BLOG: Cozy up to the Door County Winter Music Scene


The leaves have turned, the sunsets have move into an earlier timeslot and the chill in the air tells of frostier days to come. Summer vacation memories have been made and the holiday season is fast approaching. For the peninsula, this means many summer locales go into hibernation mode until the first signs of spring. However, there are still many favorite hotspots that are ready to warm your spirits and entertain you with live music all through the winter!


For my family and I, the official start of the fall /winter in Door County is kicked off by attending the annual Fall Fest weekend in Sister Bay. We like to make it a point to carve our pumpkins that weekend and then head into Sister Bay to attend the event. This fest is a rollicking good time and always features several stages of live music, with the feature stage located in the middle of the street, closing down the main highway during the day on Saturday and Sunday. This year was the 70th annual event and it was nothing short of amazing.


We clapped and chanted along with Happy Schnapps – a rousing group of musicians acclaimed as Wisconsin’s favorite drinking band – to the crowd favorite “No, I Don’t Wanna Do Dat” and did the polka to “The Bears Still Suck Polka,” any Packer lovers favorite tune. Later in the night, we were impressed with the range and raw talent from Milwaukee’s Hoi Polloi – a reggae rock band that covered songs from Rolling Stones, Sublime, Jimi Hendrix, Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Bob Marley. Let’s just say come Sunday morning my voice was hoarse and my calves were sore from dancing the night away. I will definitely be making it a point to see both of these bands again.

As I look ahead to winter, I remind myself that the key to avoiding cabin fever is spending time with friends and locals in the neighborhood establishments. And in my opinion, penciling in time to enjoy live music has to be one of the best ways to keep camaraderie alive and spirits high. Last weekend my fiancé and I along with four good friends made plans to catch some tunes, along with dinner, in Sturgeon Bay.


Having the highest year round population and being the only city in Door County, Sturgeon Bay continues hosting weekly live music events during the so-called “off season,” which spans the days between Labor Day and Memorial Day. We didn’t have to look far to find a Friday night band – and of course a Friday Night Fish Fry was also in order. Fish end up being the theme of the night with the father son duo RedFish being the live entertainment. They rocked out some great familiar songs that got the crowd singing along and tapping our toes. From country, to current day pop hits, they read the audience well and knew which jams would keep the energy going. Our group was red-cheeked and giddy by the time we left for home.

Check out the Events Calendar using the filter for Live Music to see all the upcoming live music shows scheduled for the coming holiday season and extending into the New Year.