Kelsey Kaufmann

Kelsey Kaufmann

Cactus Club

About Kelsey Kaufmann

Kelsey Kaufmann is a Milwaukee-based drummer, candlemaker, and owner of the artist-run venue, Cactus Club. A queer that loves soup and Democracy Now, Kelsey has been organizing multigenre shows and community events in renegade spaces and small clubs for 20 years. The through line of their work is to bring people together through playfulness and an embrace of creative practice and learning.

Having worked at the club since 2011, Kelsey bought Cactus in February 2020, one month before the world shut down due to COVID-19. Cactus was not eligible for early federal and state grants because it had been owned by a sole proprietor, not an LLC — there was no history of taxes or financials for the brand new LLC, even though it was functionally the same business.

Reflecting on that time, Kelsey shares, “the club’s buoyancy through that difficult chapter can be attributed to an outstanding team of friends and collaborators, a fast food window on the front door, hairbrained, left-field merchandise and expansive support from communities who hold the space dear for profoundly varied reasons.”

Through Cactus+ Kelsey is elated to cast the net further on the programming possibilities, especially as it pertains to youth assistantships, free workshops, and more off-site community collaborations.