Anyway, as you know, I don't go to Summerfest primarily for the music. I go just for the experience. Yes, there's music around, but really, I didn't catch much at the big stages. Hit the little ones, and people watched. So, here's some highlights:
- Binky Tunny (sounds like "Stinky Bunny") charmed kids and their folks alike with kid-friendly "School of Rock" versions of classic rock hits. "Sweet Home Alabama" became "Have a Fresh Banana" and the BEasties' "Fight for Your Right to Party" became a litany of reasons to ditch school. Highlight for me was her autograph signing session afterwards -- it was fun to see the kids in this day and age of distance, get to actually meet and touch a rock star. Oh, and those shoes! Being a rockstar means never having to wear sensible shoes again, kids!
- Who the heck goes to the sports stage? My little Jockette, Stella and I did! And we tried out Zumba a fun, albeit hard aerobic workout set to some wonderful world music. Stella was a little afraid at first, but I agreed to do it with her, she saw me flubbing it right and left, and then realized the point of aeorbic dance classes is not to get it right, but to get your heart rate up and have fun. And we did.
- The Cocksmiths delivered on the Rock stage, just as I knew they would. We stayed for the whole set. Great pumping rock and roll, which impressed a crowd that, at 6:30 the first day of summerfest, is usually jaded. I hope they sold lots of merch!
- Whining time. The kids were having a good ol time in the inflatable rides, until some thug of a kid climbed right over Sammy and took him down. Sammy freaked out and I went and read the kid the riot act. His white trash mother calls to me from a distance "Hey, he has a mother, why don't you try that first?" Uh, no. First of all, where was this thug's "mother." Second of all, when some jerk twice my 3-year-old's size is whaling on my kid, I'm not stopping to think, "Hmmmm. Perhaps i should follow etiquiette and take this up with the offending child's parents." No, fuck etiquette. I'm stopping my kid from getting hurt. White trash glared at me, and I barked right back (because I wasn't afraid of confrontation, not when my kid's safety is at issue): "What, are you TRYING to raise a thug? Where were YOU then? You think this is acceptable?" I wasn't overreacting. The thug kid was ejected from the ride, and Sammy went on playing. White trash mama's looking at me as though it were my fault. Whatever. I have to remember that Summerfest brings out the best, but also the worst, of Milwaukee. I know, there's going to come a point when the worst thing I can do is fight my boy's battles for him, but at 3.5 years old, that time has not yet come.
- Speaking of the best, Coventry Jones pretty much owned his little corner stage near the lake. I love those little side stages, filled with niche acts that draw a handful of people, making the music a truly interactive exercise, blurring the line between performer and audience. It's like seeing a street busker get REAL MONEY for his work, but still keeping the charm of the busker environment.
- Another downer: tributes to Bo Black were heartful from the fans, even during the opening ceremonies, but from organizers rang hollow. Hypocritical, even. I'm sure Don Smiley's a nice guy and a competent administrator and all, but there's a vibe missing from Summerfest that left when they canned Black. I didn't really appreciate her as much as I should have when she was here, and now she's gone and I miss her presence.