Longtime Summerfest booker Bob Babisch to retire after 46 years

Bob Babisch
Posted at 11:21 AM, Mar 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-03 12:21:52-05

MILWAUKEE — After 46 years with Summerfest, longtime talent booker Bob Babisch plans to retire from the role.

Milwaukee World Festival, the organizer of Summerfest, announced in a statement Thursday that Babisch will retire from the position as Vice President of Entertainment at the end of the year.

Babisch joined Milwaukee World Festival in 1976 and has served in his current role for over four decades.

Babisch led the entertainment team, in which he oversaw booking and production for Summerfest. He also booked shows at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater and BMO Harris Pavilion.

The current Associate Booking Director, Scott Ziel, will become the Director of Entertainment and take on Summerfest and other responsibilities.

When he is no longer VP, Babisch will take on an "ongoing consulting role" with MWF, the festival said.


President and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Don Smiley, said in a statement Babisch will provide support as his team transitions with new leadership.

“Bob has an unmatched legacy that has helped shape not only Summerfest, but the music industry, during his illustrious career. In the months to come, he will provide exceptional support for his team as we begin this transition to new leadership. On a personal note, I will miss seeing Bob on a day-to-day basis in 2023, but we both look forward to rocking and rolling in 2022.”

And Babisch said this according to the statement:

“It has truly been a dream job, I can’t believe I’ve been here for 46 years. Looking back, it’s the connection of live music and the fans that has inspired me for all these years. I am excited to continue to work with Scott and bring that connection to the next generation of music fans.”

Ziel has worked for Summerfest for over 25 years, starting as an employee with the seasonal production team in 1992, became a consultant in 1995, and was later promoted to Associate Booking Director in 2015.

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