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Enjoy Local Bands and Beers at Madison's Frequency

By Marina I. Jokic

Hosting local, national, and international acts seven nights per week, the Frequency is a popular live music venue in Madison, Wisconsin. Some even argue that Frequency brings the best music to town. On many occasions, they partner with the Majestic Theater to host some of their larger events. Owner and Operator Darwin Sampson adds that because of its relatively small size with a capacity of 175, Frequency feels very intimate and makes for a uniquely personalized experience. They also serve a generous selection of Wisconsin beer, cocktails, and Emil's pizza throughout the night.

"You can see one of your favorite acts up close and personal," says Sampson. They host musicians from a wide range of genres with a focus on artists who might not otherwise have the means or visibility to perform. Frequency also collaborates with more established promoters, such as the Majestic Theater, to attract and host national and international acts. Madison's oldest theater, the Majestic was established in 1906 and boasts a capacity of 600, serving as one of the city's most popular performaing art scenes. The collaboration between the two has been incredibly successful in raising Madison's profile and allure among musicians.

Frequency opened in 2008. "I was the beneficiary of a couple of very kind-hearted artistic souls who assisted me in opening the club," add Sampson. He was a fledgling entrepreneur who was entirely new to the industry. Without the help of his associates and friends, he says, Frequency never would have materialized. At that time, Sampson had lived in Madison for quite some time and was inspired by Cathy Dethmers and her commitment to live music.

"Music is what makes me go, and she showed me it was possible to do what you love and still survive." To Sampson, providing an accessible and affordable space for artistic expression was not only his personal dream, but more importantly an essential need he saw among the local community. Frequency has hosted acts from around the world. Some of Sampson's personal favorites include Japanese artists such as Acid Mothers Temple.

Some of the bigger names Frequency has hosted are R Ring, The Lumineers, Macklemore, and James McCartney among others. Promoting up-and-coming artists is one of Sampson's passions in addition to exposing the local community to big names in the music industry. A list of the more recent bands and musicians visiting the venue includes solo guitarist Julian Lage, the eclectic band Cold Black River, Madison's own rock and roll power trio The Gran Fury, the Colorado-based American roots band Von Stomper, and the alternative rock group Eagle Trace.

Music is becoming a big part of Madison's vibe. Through living his dream, Sampson has contributed to putting Madison front and center among popular cities for rising and established artists.

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