Were you there?
They say that photos capture moments that are gone forever. Photos emerged a few years ago from the April 25, 1981 Summerfest/Irish Fest contract signing on the Summerfest grounds. Pictured were Summerfest Executive Director Rod Lanser, Summerfest Operations Manager Kris Martinsek, a few volunteers, and me. Musicians John Maher, Dan Hosmanek and Pat Williams were pictured. I knew however, that there was a much larger group of people who had gathered to celebrate and witness the official and final step in the "we are going to do this" process.
But who were these other folks? So when Mark Goff, an early Irish Fest Board Member, called me a few years ago to say that he had found a roll of film with photos from the contract signing, I was delighted. After viewing them closely, I have counted and named over 30 folks who shared that moment with us. Many of our early key coordinators were in attendance and at least one local TV station was recording the contract signing. We are sharing these photos with you so that you can see, that despite the chill in the air, there was a great sense of anticipation and excitement. Clearly, it was a historic moment in the history of Irish music and culture, not only in Milwaukee, but also in the entire country.
Ed Ward founded Milwaukee Irish Fest.
He also founded the Irish Fest Foundation and the Ward Irish Music Archives.
Ed served as a permanent member of the Irish Fest Board and served as the Chair of the Entertainment Committee.
View more blogs from Founder's Corner, here.