Milwaukee Polka Riot
August 28th at the
Great Lakes Distillery!
We are back for 2021! Watch and share the promo video below to learn all about this year’s event!
No, but really, what?
The Milwaukee Polka Riot is America’s first and (as far as we know) only alternative polka festival.
What began as a fever dream shared among Keith Gaustad, Tahrim Tatum and Evan Maruszewski, finally came to fruition for the very first time on October 21st, 2017.
In clandestine meetings with Jim Rice, Eoin McCarthy and Frank Chandek, the Milwaukee Polka Riot grew from a germ of a questionable idea to a full-fledged, ridiculous reality.
Whether you like it or not, The Milwaukee Polka Riot is an annual festival showcasing a host of amazing, off-kilter bands you’re unlikely to see all in one place, anywhere else.
What IS Polka?
Some people don’t seem to quite get what we’re talking about when we say the word “Polka” in the context of our festival. We made this to help explain. Enjoy!
Our own Evan Maruszewski was interviewed for C-Span to discuss the origins and intricacies of Polka, and how the Milwaukee Polka Riot fits into that legacy!
Sandy Weisto interviews Evan about the 2021 Milwaukee Polka Riot!
Milwaukee Polka Riot celebrates alternative permutations of the folkloric dance music of Central Eastern European, carried by immigrants to the Midwest, and with which the Cream City is still associated. – Shepherd Express
Ryan Jenkins of TMJ4 sat down with Keith Gaustad and Evan to discuss the return to live events in 2021 – TMJ4
“Buckle up for the return of the Milwaukee Polka Riot, August 28 at Great Lakes Distillery” – Milwaukee Record
“Milwaukee’s first alternative polka festival returns at a new location” – OnMilwaukee
“Polka, polka, polka: Second annual Milwaukee Polka Riot coming to Sabbatic September 8” – Milwaukee Record
“Buckle up Milwaukee, for the world’s first alternative polka festival!” – Milwaukee Record
“If my knees were in better shape, I’d have dragged my polack ass out on the floor and mosh that two-step” – Veronica Rusnack
For press inquiries, to join the lineup of bands, to become a sponsor or for general questions, email us at