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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Sunday, April 20, 2014

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In Festival Guide

Milwaukee Bucks guard Brandon Jennings shares a laugh with fan Kayla Strandell backstage. (PHOTO: David Bernacchi, Kayla Strandell, Jim Owczarski)

In Festival Guide

Jennings treats Strandell to some sweet and sour chicken at Wong's Wok at Summerfest. (PHOTO: David Bernacchi, Kayla Strandell, Jim Owczarski)

In Festival Guide

Dave Grohl of the Foo Fighters brought several athletes out. (PHOTO: David Bernacchi, Kayla Strandell, Jim Owczarski)

In Festival Guide

Brewers reliever Tim Dillard was one of several athletes in attendance at The Foo Fighters. (PHOTO: David Bernacchi, Kayla Strandell, Jim Owczarski)

In Festival Guide

A fan is shocked to see Brandon Jennings milling about Summerfest. (PHOTO: David Bernacchi, Kayla Strandell, Jim Owczarski)

In Festival Guide

From left to right, Kayla Strandell, Lupe Fiasco and Brandon Jennings share a moment backstage at Summerfest. (PHOTO: David Bernacchi, Kayla Strandell, Jim Owczarski)

Summerfest brings athletes, fans together


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"I didn't realize just how big it was," he said. "We had been there for a few times for playoff stuff where you stand on the stage but you don't get to see the full thing. I didn't know it was the biggest in the world. I was impressed. Everybody there was having a great time. It felt safe, there were people pushing strollers around."

He smiled.

"We didn't bring ours because we didn't think they'd like the Foo Fighters."

Dillard was impressed at how the band gave the fans what they wanted – all the hits, a ton of energy, and a lot of sweat.

"The highlight was we got a little Dave Grohl sweat on us with his hair, flipping his hair around," Dillard said. "That was cool."

Brewers closer John Axford, sitting next to Dillard, couldn't help himself.

"You tried catching it in your mouth," he deadpanned.

"No," Dillard retorted. "I was like 'Yeah! Eww.' But it was cool."

Behind the Brewers contingent sat Green Bay Packers tight end Tom Crabtree, as the The Foo Fighters capped the second of his two-day stint at Summerfest.

In his two previous years with the Packers, he had heard only great things about the Big Gig, but chose to stay home and relax. But once the Foo Fighters were booked, he blocked off a couple of days for some music.

"I thought it was great," said Crabtree, who attended the fest with a friend. "It was kind of cool. It opened me up to some other artists and other genres and some other acts that you might not have heard of before but you kind of liked. In that regard, there's so much going on, you're bound to run into a band or something that kind of interests you and kind of catches your ear. It was a great experience and that's what I heard from everybody else. It definitely was a positive experience. We had a great time."

Like Dillard, Crabtree was blown away by the performance of Grohl and company.

"That's the thing about this show – it wasn't just one song I was looking forward to," he said. "Everything about the show was just amazing, from the song they opened with all the way til the last song. It was all pretty kick ass."

Crabtree was part of the Packers' Super Bowl-winning team two years ago, but like Dillard, he was similarly awed by the crowd around him.

"It was so cool looking all the way to the back to the top of the amphitheater and all the way to the lawn, it was just completely packed," he said. "There wasn't an empty seat in the place. That definitely made for some awesome energy and everybody was into it."

Crabtree definitely got the full feel for Summerfest, too, when he couldn't get tickets to the show. So, like nearly everyone else, he had find an alternative route to see the biggest headliner of the festival.

"The week before I just went on StubHub and went the old regular fan route and bought some tickets," he admitted. "In season it's no problem to get tickets to shows and stuff like that in Green Bay or Milwaukee. I don't know if it was being the offseason and just being me and one of my buddies from out of town, that was our best option. You know, I thought it was only fair for me seeing my favorite band for to give them – or somebody, anyways – my hard earned money to go see them live. That was pretty cool."

Summerfest has been bringing people together through music for over four decades, athletes and fans alike – but perhaps no one summed it up best than Jennings when he said, "We were just like man, we need to do this every year."

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