When the sweet sounds of Summerfest became part of Milwaukee lore nearly 50 years ago, you didn't have thousands of people in the crowd capturing photos and video on their cell phones.
Pictures of those early days can be hard to find, but the Milwaukee County Historical Society is a treasure trove of classic Summerfest images.
- GALLERY: Classic Summerfest Photos
From classic shots of performers like Johnny Cash and Aretha Franklin, to former Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier, the photos provide a revealing look at Summerfest's history.
According to archivist Kevin Abing, the facility houses more than a million photos from around Milwaukee County, the most popular reason people visit.
- SPECIAL SECTION: Summer(fest) Like a Rock Star!
"In this digital age, a lot of people think photos -- the images are disposable, but if you lose them -- they're gone forever," Abing said.
On the cusp of Summerfest 2016, MCHS opened up the vaults to show us what's inside.