About the Bands

Get to Know the Talent

Wise Jennings travels the region playing and patronizing festivals and venues that frankly just aren’t on the radar for most folks.  On this journey they have met incredible bands of all genres that most people will never get a chance to hear because they aren’t living in Milwaukee or Madison…or can’t stay awake long enough to catch an act that starts playing at midnight. 

If you love music, all kinds of music, original music, and like great surprises, and all for a great cause…you will love Wise Fest.  Wise Fest finds the diamonds in the ruff, the kind of talent you hear and think to yourself…why aren’t they a national act, or how is that I have never heard of this band.  No single genre is king at Wise Fest.  We carefully curate a lineup that touches all genres and that celebrates only nice people who are exceptionally creative.

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Ronnie Nyles

Alternative / Rock
Park Stage:  12:00-12:45 PM

Singer / Songwriter Ronnie Nyles has long been revered as one of the premier women entertainers of the mid-west. Her career has taken her on many musical journeys throughout the United States, Canada, Australia and Europe. These tours have Ronnie headlining concerts and festival engagements as well as opening for National and International recording artists.

With a wide dynamic and expressive range, Ronnie can belt out a raspy Rod Stewart roots rock sound or slip into a smoky, torrid blues with her voice. Ronnie’s distinctive voice blends a variety of songs and styles that include rock, country and acoustic folk leaning on the musical influences of Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge, Heart, Joni Mitchel, John Mellencamp, and Janis Joplin just to name a few.
Consistent staying power has earned Ronnie a strong, dedicated following. That same staying power and dedication has won her multiple nominations and eight WAMI (Wisconsin Area Music Industry) awards which include four “Female Vocalist of the Year” awards, two “People’s Choice” awards and two “Contemporary / Pop Artist of the Year” awards.
In addition, Ronnie stays true to her own material having released two CD’s, “Building Rome” and “January Weather” and a holiday EP "It's Christmas". Which includes a song dedicated for the service men and women.

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Layers & Layers

Indie Rock
Pavilion Stage:  12:45-1:15 PM

Layers&Layers is a versatile and atmospheric indie rock band from Milwaukee, WI blending introspective lyrics with several textures of instrumental sound.

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Indie Pop
Park Stage:  1:15-2:00 PM

Woodrow is an original five-piece indie pop band from Madison, WI. The band was formed in October 2016 when Connor Brennan (a medical physics graduate student) got his masters degree, but decided not to use it for a while. Instead, he recruited four local musicians to form the band Woodrow. The band hit the ground running with a dozen or so piano pop tunes that Connor had scrawled in the margins of his medical notes to deal with his heartbreak and his recent transplant to Wisconsin. Fresh from recording their debut EP album José  in June 2017, and their second EP Buds & Thorns in October 2017, Woodrow is now bringing their quirky brand of piano-driven indie pop to the masses of Wisconsin.

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Dear Karma

Alternative Indie / Pop / Soul
Pavilion Stage:  2:00-2:30 PM

Alternative indie soul will fill your ears with relatable stories of life lessons and foggy confessions. Fiery lyrics are delivered by a honey voiced siren.



Folk to Funk / Ragtime to Rock
Park Stage:  2:30-3:15 PM

Thriftones are a rare species of band. Their itinerant sound cannot be confined and their wanderings endless. You may find them playing to a colony of squirrels in the north woods of Wisconsin or maybe even a bar in Milwaukee. Whether it be a bluesy take of sensual master Latimore or one of their self-described “folkadelic” jams, the Thriftones are one of the state's greatest purveyors of what some may call a good ol' time. It don't matter if you're a teetotaler, Thriftones will intoxicate your mind, while their Americana rhythms contort your bones into strange symbols of approval.

Matthew Davies, the bands multi-talented vocalist, is a man of insights and stories that trace back further than your grandfather's facial stubble. His tales are akin to those of rustic ramblers who've seen, up close, far too many sawdust covered bar floors and way too many of America's dirty crevices. Simply put the Thriftones are Milwaukee's gateway to the drug they call America." -Tarik Moody (88Nine Radio Milwaukee)

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Pat Garrett

Outlaw Country

Pavilion Stage: 3:15-3:45

Pat Garrett is a homegrown entertainer, delighting audiences with his brand of country for nearly two decades. He is also a member of 38DD and Blacktop, as well as Pat Garrett and the Outlaws.

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The Mike Stone Trio

Vintage Jazz
Park Stage:  3:45-4:30 PM

The Mike Stone Trio delivers hot, vintage style Jazz with a fresh, unique vibe.  The Trio is led by world renowned guitarist Mike Stone.  Mike has spent the majority of his adult life touring the world with bands like Queensryche, Peter Criss and others.  Making their home in Lake Geneva, WI the artistic talent of the group is a pleasure to watch and listen to and they truly are a local treasure of our area.

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Wax Lips

Indie Rock / Punk
Pavilion Stage:  4:30-5:00 PM

Drummer Darien Garbis and lead guitarist Carly Cooper have been band mates for years and invited sister Rhea Garbis to join their band when the lead vocal position opened up, thus creating WaxLips! Darien, age 15, the drumming force behind the band, is talented way beyond her years. She has been performing with numerous bands and building her mad skills on the drums from a very young age. Slammin’ lead guitarist Carly Cooper, age 17, has been playing guitar since she was 7. She’s largely self taught and has also played with many bands. In addition, she’s an accomplished classical flautist, jazz bassist, and singer songwriter. Lead vocalist and bassist Rhea Garbis, age 19, has been an accomplished musician/singer songwriter for years and has worked with numerous musicians along the way. She has entered many competitions such as American Idol and The Voice and has made an appearance at impressive venues such as Summerfest and House of Blues, Chicago. WaxLips has enjoyed performing in and around the WI/IL state line and in both Milwaukee and Chicago, most notably as the opening act for Kashmir, the official Led Zeppelin tribute band. Their first EP entitled, “Melting Point” is coming very soon and will be streaming on all devices. We are WaxLips!


Wise Jennings

A little Americana / Rockabilly / Punk =
Park Stage:  5:00-5:45 PM

Wise Jennings is a husband and wife duo from southern Wisconsin.  As original artists they have made a name for themselves delivering high energy shows with a unique song writing and performance style.  They sound like a Punk, Psycho-billy, Alt-Americana, Outlaw Country burrito if there was such a thing and you could listen to it.  Wise Jennings released their third album titled "Spit the Bit" March 1, 2019.  This follows the release of "Jennings Holler" February 2018 and "The Year Mama Tried" August 2017  Their second  year of performing culminated in a nomination for Best Americana Band by The Wisconsin Area Music Industry and included more than 60 performances at festivals and venues in the Midwest.  Oh, and they happen to be your hosts for Wise Fest.  They spent countless hours planning all of the festival details as well as curating all of the bands your seeing on this beautiful day!

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Party Marty & the Dirtbags

Folk Punk
Pavilion Stage: 5:45-6:15 PM

Punchline Folk Punk. Songs about friendship, celebration, and real life.  Party Marty brings his full band of dirtbags to get you on your feet!

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Old Soul Society

Americana / Folk / Roots
Park Stage:  6:15-7:00 PM

Old Soul Society is a Wisconsin based group rooted in Americana with branches into Folk, Rock, Soul, Blues & more.  Old Soul Society’s focus on the craft of songwriting is displayed in the rich, textured musical layers they create to underscore the emotionally raw delivery of singer-songwriter Derek Ramnarace’s introspective and heartfelt lyrics. These details combine into a powerfully stirring live performance that has been winning over audiences everywhere.  The star is burning bright for Old Soul Society and only appears to be getting brighter with the release of their debut album "The Farmhouse Sessions"

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Swamp Rock
Pavilion Stage:  7:00-7:30 PM

Evan Schuit was born on the outskirts of Chicago. At the age of five he received his first cassette tape, The Jimi Hendrix Experience’s Are You Experienced. Pulling from Classic Rock influences such as Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix, and Eric Clapton, as well as more contemporary music of all genres, he soon developed a grungy blues rock and roll sound of his own…Christopher Hillary is a well-rounded self-taught musician. From a young age Christopher’s interest in music was fed by a fascination with the feelings created from hearing a melody or beat that would take his attention away from all other things in life. Growing up spending hours and days in his parent’s basement teaching himself to play multiple instruments led to his passion of making thumping bass lines combined with soulful lyrics and rocking rhythms…Hillary and Schuit joined forces in 2013 to create the band known as Pidgin. Hillary primarily plays bass guitar while playing the kick drum as well as sharing the lead vocals with Schuit. With years of production and performance experience, Pidgin always puts on a stellar show. Having tired of over-production and musical gimmicks, the musicians wanted to create a stripped down, honest sound; letting the music and lyrics speak for itself.


Armchair Boogie

Park Stage:  7:30-8:15 PM

Rising from the forests and rivers of central Wisconsin, Armchair Boogie's high-energy take on the Jamgrass genre fuses intricate arrangements of acoustic guitar and banjo with the funky back beats of electric bass and drums. Augie Dougherty (banjo, vocals) and Ben Majeska (guitar, vocals) started playing together in the fall of 2014 while attending the University of Wisconsin Stevens Point and within a year their musical collaborations led to the formation of Armchair Boogie. Eager to expand their sound for a bigger stage, Augie and Ben recruited bassist Eli Frieders and drummer Dan Waterman to fill out the band's four-piece configuration.Armchair Boogie solidified their current line-up in the spring of 2017 when Denzel Connor took over for a departing Dan Waterman on drums. In conjunction with the release of their debut, self-titled album, the band moved to Madison, WI, a jumping off point from where Armchair Boogie has become a regular on the upper Midwest festival circuit while also sowing roots in the Rocky Mountains.

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Arbor Creek

Progressive Psychedelic Blues Rock
Pavilion Stage:  8:15-8:45

Arbor creek is a five-piece progressive psychedelic blues rock band from Joliet, IL. They have been made up of the current line-up for three years now, and have released one EP, Listen (2016), and one full-length LP, Arbor Creek (2018). The sound of the band is one that takes many forms and calls upon many different influences. With three years of shows under their belts, the band has acquired a very tight stage presence and ever-evolving live performance.  The influences of the band come from all over the world and all over time. As near to home as Chicago’s Blues to as far abroad as the folk musics of Europe. Often times, the music can be comparable to ‘60s and ‘70s bands like Led Zeppelin, The Allman Brothers or Pink Floyd. Other times, elements of newer groups such as My Morning Jacket, Alabama Shakes, White Denim, Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Marcus King Band and Gov’t Mule all can be heard. Dueling electric guitars, soulful vocals, intricate keyboards and mandolin, tight and driving bass and ferocious drums all help to define Arbor Creek’s unique sound.

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Cullah & The Comrades

Blues/Hip Hop/Electronica/Rock 'n' Roll/Folk/Funk/Psychadelic
Park Stage:  8:45-9:30 PM

Cullah is a multi-disciplinary musician and engineer who writes, records, and releases an album every year on April 27th (his birthday) since 2006.  Each album reflects the eclectic musical styles that Cullah draws from -- an autobiographical journey of musical expression.  His musical approach is unique, to say the least, blending normally discordant genres into the same song. He dares to rap over accordion and harmonica. He slides funky bass lines and record scratches into blues remixes. He plays violin and Saxophone over electronic keyboards and synthesizers.  There is no combination of styles Cullah will not take on and he doesn’t let his music sound like carbon copies of itself. The result is a flavorful balance of harmony, fundamentals and experimental sound that tantalizes the ear and stimulates the mind with each release.

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Michael Castle of Pretty Beggar

Indie Rock / Indie Pop
Pavilion Stage:  9:30-10:00 PM

Pretty Beggar is a high-energy, lyric-centric, indie pop-rock blend of big hooks and meaningful storytelling that has a midwest soul and a California polish. Songwriter/frontman Michael Castle’s solo show implements beatboxing and instrument layering to make 1 man sound like 4 while highlighting his hip-hop influence through his focused and rhythmic arrangements of Pretty Beggar songs.

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Craig Baumann & The Story

Blues / Rock / Soul / Americana
Park Stage:  10:00-11:00 PM

Born in Oconomowoc, WI in 1982. Raised in Dousman/Sullivan, WI. Learned to play guitar and drums when I was 8yrs old. It's been a good journey thus far with plenty of challenges, in music and life.  My early music career involved getting to know the blues genre. You will hear it in everything I do. My grandfather is a vintage country player. You'll hear it in everything I do. I love the sweet soul grooves of Stax and Motown etc. You'll hear it in everything I do.  I believe there are two kinds of music, good and bad. Genres are made to be broken.  Every note is a word, every phrase a sentence, every song a chapter. Let me tell you a story. I now own and operate a full-service family-owned music store in downtown Waukesha, WI.  www.outpostmusicwi.com and manage the non-profit www.jamforjam.org. Currently doing performances with The People Brothers Band, Craig Baumann and The Story, The Smokin' Bandits, solo/duo, and the occasional Fat Maw Rooney sighting. Expect a new FMR album in the next year. Yes, really. cbStory will also be hitting the studio in February 2018.  You'll find us in WI, IL, MN, IA, ND and sometimes beyond, such as a set of Negril, Jamaica shows in January 2018. See you around.