Madison-area barbers will provide hundreds of free haircuts to area kids as they head back to school at the annual JP Hair Design’s Back 2 School Free Haircutz event at the Alliant Energy Center on Sunday, Aug. 27. This fun and free event is a favorite of the community and is returning for its 15th year.
Jeff “JP” Patterson is the owner of JP Hair Design and has been a barber in Madison since the late 90’s. The longstanding tradition of providing quality cuts for community kids has grown larger and larger over the years, and that cycle of mutual growth and giving back is exactly what JP is in the business for.
“We started here at the shop 15 years ago, so we would do it for our clients and the community,” Patterson told Madison365. “After 10 years of doing it here, it got big and we had a lot of people, like 12 barbers and tons of kids. We had barbers that worked here that opened up their own place and they were used to doing the Back 2 School haircuts, so they came back and we got a bigger spot where we can invite more barbers in the community.”
As an established barbershop in the community, JP Hair Design has seen many barbers and clients over the years, and has built a strong network of friends and partners across Madison. Barbers of all kinds will be found at the Back 2 School event, and barbers from well over a dozen shops will be in attendance.
“I’m a community guy. It’s all about community, and our shop is always diverse. It’s about giving a good example,” said Patterson, also happy to mention that a scholarship in honor of Taylor “Smitty” Smith, Madison’s first Black barber, would help an apprentice barber attend school for their barber license.
“You give a good example as an owner and as a business person. I want to train people the right way to do it and then they branch off and do their own. Unity is important. This year, we’ve got over 40 barbers prepared to cut.”
Back 2 School Free Haircutz is open for all and vaccines will also be offered for kids at the event before returning back to the classroom. Kids who do get any recommended vaccines will also receive a voucher for a free pair of shoes from Fleet Feet Madison. Appointments must be made beforehand to receive a ticket for one of the hour-long time slots between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
“I give a lot of credit to the other barbershops and barbers that participate because it’s not a big event without that,” Patterson said in praise of fellow Madison-area barbers. “You go to other cities, and they don’t collaborate like we do here. There’s more competition. The barbers here, we work as a team, work together, and we champion each other. That’s something that we built here.”
The Back 2 School event will also have music by DJ Mirah, and is free for K-12 students by appointment. To make an appointment or to find out more information, visit the link here.