By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Mar 02, 2010 at 9:07 AM
Back in December -- while most were thinking about pretty much anything other than Summerfest -- we had the Big Gig on our minds. Tim McGraw's 2010 headlining performance had already been announced and -- because taking pot shots at Summerfest has become almost traditional -- we decided to ask you to chime in with the bands you'd like to see play on the Henry Maier Festival Grounds.

Then, we took that list to the four folks that have the power to put bands on those stages across 11 days -- Bob Babisch, Doug Johnson, Vic Thomas and Scott Ziel -- to see what they had to say.

It's no secret that booking an event like Summerfest is a challenge. The Milwaukee festival takes place in the heart of the European monster music festival season, which means a lot of great acts aren't anywhere near the U.S. during that time. Then there is routing to deal with. For all but the biggest of bands, geography is a major issue when it comes to touring. If your favorite middleweight or featherweight band is in San Diego or Phoenix when Summerfest is going, it's pretty unlikely they'll route themselves here in time. Then there are groups that only want to play indoors. Yadddaa yaddada yaddada.

The Summerfest folks responded to a couple dozen of the many, many, many names you suggested via the Talkbacks to my original blog, offering brief opinions or comments.

Thomas says they enjoyed the comments you made, saying, "I commend all the contributors to this list. It is very diversified and these are good choices."

311 -- Cool band. Always rock when they're here. Will see how this plays out. (Bob Babisch)

AC/DC -- Playing in Milwaukee already in April. There goes that one! (Bob Babisch)

Asleep at the Wheel -- Love Ray Benson. Will check on this one. (Bob Babisch)

Erykah Badu -- Would be great at this festival. She is a great neo-soul vocalist. Checking into this one. (Vic Thomas)

Bon Iver -- Wisconsin indie hero. Saw him at the Riverside. Currently recording new product. Waiting to see if he will be finished by our timeframe. (Scott Ziel)

Coldplay -- Always try hard on this one. One of these years it will work. (Bob Babisch)

Devo -- They were great at SXSW. It would be cool if we can get it done. (Bob Babisch)

The Flaming Lips -- In Europe during our festival. (Scott Ziel)

Danny Gokey -- Definitely a Milwaukee favorite. Sure would be fun. Too early to tell on this one. (Bob Babisch)

Josh Groban -- Will not be coming through the area during the Summerfest time period ... until 2011 (Doug Johnson)

Kool & the Gang -- Saw them at the Orange Bowl, it was a lot of fun. It would be good if we can have them come to Summerfest. (Vic Thomas)

Lady GaGa -- The tour will only be indoors due to the complexity of production. (Bob Babisch)

Huey Lewis and the News -- Was here last year, doesn't look good for 2010. (Bob Babisch)

Los Lobos -- Has been a friend of Summerfest for years. We would love to see them come back. (Vic Thomas)

Mos Def -- We have tried in the past to get Mos Def and/or Blackstar. This year still trying but, dates seem to be an issue. Too early to tell. (Doug Johnson)

Muse -- In Europe during our festival. (Bob Babisch)

My Morning Jacket -- Again, in Europe. (Scott Ziel)

Phoenix -- In Europe. (Doug Johnson)

Ricky Skaggs -- A country classic. Not sure about locking this one in quite yet. (Bob Babisch)

The Specials -- Still a good fun old school ska band. (Bob Babisch)

Ruben Studdard -- Checking on this one. Surely a great vocalist. (Vic Thomas)

U2 -- Playing Soldier Field two days after Summerfest, but have decided they want to protect that concert, so they will not be playing other shows in the area during this period. (Bob Babisch)

Vampire Weekend -- In Europe during our festival. (Doug Johnson)

Wilco -- We love them. Timing always an issue. Still trying. (Bob Babisch)

Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

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.