VISIT Milwaukee Blog
| Tuesday, June 26, 2012
By Zack Zupke
Creative Services Manager
Quite often, the best-laid plans in life are the ones we never make. When spontaneity and luck intersect, adventure and lasting memories are often produced. A couple years ago, my wife and I went to Summerfest (the world’s largest music festival and a fixture of Milwaukee’s lakefront for the past 44 years) with no plans to see any band or performer in particular. What we found was an adventure. What we’ll always have are fond memories that can only happen at Summerfest.
Finally I figured out
But it took a long, long time
But now there's a turnabout
Maybe 'cause I'm trying
We grabbed some beers, and immediately hit Saz’s for some mozzarella marinara (if cheese had it’s own form of poetry, they’d name it mozzarella marinara). After our poetic snack, we simply strolled the massive grounds (with more than 700 bands each year, the moniker “The Big Gig” is just that) to people watch. It doesn’t get much better. Then we saw “Sister Hazel: 10 p.m.” on the Miller Lite Oasis sign. Better just got better.
There's been times, I'm so confused
All my roads, They lead to you
I just can't turn and walk away
Sister Hazel is a 5-man, southern country-rock band from Gainesville with a smattering of top 40 hits and a large, loyal fan base. It wasn’t too packed at the Oasis yet, so we hunkered down on a center-stage picnic table a couple hundred feet from the front and watched the world go by, listening to music echoing from 11 stages.
It's hard to say what it is I see in you
Wonder if I'll always be with you
Over the years, I’ve been to all of those stages and seen my share (that’s an odd term as why would I ever see someone else’s share?) of bands. Some memories have faded, a few will always remain and a few I wish would fade, like the Club MTV Tour (Tone Loc, Paula Abdul, Was (Not Was), Milli Vanilli) when Milli or Vanilli (I could never keep them straight) left the stage in a huff during the middle of a song…and the song kept playing for a few seconds. Whitney Houston, James Taylor, America, Gavin DeGraw, Lifehouse, George Thorogood, Pat Monahan (Train’s lead singer put on one the best concerts I’ve ever seen and did some killer Zeppelin to end it), Blues Traveler, BoDeans, Chicago and Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson (I was only about 5, but I still remember a giant lightening strike just as their patented “Luckenbach, Texas” began and Waylon and Willie and the boys cleared the stage).
But words can't say, And I can't do
Enough to prove,
It's all for you
By the time Sister Hazel took the stage, the Oasis area had swelled to capacity and we were all ready – those who had planned and traveled thousands of miles and those of us who simply showed up. By the second song, we left our seats at the picnic table to dance on top of it. By the end of their set, we had a new appreciation and admiration for the band best known for their hit “All For You” (I’ll never forget how we danced and sang along) because they were no longer just Sister Hazel, that band we like. They were Sister Hazel, the band we shared a night at Summerfest with.
So, this week and the next, make plans to go to Summerfest for a night with your someone. Or, don’t plan and go for all 11 days and nights with anyone. It’s all there – food, music, beverages, entertainment and adventure. And it’s all for you.
June 27 - July 1; July 3-8 (closed Monday)
Henry Maier Festival Park
200 North Harbor Drive