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.


We are back for 2021! Watch the announcement video below and stay tuned for further information regarding our final location, the roster of bands and more!

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!

Here’s what some people are saying about the Milwaukee Polka Riot!

“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