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14th annual Back 2 School Free Haircutz set for Sunday at the Alliant Energy Center


“Look good, feel good, and you will perform good.”

That’s how Jeff “JP” Patterson, owner of JP Hair Design, sums up the reasoning why he has helped to gather dozens of local barbers to provide free back-to-school haircuts to hundreds of Madison-area students at the 14th annual Back 2 School Free Haircutz, hosted by JP Hair Design, on Sunday, Aug. 28 at the Alliant Energy Center.

”When you get a nice haircut you feel confident and you are ready for the school year. So this is an important event. And I feel like it’s a nice chance for some of the young people to hang out with some of the great mentors in our city,” Patterson tells Madison365.

The Back 2 School Free Haircutz event is returning after a hiatus during the pandemic.

Jeff “JP” Patterson

“We decided in mid-August, like two and a half weeks ago, to try to pull it off. The Alliant Energy Center had the hall open so I made some phone calls around to the other barbers to find out if they were still available to do it,” Patterson says. “So the major barbers have all come together just this past month to make it happen.”

All told, more than 25 barbers are coming together for Madison kids to cut hair on Sunday.

“We’re definitely trying to set the tone for other organizations in the city to show that you can work together with other businesses that you may feel like you are in competition with, but you can spend a day working toward one common goal and it can be really inspiring,” Patterson says.

The event is for children grades K-12. An appointment ticket is needed for kids to get their hair cut. Call (608)829-1143 for an appointment.

“What I love the most about this event is how it brings all of the barbers together in one location because you don’t see that in many cities – barber shops and barbers working together for one goal,” Patterson says. “It’s a great feeling to look around at our room and see the different barbershop owners and different barbers and an up-and-coming barbers working together and then watching the kids and seeing the kids be happy with their hair cuts … that really makes my day.”



Traditionally, the barbers at the event will cut hundreds and hundreds of young people’s hair. In fact, more than 500 kids left the Aliant Energy Center with fresh new haircuts back in 2019 at the 13th annual “Back 2 School Free Haircutz” event (above).

“We got a late start this year, but with this last-minute push that we’re doing, you never know what the turnout will be like. It may be a great thing,” Patterson says when asked how many haircuts they are going to do on Sunday. “We are doing a strong push these last few days so it will hopefully be fresh in everybody’s mind. So I’m thinking we’re gonna have a great turnout. We’ll be ready.”

The event will feature an appearance by a special guest — former Madison Memorial basketball star and current Milwaukee Buck Wesley Matthews.

“Having Wesley Matthews there is big for us. He will definitely help bring people out to the Alliant Center,” Patterson says.

“We’ll be giving out two Smitty Scholarships,” Patterson adds, referring to the scholarships launched in the name of Madison’s first Black barber Taylor “Smitty” Smith, a legendary and inspirational pioneer in his trade and a mentor to Patterson. “So we’re excited about that, too.”


The 14th annual Back 2 School Free Haircuts will take place Sunday, Aug. 28 at the Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way.  For more information, contact Diana Shinall at (608) 446-8022.