Speakers

In 2001, 10 activists who were veterans of the successful battle to stop Perrier-Nestle from taking our state’s spring water and ruining our ground water and wetlands came together in Wisconsin Dells. They were looking to find ways to carry the victory forward into other arenas and to help other citizen groups learn from their experiences.

Out of this meeting, and this sentiment, Fighting Bob Fest was born.  The group discussed the problems they faced when the Perrier fight began. They pledged to spread their newfound knowledge. They decided to devote what energy they had remaining to sponsoring an event that would bring together citizens who were willing to help each other.

They needed some kind of galvanizing event that would help them establish a statewide network. The discussion soon turned into a proposal to host an old fashioned Chautauqua and name it after Wisconsin’s most famous hell raiser, Fighting Bob La Follette. La Follette fought for democracy and economic fairness; he busted trusts, railed against the robber barons’ control over the political system, called for open primaries, workers’ compensation and unemployment insurance. He thought people and ideas should rule instead of Big Money.

About 1,000 people showed up for the first Fighting Bob Fest in September 2002. In addition to the speakers on the grandstand, there were small session meetings focusing on different issues and topics: how to start a grassroots organization to stop a big box store; how to file a Freedom of Information Act request.

Fighting Bob Fest has grown every year and is, as far as we know, the largest annual political festival in the United States. Fighting Bob Fest VI drew more than 8,000 people.
 



 

PAST FESTS
2013
2012
2011
2010
2009
2008
2007
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002