Courtesy of Milwaukee World Festival – Bob Babisch
Bob Babisch will transition out of his position as Director of Entertainment for Milwaukee Summerfest and Milwaukee World Festival in 2022.
Bob Babisch, a towering presence with Milwaukee World Festival and its massive Summerfest concert and fair series since 1976, will begin to transition out of his role as the leader of the organization’s Entertainment Department at the end of this year.
He has served in his current role for more than four decades, playing an outsized role in making the Wisconsin festival one of the world’s largest of its kind. Scott Ziel, current Associate Booking Director, will become Director of Entertainment, taking on additional responsibilities for Summerfest and other events produced by MWF. Following the 2022 season, Babisch will take on an ongoing consulting role with MWF.
Babisch has led the entertainment team at MWF, overseeing booking and production for all concerts during Summerfest, in addition to shows at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater and BMO Harris Pavilion, outside of the festival.
Summerfest in the years just prior to being forced to go dark during the COVID pandemic, regularly presented more than 1,000 sets from more than 800 artists on 12 stages. It’s “main event” headliners have included artists such as Foo Fighters, Green Day, Fall Out Boy, The Weeknd, Shawn Medes, Blake Shelton, Arcade Fire, Miley Cyrus, Guns N’ Roses, Chance the Rapper, Britney Spears, Imagine Dragons, Halsey, Dave Matthews Band, Journey, Def Leppard and many, many more.
Babisch has also booked countless events for other venues in and outside of Wisconsin, and over the years cultivated close working relationships with all major talent agencies and management firms in the music industry.
“Bob has an unmatched legacy that has helped shape not only Summerfest, but the music industry, during his illustrious career,” said Don Smiley, President and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival. “In the months to come, he will provide exceptional support for his team as we begin this transition to new leadership. On a personal note, I will miss seeing Bob on a day-to-day basis in 2023, but we both look forward to rocking and rolling in 2022.”
“It has truly been a dream job, I can’t believe I’ve been here for 46 years,” Babisch said in a statement. “Looking back, it’s the connection of live music and the fans that has inspired me for all these years. I am excited to continue to work with Scott and bring that connection to the next generation of music fans.”
Scott Ziel has worked closely with Babisch on the booking and production of Summerfest for over 25 years. Ziel began with MWF as a member of the seasonal production team in 1992, became consultant in 1995, and later joined the team as Associate Booking Director in 2015. Since that time, Ziel has taken on increasing responsibilities, including booking stages for Summerfest, the American Family Insurance Amphitheater, and representing the festival at industry conventions.
“I am excited to continue our tradition of presenting the world’s top talent as well as our strategy of offering an eclectic Summerfest line-up,” said Ziel. “We have an excellent booking and production team, which will continue to elevate the live music experience for artists and fans alike.”