Taste of Madison returns to city’s Capitol Square


Clarion Staff Photo

Madison College instructor Jamie Kember, left, performs with “Don’t Mess With Cupid” on one of the stages at the Taste of Madison on the Capitol Square on Sept. 3.

Camryn Gardner, Staff Writer

Thousands traveled from near and far to Madison’s Capitol Square on Labor Day weekend to enjoy food, drinks and live music at the annual Taste of Madison festival.
This year, Taste of Madison was able to make a return to the Capitol after the event was cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and had to relocate to Breese Stevens Field in 2021 (calling itself Taste of Madison – Off the Square).
Over 60 food vendors graced the Square, all offering dishes priced between one and six dollars. All the vendors at the festival come from established restaurants in the Madison area.
Some personal favorites from the event were the vegan BBQ sandwich from Just Veggiez’s stand and the Wisconsin mac-n-cheese from the Old Fashioned Tavern & Restaurant’s booth.
In addition to these vendors, several volunteer groups were present at Taste of Madison offering beverages for sale. One hundred percent of the tips granted at these beverage stands stay within the local organizations, making the event a large community fundraiser.
Taste of Madison not only pulls in a crowd for the food and drink, but also for the free live music. This year’s headliners included Ryan Griffin, Nonpoint and Michael McDermott on Saturday, and Yung Gravy, Daughtry and Conner Smith on Sunday evening.
While all the musicians who put on a show drew large crowds, rapper Yung Gravy brought a sense of local excitement to many in attendance, as Gravy is a UW-Madison graduate who has achieved considerable fame in the music industry. Many people in the crowd were chanting, “Gravy, Gravy, Gravy,” before his set – humorous when you consider this is a festival better known for its food selection.
By the time the headliners had finished their shows and the sun was beginning to set on Sunday night, many vendors were running out of food and becoming fatigued from the steady flow of consumers at the packed event.
Lines lengthened at the few spots left who still had meals or snacks to offer for those who had not yet gotten a taste of Madison.
If you missed the festival this time around, Taste of Madison 2023 has already been confirmed for next year’s Labor Day weekend.