Bob Babisch, the vice president of entertainment for Summerfest in charge of booking the bands, is about to celebrate his 40th festival.
Babisch began his career as the stage manager at Summerfest's Schlitz Country stage.
He knows, "what band is a pain to deal with and which guys are the easiest to work with."
Then came a shift in Summerfest management and the director at the time, Jim Butler, gave him an opportunity.
"He came over, sat in his chair, threw a piece of paper at me and said it's a contact," Babisch said. "You got until tomorrow to decide if you want this job. The guy said 'you can do it' and he got up and left."
That was Babisch's interview. Needless to say, he signed the contract and has been with Summerfest ever since.
"Every night I would put a padlock on my door, and my desk was two sawhorses and a door top if you will. That was my desk," Babisch joked.
These days he has three people who help him book bands for the 11-day festival and he knows it's all about building relationships.
"It's the ability to get somebody on the telephone and talk to you about a specific act,” he said.
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Babisch loves his job but it has its frustrations, like when a band cancels. But those frustrations are just part of a job he truly enjoys.
"Sometimes it can be a pain but when you're standing in the wings and it happens and it's right... whew," Babisch said.
"I tell my son all the time if you find something that you really love it really ain't work," he also said
Babisch hopes this year fans will feel the legacy of 50 Summerfests and then come back and do it again next year.
Tune in to TODAY'S TMJ4 for live coverage of Summerfest throughout the 11-day festival.
For more information visit Summerfest.com.
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