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Best bets for the Big Gig

Everyone's starting to think Summerfest now and with the Big Gig's 40th anniversary on tap, we'd like to think Bob Babisch and his astute crew are thinking big. So, we've cast our lines to see who's swimming around out there, hoping Summerfest can hook some big ones.

Here's the status on some big and less-big name acts, as of press time on April 25. Please feel to add to the speculation using the Talkback feature below.

PROMINENT SHOWS ALREADY BOOKED (according Summerfest and industry sources):

Dickey Betts & Great Southern -- June 28.

Jack's Mannequin -- June 28.

Def Leppard -- June 29 with Styx and Foreigner.

The Fray -- June 30 with OK! Go and Virginia indie-rock band Mae.

Goo Goo Dolls -- June 30.

George Thorogood -- July 1.

Heart -- July 2.

Roger Waters -- July 2.

Buddy Guy -- July 3.

Randy Travis -- July 3.

John Mayer -- July 3 with Ben Folds.

Weird Al Yankovic -- July 3.

Asia -- July 4.

Los Lonely Boys -- July 4.

Tool -- July 4.

B.B. King -- July 5.

Bon Jovi -- July 5.

Cowboy Mouth -- July 6.

Peter Frampton -- July 6.

The New Cars -- July 7.

Toby Keith -- July 8 with Miranda Lambert and Flynnville Train.


BoDeans -- The hometown boys have a few summer dates, including a June 9 gig at Ravinia, but are open for Summerfest, so ... sure, they're playing.

Crosby, Stills & Nash -- The veteran folk/rock trio has a string of dates down under in November and December, but that's it at the moment.

The Gufs -- A new CD makes this local favorite a strong possibility.

Martina McBride -- Summerfest falls within the heart of her nearly four-month long North American tour and there's some open dates during the Big Gig. She plays in New Hampshire on July 1 and then is open until a July 12 date in Oklahoma.

Paul Simon -- Playing in DC at the Gershwin Awards event in late May, but nothing else announced.

Gwen Stefani -- The former No Doubt singer is in lengthy U.S. tour that ends June 29 in Reno, followed by some dates in Mexico in Puerto Rico that start July 13, so she's open for a good part of Summerfest. And she owes us one for her recent cancellation.

Violent Femmes -- So far there's only one August show in Cali and that's it. So, they could be added to the Big Gig and why wouldn't they be? They're the band that Wendy's made famous, right?


Beyonce -- She wraps up a European tour in early June and is back in the States for a New Orleans gig on July 6. That's the first night of a two-month U.S. tour, so Summerfest could be a possibility.

Eric Clapton -- He plays the Crossroads Guitar Festival in Bridgeview, Ill. on July 28, but is otherwise free of engagements.

Bob Dylan -- A string of European dates runs into May, but nothing appears to be on the books after that.

Billy Joel -- Has nothing booked after a string of April and May Midwest dates.

Avril Lavigne -- The girl isn't booked for anything during the Big Gig yet except for a July 7 festival in Ireland.

Tim McGraw and Faith Hill -- The couple could stop in for a date with their Soul2Soul tour. There's a few days before a duo of Boston shows where the Big Gig could be added.

The Shins -- They played the Campus Invasion Music Festival in Austin on April 22, but nothing appears to be set after that.

Joss Stone -- Not sure she could fill the Amp on her own, but with a few others a bill it's possible. Stone's last listed tour stop is Fort Lauderdale on June 16. So, she's available for Summerfest.

Carrie Underwood -- So far, only a Country Jamboree date in South Carolina in mid-July and a York (Pa.) Fair show in August have been announced.


Beck -- No tour has been announced.

Jimmy Buffett -- He'll be at Alpine Valley at the end of July, but he's got almost a month off between a date in Virginia and Ilinois. and Summerfest falls in that time bracket. But will he potentially undermine his East Troy gig? We don't think so.

Coldplay -- Not touring.

Elvis Costello -- His North American tour ends May 19 in Philly and the UK/Europe dates start on July 7. So, the good Elvis is available, it would seem, but the odds don't look good for a repeat of last year's appearance.

Fall Out Boy -- The band finishes up the Honda Civic Tour in California on July 2. Summerfest is just a plane ride away. But, they have a May 17 date already at the Bradley Center.

Green Day -- No tour information out there at the moment.

Elton John -- Has a few open dates during Summerfest, but some of the days are booked with concerts in Europe. So, possible, but seems unlikely.

The Killers -- The band's North American tour wraps up at the start of June and after a couple weeks off, a June 15 date in Venice kicks off a handful of summer festivals on the continent and the UK.

Jennifer Lopez -- There's no tour announced yet, but she did recently release a Spanish CD and wrapped up a press junket for a film with her hubby.

Dave Matthews Band -- Wide open during Summerfest (the band plays in Illinois on the Big Gig's final night) but since they're coming to Alpine Valley in August, it's not likely they'd come here a month earlier, too.

Paul McCartney -- No tour scheduled.

Modest Mouse -- An American tour wraps up in mid-May and then some European dates finish on June 30. Possible, but very unlikely, we think.

Nickelback -- A headliner at last year's Summerfest, the band isn't currently touring.

Tom Petty -- No dates announced. Petty says he's sworn off touring, but a lucrative "one-off" gig at Summerfest could get him off the couch.

The Police -- They're in the neighborhood during the last two days of Summerfest but the two nights before that they play Wrigley Field, so Magic 8 Ball says "outlook not good." Word on the street is that a strong Summerfest play for Sting, Andy and Stewart was rebuffed, much to the frustration of the folks who book the shows.

Rolling Stones -- The band has a week off during Summerfest but considering the dates around that week are all in Europe so technically possible but thoroughly unlikely.

Britney Spears -- No tour, no CD in the last few years either.

U2 -- No tour info out there at the moment.

Weezer -- No tour information at the moment.

Wilco -- Open between a June 30 Toronto gig and a July 7 Norway festival. Possible, but I wouldn't hold my breath.


Aerosmith -- They're doing the European festival circuit during the Big Gig.

Christina Aguilera -- She was just here and she's in Japan and Australia during the Big Gig.

Bjork -- We hoped her US tour would last long enough to get her to Milwaukee, but she'll be in Europe during Summerfest.

Genesis -- Daryl Stuermer and his bosses are booked in Europe during Summerfest. Seems like three Chicago dates in October are as close as he'll get to home in the next few months.

Iggy & The Stooges -- Another band focusing on Europe during SF.

Metallica -- The metal men play the first date of the summer in Europe on June 28.

Red Hot Chili Peppers -- Like everyone, they're rockin' the Euro fests and they were at the Bradley Center this spring.

R.E.M. -- Athens' finest play five nights at Dublin's Olympia Theatre, June 30-July 5, so nothin' doin' Summerfest.

Justin Timberlake -- No chance unless he cancels some of his European tour, which rolls through the UK and Ireland during Summerfest.


handal | May 1, 2007 at 1:37 p.m. (report)

The list of impossibles was incomplete, here are the rest: Richie Valens Led Zeppelin Jimi Hendrix Mamas and the Papas the Doors Johnny Cash Thanks for the pointless article.

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dukefame | April 25, 2007 at 7:03 p.m. (report)

Ahhh, Summerfest. The smells, the sights, the Gufs....someone pinch me I must be dreaming!

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ashley.diggity | April 25, 2007 at 4:47 p.m. (report)

Daryl Stuermer will actually be close to home sooner than the article reports--He'll be at River Rhythms August 22 at Pere Marquette Park (6:30pm)

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Wez | April 25, 2007 at 3:40 p.m. (report)

I think this is a horrible lineup and Mr. Smiley should be embarrased at the bands that are booked so far. Bon Jovi? Seriously?

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Victor Golf | April 25, 2007 at 2:26 p.m. (report)

Thank for the list of "impossibles" that was very helpful and interesting. Here's a few more in case people were still holding out hope. Jimi Hendrixs- dead The Grateful Dead- Jerry Garcia is dead Stevie Ray Vaughn - dead Buddy Holly - dead James Brown - dead Falco - dead Carl Perkins - dead Eddie Rabbit - dead Frank Sinatra - dead In addition here is a partial list on comedians that won't be apperaing at the Comedy Stage. Lenny Bruce - dead Freddy Prinze - dead Louie Anderson - dead Mitch Hedberg - dead Possible Phyllis Diller - Except she's pretty much dead. Janis Joplin - dead Sammy David Jr. - dead Frank Zappa - dead Hoyt Axton - dead Boxcar Willie - dead

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