September 16, 2012
I am too tired to do justice to perhaps the best Fighting Bob Fest ever. It was intense, humorous, emotional, fun, challeging, profound and most of all uplifting! Mike Papantonio, a first timer, loved it and talked with Hightower and me about taking the show on the road.
Norman Solomon was moved and he moved us on the war issues. Phil Donahue brought us to the edge of tears more than once. Peter Leidy was superb and the solidarity singers who scare Glenn Grothman had the place rocking. No wonder Walker wants them in jail instead of the Dome. And the Ragin' Grannies keep getting better and better.
It was excellent from start to finish. Did we have too many speakers? Probably. But looking back I can't find anyone who should have been eliminated. It was a treat to hear speaker after speaker demand that we do more to save the planet, stop fracking, raise hell.
More after some sleep. Please share your thoughts with us.
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Thank you, thank you, thank you.
It was a bright and sunny day inside and outside the Coliseum. What we have is a revolution of the Heart.
Humanity is on the move. Great speakers and great audience. There is hope. Peace and love.
-Paul Woods | La Crosse, WI | September 16, 2012
I have been to 9 FBF's. Yesterday's event was as inspiring as any with a fabulous lineup. My only regret is the venue. While I can understand there were probably many business issues that motivated the change I cannot help but feel a sense of disconnection between a grassroots Chautauqua at the Sauk Fairgrounds and a weekend speaking event in a corporate sponsored indoor stadium. While I will continue to attend I will also mourn the loss of the ambiance.
In Baraboo there was a much more natural feeling of bonding and support, both to fellow participants as well as to the tradition of neighbors gathering at a fair grounds. One could feel the presence of Fighting Bob come to speak with the people he represented. And the opportunity to meet and greet the speakers who took the time to come out and mingle on the midway was extremely meaningful. To lapse hokey, it was a down home feeling.
One of my fondest memories of BobFest was waiting in line to buy a beer (in an actual glass Bobfest commemorative glass) with Jim Hightower. Another was sharing a few words with Barb Lawton on the midway. I have a hard time imagining those things happening in the corporate tunnels of the Alliant.
A second question is going to sound a bit contradictory but when is BobFest going to simulcast on the web? Yes, this not in keeping with the desire to keep the fest as homey and personal as it has been but it addresses the many who can't make it to Wisconsin to attend. I have friends across the nation who are fascinated by the concept of FightingBobFest but cannot attend in person. They would love to partake of the magic, even if it is only by watching or listening to the speakers.
You said Mike Papantonio was impressed with BobFest as a first time speaker. How many others across our nation would also be impressed if via the power of the Internet they would have a chance to hear the words spoken, feel the energy of the crowd? The magic and power of FightingBobFest would be much better served by reaching out to the world by way of the Internet than by hoping folks will appreciate the convenience of the Alliant Center.
I will be surprised if this year's attendance numbers come close to 2008's. I may be wrong but I didn't see it yesterday. I will say that the tenor of the crowd yesterday was different than those in Baraboo. FightingBobFest is all about grassroots but I failed to notice any grass in Madison yesterday. I did feel the heavy mantle of concrete and corporatism everywhere I walked.
-Perry Jewell | Stevens Point, WI | September 16, 2012
It was great Ed. It is so great to be among people who care about each other and the earth we live on, instead of the self centered Koch manipulated tea partiers.
-WisconsinLiberal | Fox Valley, WI | September 16, 2012
I too missed the ambience of Baraboo and the grilled cheese.
-Richard Kanak | Cherry Valley, IL | September 17, 2012
I agree with participants who miss the down-home ambiance of the Sauk Country Fairgrounds, but the weather was always an unknown, and I understand why the change was necessary.
I was disappointed by the lower turnout this year. It would be beneficial to know the demographics of attendees and to market the event to a wider cross-section of the population. I agree that this event begs to be shared across the country. Perhaps Amy Goodman would be interested in a collaboration. I continue to be amazed and grateful that top-notch activists come to Wisconsin for 30 minutes of "air time." Thank you to everyone who makes it possible.
-Mary Jo Wentz | Fall River, Wisconsin | September 18, 2012
My wife and I had attended the last several Bobfests, but this year we found something else to do as we didn't care for the new venue last year. We missed the closeness to the speakers and other folks.
-Tony and Chris Trentin | Bagley,wi. | September 22, 2012