Summerfest’s top talent booker, Bob Babisch, is retiring after 46 years.
Babisch joined Wisconsin’s Afternoon News detailing his plans for retirement.
“I’ve got years left,” Babisch said. “I have good health and I’m feeling great. There are other things I want to do with my life. I want to get some hiking in and get a better golf game and all the things that are associated with that.”
Babisch said he’s been with Summerfest so long that it’s now an “important part” of him and he plans on staying with the company, just “in a different way.”
He said COVID-19 caused date inconsistencies but thankfully most performers shifted their schedule along with Summerfest’s.
He highlighted the “magic energy” from doing live concerts as the thing that kept him going.
“My high points for me are all the shows we put in here. Every time you are in any of the venues on the grounds and the lights go down and then the lights come up and the people start to scream and the bands walk on stage; there’s that magic energy. That’s the reason we all here at Summerfest do what we do…for that magic we create every year.”
He said the bad points, like bad weather and canceled acts, are minor compared to the “magic moment of the successes.”
He can’t remember the first band he booked, but his first big score was a Grateful Dead concert in ’77 or ’78 that got canceled due to severe rain.
“It was my first biggest show and first biggest cancellation all in one,” Babisch said.