About

The annual Water City Racket Festival in Oshkosh, WI is produced by the Oshkosh Independent in close collaboration with the local rock ‘n’ roll scene.

We have been proud to support local programs of importance, including our current collaborative role as media partner with the Oshkosh Youth Symphony, contributor of an original music radio show on 101.9fm, curators of Independent Racket Nights, and lead organizer of Water City Racket Fest.

Our music education support, including five years of Oshkosh Music Artist Series concerts, has raised over $10,000 benefiting the Oshkosh Area School District, Tuneful Teaching Music Therapy Program, and Kurt Stein’s School of Music, thanks in large part to the tremendous support of Heid Music and generous community partners.

Racket Fest 2020 enters a new level of programming, with an unprecedented collection of former and current musicians coming together February 27-29, 2020 for a celebration of the Fox Valley’s rich original music heritage.  Bands representing 35 years of the local live music scene will be performing at Racket Fest 2020, including a special collection of reunion sets from bands like Something Phonic, H. Chinaski, The Lost Toothbrushes, The Guilty Wanted, The French New Wave, and more.

Racket Fest 2020 will be headquartered in the Hall of Racket at O’Marro’s Public House, 2211 Oregon St, Oshkosh, with additional unique sets Saturday, February 29 at the Oshkosh Public Library and the Oshkosh Farmers Market @ the Menominee Nation Arena.

Racket Fest 2019

Water City Racket Festival enters year 2 in 2019 with three days of original music featuring 23 music artists performing nearly 30 sets in downtown Oshkosh.

2019 will expand from the Manila Resto / Algoma Club headquarters to include:

  • A new Lisen & Learn series at the Oshkosh Public Library Saturday AM.
  • A partnership with the Oshkosh Farmers Market to share the music of Racket Fest musicians at the Saturday morning market at the Menominee Nation Arena.
  • A Thursday evening kick-off show at Fletch’s Tap House.  Fletch’s is also hosting Racket Fest music Saturday for lunch.
  • Late night sessions Friday (Peabody’s) and Saturday (Reptile Palace)

2019 will also see an expansion of the radius that Racket Fest draws for musical talent, with musicians joining the Oshkosh community from cities outside of the Fox Valley including Minneapolis, Milwaukee, and Mankato.

We’ve also partnered with the Ripon area’s premier live music venue Vines & Rushes.  The winery will be hosting two sets on Saturday beginning at 2pm with Nickel&Rose followed by Adelyn Rose at 3:45pm.

Racket Fest 2019 Guide

Racket Fest year 1 poster, by Offbeat Press.