MILWAUKEE - Guns N' Roses headlined the final night of Summerfest 2021 on Saturday, Sept. 18 – but many local bands also took the stage.
For local musician Eugene Gruber, there is just something different about performing at Summerfest.
"For some reason when I come to Summerfest, I feel really at ease. I just feel more comfortable," said Gruber. "If this was my last breath, I’d be doing this right here."
Gruber said he has lost track of the number of Big Gigs he has played, and he started on the other side of the gates.
"I started playing actually outside the North Gate with my guitar case on the sidewalk, and then someone asked me to come in the next year," Gruber said.
Eugene Gruber performs at Summerfest's 2nd Floor Stage
This year, Gruber not only played but also managed the new 2nd Floor Stage – a place to showcase local talent right by the main entrance.
"It’s so intimate, people get to sit and interact and talk to each other," said Gruber.
"It helps people avoid crowds, gives them a place to sit down and eat and still see some good live music," Summerfest attendee Matt McGuire said.
How sweet it is to be back on stage.
"It means the world to all of us local musicians who didn’t get to really play much for the last year and a half. Now we’re here playing Summerfest, it’s way more than we could have ever expected," said Gruber.