Skip to Content

The Sylvee

A Beacon of Musical Culture — Celebrating the Music Matriarch of Madison

In 2017, Frank Productions proposed a new project that would stand as a beacon of musical culture in the Midwest. This new, 3,000-person venue required the invention of a brand that could be deeply integrated and would express the raw energy of Rock and Roll. To provide an evocative and meaningful identity for this destination, ZEBRADOG directed the discovery of the name, The Sylvee, and realized a brand that celebrates the history of the Frank Productions Family in Madison dating back to its founding in 1964. The vintage style of The Sylvee is infused into the intricate neon signing, pulsating illuminated logo marks cut into the oxidized skin of the building, and a tactile mural honoring the matriarch of the Frank Family, Sylvia Frank, hand-painted onto a canvas of cassette tapes contributed by Madison’s local music scene fans.

… a true story.

Elvis Presley watched The Beatles land in New York that February, the Stones began their first US tour and Dylan released ‘The Times they are a Changin’…

The year was 1964. In Chicago, Herb and Sylvia Frank packed the kids in a white Rambler and moved their young family to Madison Wisconsin where they would change the music and performance landscape forever in the city by the lakes. Herb and Sylvia ran the box office at the famous Capitol Theatre for a spell and then in 1967 were introduced to a new venue.

The country was at the beginning of a massive cultural revolution and Dane County Veterans Memorial Coliseum was about to become a front-seat witness to it all. From New York, Ed Sullivan was broadcasting the British Invasion in black and white. In Los Angles, The Beach Boys released “I Get Around.”

And in the Midwest hamlet of Madison Wisconsin, Herb and Sylvia Frank were about to bring it all to us…live…loud…and in color.

Through the eyes of their young boys, business chops cut on the streets of Chicago and an empty stage in Madison, Herb and Sylvia understood the power of live music.

They would bring us Sinatra, Presley, Bennett, and Ellington a year later. Cash, Clapton, The Grateful Dead, and Bowie…Springsteen, The Harlem Globetrotters, and Sesame Street on Ice.

Over the years, the Franks would literally define the very brand that is today – Madison, Wisconsin.

The Midwest became more than Chicago to many artists. Madison became a critical stop on the way to the top and the Frank name would forever be linked to the “World Tour.” The Frank Family grew and so did their reputation within the business of live music. In the 1980s and 90s, Franks’ sons, Larry and Fred, would again change Madison forever.

They would bring Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones and U2 to sold-out performances of over 60,000 people to historic Camp Randall Stadium.

The Frank Family’s investment into our community and choice to stay in Madison has inspired and changed us. Their commitment to curating young talent and to support music education is deeply rooted in their very Madison lifestyle.

Sylvia Frank, or Sylvee as she was affectionately known, passed away in 2006. The Matriarch of the Madison Music Family. The Glue. The Fashion. The Diamond. The loving center of Frank Productions was gone. Now, over 50 years after she rode into town in that white Rambler, the company she helped build, the brand that she formed as Frank Productions is investing even deeper into the place they call home.

The Sylvee is here.

A new venue for emerging artists, established cultural icons, and community events is about to rise in the heart of a Madison renaissance.

The East Washington corridor known for its grit, work ethic, and industrial past is about to become the new epicenter for live music in the Midwest.

Madison is about to enter a new era of live performances. The Sylvee…an intimate front-row seat where 2,500 of your best friends sing with the hottest artists in the country. Up close, live, and in Madison. A new weekly tradition is born.

The Sylvee will feature a dynamic melting pot of musical and live performance genres that only Frank Productions could bring to Madison.

Sylvia Frank is still with us. Her values, work ethic, and passion have passed to generations of talented believers in the show….

…always… The Show.

Mark Schmitz
ZEBRADOG

Website

thesylvee.com