When out-of-town travel writers pen glowing reviews of Milwaukee, they almost always mention how our city is much more than its “beer-and-brats” reputation. (Which is true, though we do love our beer and brats.) Something that’s rarely mentioned, however, is Milwaukee’s longstanding love affair with polka. We’ve got a polka escalator, for Yankovic’s sake, as well as a polka hip-hop band. Now, in “how isn’t this already a thing?” news, Milwaukee will be home to the world’s first alternative polka festival. Finally.
Milwaukee Polka Riot is set for Saturday, October 21 at—where else?—Kochanski’s Concertina Beer Hall. Organized by the aforementioned polka hip-hop band, the November Criminals, and Summerfest’s Rebel Stage, the one-day fest will feature performances from Chicago’s Polkaholics, Milwaukee polka-metal outfit Cheese Of The Goat (featuring Frank Chandek from Dr. Chow’s Love Medicine), and new band Preomnor (“The world’s only Zydeco/Cajun/Thrash/Hardcore band”). November Criminals and DJ Brümeister will round out the lineup, which has yet to be finalized.
So yeah: buckle up, Milwaukee, for the world’s first alternative polka festival. Not to be confused with “Weird Al”‘s “Alternative Polka” medley, from his seminal 1996 album Bad Hair Day.