Summerfest veteran Bob Babisch reflects on 46 years of booking big acts to Milwaukee

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Bob Babisch, the man responsible for booking big names in music for Summerfest reflects on his time as VP of Entertainment for Milwaukee World Festival Inc. After 46 years, Bob is just days away from retirement.

This is Babisch's last weekend working Summerfest in his full-time capacity. He's been booking superstars to Milwaukee since the 1970's and is responsible for bringing big names to Summerfest like Prince, Kanye West, Paul McCartney and The Rolling Stones just to name a few.

He says he's proud of the legacy he has helped shape.

"You work during your time to make it bigger and better and more successful, and you always have a succession plan so the people behind you can come up when it's time for you to move on," said Babisch.

While he won't be part of Summerfest in the same way he has been for the last four decades, he'll still give his input from time to time and may even be seen walking the grounds as an attendee in the years ahead. Now, it's time to devote more of himself to other passions.

"I'm 71 and I want to go climb a couple of mountains and play some golf and do whatever I want to do," Babisch explained.

Scott Ziel, who has worked alongside Babisch for years, will now take over as director of entertainment. Babisch is confident that his team will continue to grow Summerfest for years to come.

"Years ago, when it first started, it was to bring all the people of Milwaukee together to have one big party," he said.

Babisch says the vision of Summerfest has been achieved.

As he reflects on his time negotiating deals and helping build Summerfest to what it is today, Bob is grateful to be part of Milwaukee's history. Summerfest has been successful in positioning itself as a unique experience for music lovers of all kinds.

"That's what we try to do when we book, it is try to have a different genre on every stage every day and that’s the charm of the festival," he said.

Babisch says his retirement isn't him completely saying goodbye.

"46 years is a long time at one place, and you can't just walk away from that. You're always going to have a piece of that with you," he said.

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