't know that you already know. And also for bands that don't understand proper capitalization.
Where they're playing: SHAED will take the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard at 8 p.m. on Friday, June 28, opening for lovelytheband.
Where you know them from: You've almost assuredly been haunted by Lord Huron's most popular track, "The Night We Met," which has popped onto the soundtracks of everything from the first season of Netflix's "13 Reasons Why" to The CW's "The Flash" and even Budweiser's commercial tribute to Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s last race in 2017. And if you've somehow avoided all of that, it's also made its way onto popular alternative radio playlists.
Where they're playing: Lord Huron will take the American Family Insurance Amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, June 29, opening for Bon Iver.
Where you know him from: You admittedly may not have heard of FINNEAS, but you've almost certainly seen him – he's made a few TV appearances playing reoccurring characters on "Glee" (Alistair") and "Modern Family" as well as played a kid in the Cameron Diaz comedy "Bad Teacher." You've also almost certainly heard of his sister: Billie Eilish, who he helps write and produce almost all of her songs.
Where he's playing: FINNEAS will take the American Family Insurance Amphitheater at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, opening for – who else – Billie Eilish.
Where you know him from: No, not the 2015 family movie about the military dog who also snuffs out small-town crime with his surly teen owner. (Wow, that is a reference for me and me alone.) This is MAX, who hit it big in late 2017 with his steamy slow jam, "Lights Down Low." You've almost certainly heard the song on the radio; now you've finally heard the artist's name.
Where he's playing: MAX will take the Uline Warehouse at 8 p.m. on Friday, July 5, opening for Daya.
Where you know him from: I don't normally include 10 p.m. shows because if they're a featured headliner, there's a pretty good chance that a decent crowd knows them. (Though if you want some bonus "oh that's THAT band?" nominees, look up the hits for fellow 10 p.m.-ers Daya and Johnnyswim.) However, I made an exception for The Strumbellas because on a whim, I looked up their Spotify, discovered they're the ones behind "Spirits" – the peppy campfire-ready tune that received assorted radio play as well as a place in the previews for last year's Steve Carell holiday movie release "Welcome to Marwen" – and literally made the "No way; that's them?" reaction that's the entire point of this article.
Where he's playing: The Strumbellas will take the Miller Lite Oasis at 10 p.m. on Sunday, July 7.
Where you know her from: Sometimes being forced to watch "The Bachelorette" comes with some benefits – such as giving me a Big Gig performer to include in this very article! If the name Tenille Arts sounds oddly familiar, and you're a fan of ABC's hit dating guilty pleasure, you might recognize it from one of those signature Random Surprise Country Concerts from Colton's season as "The Bachelor" this past winter. Good on you, Tenille Arts, for getting the growing music career from "The Bachelor" that Jed will wish he had.
Where she's playing: Tenille Arts will take the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 4.
Where you know them from: It's weird to say, "You don't know this band's name, but you know their music from, uh, the place where you exclusively listen to music." But that's the story of electro-pop duo FRENSHIP, whose song "Capsize" has blown up on Spotify with more than 500 million streams. That's a lot for a band I'd never heard of until researching this very article! One quick factoid: The two group members met while working together at the yoga pants and fitness behemoth Lululemon. Good on them for finding the one thing that I can afford at Lululemon: friendship. Or sorry, I mean FRENSHIP.
Where they're playing: FRENSHIP will take the Miller Lite Oasis at 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2, opening for CHVRCHES.
Where you know him from: Remember "The O.C."? It's thanks to the old FOX West Coast show that The CW has ... pretty much all its similarly soapy teen dramas, that we know the name of the band Phantom Planet and that we can't help but laugh a little bit when we hear Imogen Heap's "Hide and Seek." And speaking of musicians who have "The O.C." to thank for much of their popularity: Patrick Park, whose tune "Life is a Song" got the honor of being used in the final scene of the show's series finale. Maybe not as infamous of a final needledrop in, say, "The Sopranos," but still a big deal!
Where he's playing: Patrick Park will take the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard at 8 p.m. on Tuesday, July 2, opening for Liz Phair.
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.