And with that, another Summerfest is in the books. The 11-day (or was it a 12-day?) lakeside festival wrapped things up Sunday evening, leaving a giant smiley-face hole in Milwaukee’s heart. The bands were great, the weather was nice, and the Taped Music was taped. Oh, and Paris Hilton was there! Here’s to 350-ish days of dreaming about roasted nuts, pizza cones, and teens using selfie sticks to take pictures of themselves smoking cigars…
1. Hundreds of people wearing Chicago Blackhawks apparel
While we can’t personally assimilate, the Chicago Blackhawks seem to be Wisconsin’s preferred NHL team…when they’re doing well, at least. Couple that with the Big Gig being a hotbed of annoying Illinois people and the Hawks taking home the Stanley Cup last month, and the festival grounds ran red with Windy City hockey pride this year. With no exaggeration in the slightest, we happened upon hundreds of people wearing Blackhawks apparel, most of which was brand new. We’re not saying they were all fair weather fans, but most of them were fair weather fans. We also saw one guy in a Bears shirt.
2. Two (separate) people with Taz bicep tattoos
Just when you thought you’d seen it all in the first 10 days of Summerfest—a child being used as a man’s jump rope, a reuben scooped into a waffle cone, “Weird Al”—you happen upon something you’d never expect to see in your life. Then you see it again a few minutes later. In the waning hours of Summerfest 2015, we spotted two people with Tasmanian Devil (“Taz”) tattoos on their bodies. One man, one woman, two biceps, infinite regret.
3. Eating a pizza with layered bacon as a bottom
Solo’s latest twist on the traditional pizza sounds great on paper. However, it looks disgusting in real life and tastes even worse. Talk about a za-bomination.
4. Sensodyne throwing down the gauntlet
In addition to being billed as a music festival, Summerfest also serves as a forum to have products and services thrust in your consciousness as you make your way from one stage to another. Some products seem to make sense for the festival’s audience, such as Rockstar energy drink, Playstation, and even Otter Box phone case. Others, like that tent with paintings of Dave Grohl and Vince Lombardi, are strange, but they add to the spirit of the Big Gig. Some, though, are just plain weird. Joining the roof repair and Sears Home Services kiosks in that category this year was Sensodyne. The little-known dental care producer didn’t just rent a tent, they took over a sizable portion of lawn space for its sprawling setup to hand out toothpaste and offer free dental consultations…which is perfect for the kid on his or her way to grab unlimited cans of free Rockstar at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. every day of the fest. Even if it didn’t work (and it probably didn’t), you got to respect Sensodyne’s balls.
5. Two dudes with confederate flag shirts, trying direct attention to their confederate flag shirts
Summerfest, in all its inherent scuzziness, is far from the proper venue to engage in heated political discussion. Nobody told that to the dudes wearing sleeveless shirts featuring the confederate flag. With ire for this always-debated symbol at an all-time high, we imagine they hid their Southern pride under a Drink Wisconsibly shirt within the hour.
6. Seeing a pregnant woman smoking on the goth rocks
Not cool, lady. Not only are you endangering the health and well-being of your unborn child, you’re also bumming us out on the way to see Smash Mouth.
7. An eternal line to spin a wheel for a chance to win a prize from David Gruber
There are lots of things that routinely happen at Summerfest to test one’s faith in humanity, including a few things you’ve already read about in this very post. One of the most perplexing sights was the ever-present line of people awaiting their turn to spin the Gruber Law prize wheel for a chance to win such glorious prizes as a pizza cutter, a chip clip, or a t-shirt emblazoned with the Gruber Law Offices logo. Even if you’re killing time between shows, there are countless better ways to waste 15-20 minutes than waiting in line to maybe win a warped Frisbee with a lawyer’s surname on it. Get your face painted or eat something on a stick instead.
8. Paris Hilton falling in love with Milwaukee Record
Okay, maybe “love” is a strong word, but as a result of our post that was arguably the least mean review of her June 28 Summerfest performance, the hotel heiress and part-time DJ linked Phil Martinez’s piece on Twitter, then retweeted and favorited our tweet linking the show review. Later, she made Milwaukee Record one of the 6,000-some accounts she follows, edging out Melissa Joan Hart and Ted Perry for the title of our most famous follower.
9. That guy dressed as an S&M Hagar the Horrible or whatever
The first Thursday of Summerfest 2015 had it all: Kings Of Leon, Trampled By Turtles, Rusty P’s, Public Enemy, and…some guy wandering the grounds dressed like an S&M Hagar the Horrible or whatever. Seriously, did you see this guy? We didn’t see much of the infamous Summerfest Dancing Guy this year, but this guy more than made up for it.
10. Bike racks, bike racks, bike racks!
If the main narrative of Summerfest 2015 involved dubious fashion and pervasive cigar smoke (what else is new?) the B story would involve Milwaukee County Transit System’s 72-hour “work stoppage.” Yes, the MCTS union went on “strike” during this year’s Big Gig, causing headaches for fest attendees and employees alike. One good thing came out of the disruption, though: approximately 8,000 more bike racks outside the north entrance. Sure, they were barely utilized (seriously people, biking to Summerfest is the way to go), but they were a nice compliment to four or five that usually dot the area. Maybe split the difference next year, Summerfest?
11. This (reader submitted)
God bless freedom.