Slurp up these festival stories packed with vitamins, minerals and everything you need to spike your summer fun. The Summer Festivals Guide is brought to you by Punch Bowl Social. Come on in – it’s time we all win at adulting.
Late-night Summerfest isn’t just for the kids, but if – regardless of your age – the thought of huge crowds or wandering back to the bus, or your car, after midnight are not alluring to you, don’t fret, because the Big Gig has plenty of great music on offer before the sun even considers setting.
Here are some shows that start early enough for you to get out and home before the headliners even hit the Summerfest stages.
Wednesday, June 26
Summerfest declares on day one that the early headliners aren’t all old-guy bands, as Philly hip-hop/EDM artist Bok Nero at the Dim Mak Takeover of the Miller Lite Oasis Stage, 5:45 p.m., followed by dance music producer and performer Max Styler at 6:30 p.m. U.K. producer Tisoki hits the stage at 7:30, and there’s Quix, too, but he’s at 8:30 so I can’t tell you about that!
Thursday, June 27
The R&B Cadets were THE band in Milwaukee for the first half of the 1980s, packing clubs, drawing crowds to festivals of every stripe and earning devoted followings in Madison, Minneapolis and beyond, before splitting into Semi-Twang and Paul Cebar and the Milwaukeeans in 1986. Catch this reunion at 6 p.m. at the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard and you’ll understand what the fuss was all about.
Sunday, June 30
Dayton, Ohio’s beloved lo-fi indie pioneers Guided by Voices are known for playing marathon gigs, but at Summerfest the outfit will surely have a time limit on its 4 p.m. show at the Miller Lite Oasis. Founder Robert Pollard will front a revived lineup that also includes Bobby Bare Jr. on guitar.
Tuesday, July 2
Milwaukee duo Reyna has earned an impressive 7 p.m. slot at the Miller Lite Oasis. The group, sisters Vic and Gabby Banuelos who formerly performed as Vic & Gab, were recently announced as one of the acts in the current group of Radio Milwaukee Backline artists, so don’t miss these up and comers.
Wednesday, July 3
Speaking of Radio Milwaukee, 88Nine’s Kenny Perez spins at the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse at 6 p.m. You won’t want to miss that one!
Friday, July 5
Although Henry Fambrough is the only surviving original member, R&B’s beloved vocal group The Spinners perform at 4 p.m. at the BMO Harris Pavilion, where they will surely play the hits, from "It’s A Shame" and "I’ll Be Around," to "Rubberband Man" and "Working My Way Back to You."
Sunday, July 7
The Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard will host Spoof Fest – a longstanding local music scene tradition – at 2:30 p.m. with an array of cover bands paying tribute and poking fun at beloved acts like the Rolling Stones, Def Leppard, INXS, Fleetwood Mac and Linkin Park.
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.