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Bringing the noise: Group wants more music on east side

By Dannika Lewis, dlewis@wisctv.com
Published On: Feb 13 2014 10:36:46 PM CST

Willy Wash meeting

MADISON, Wis. -

The ice cold Yahara River is harder to hear when it’s flowing so slowly in the winter. A grassroots group, called Willy Wash, wants to break any silence around that river and make it musical.

"We're saying, 'Hey, what if we use these ideas to create a music zone?'" Willy Wash founder Rokker said.

By Rokker’s count, the city is moving forward on about nine developments in the area, and he wasn’t the only one who wanted to make sure music was built into those foundations.

“We're acting as almost a glue to go to these people and say, 'Hey, we think it would be a great idea if music was here,'" Rokker said.

Before its first community-wide meeting Thursday night, Rokker said a number of ideas were already brainstormed. Among them, the group is looking at Madison’s own music museum, which would look similar to a Hard Rock Café with local artifacts and food. Members would also like to see concerts in the Central Park space the city broke ground on last summer.

Rokker said while Willy Wash itself isn’t taking action on the ideas, the hope is to pitch them to government leaders, investors and developers who could make them happen.

"Let's take on initiatives. Let's try and come up with turn-key business opportunities or whatever to include music to give to other investors that they say, 'Hey that's a good idea. Let's do it,'" Rokker said.

Madison’s arts program administrator, Karin Wolf, said she has heard some of the ideas, and the city is open to them. She said no projects are funded or moving forward quite yet for the east side, but she is looking at the opportunities to grow the music scene in that area.

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