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The Best Anthem And Halftime Performers

The Best Anthem And Halftime Performers

Coming up this weekend is the Big Game (you know the one). For football fanatics, it's one of the biggest days of the season, but you don't have to love football to enjoy the day.

This year may or may not be as exciting, especially without the over-the-top commercials or the fact the Packers aren’t playing it (#SorryNotSorry #ShamelessWisconsinitePlug), but for as long as the Big Game has been around, it's kicked off with a performance of the National Anthem and an epic musical performance halftime show. Did you know in the early days, both the national anthem and the halftime show were performed by marching bands? Since the late 80s, however, both the anthem and halftime show have been performed by bigger and bigger musical acts as part of the overall experience. 

And well, that got us thinking. Since we're known for our musical acts, how many Big Gig headliners have also performed at the Big Game?

Curiosity got the best of us, so we headed to the Summerfest Vault for the master-lineup document we use to keep track of all the artists that have played the festival. We spent one morning doing the tallying. According to our records, 22 National-Anthem-performing performers have also played Summerfest, and 43 different halftime performers have also played our festival. Talk about talent!

We’ve compiled a list below so you can see it for yourself. Artists that have been bolded are Summerfest headliners. You have to admit that this is pretty cool and these are some solid numbers.

Disclaimer: While we haven't had Beyoncé as a solo artist, she did play with Destiny's Child back in 1998 and 2001, so we're counting it.

Mobile Horizontal View Scroll table left and right
Year National Anthem Performers Halftime Show Performers

The Pride of Arizona, Michigan Marching Band, UCLA Choir

University of Arizona and Grambling State marching bands


Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band Grambling State band
1969 Lloyd Geisler of the Washington National Symphony Orchestra America Thanks with Florida A&M University band
1970 Al Hirt Carol Channing
1971 Tommy Loy Florida A&M band
1972 US Air Force Academy Chorale Salute to Louis Armstrong - Ella Fitzgerald, Carol Channing, Al Hirt, and US Marine Corps Drill Team
1973 Little Angels Children's Choir of Chicago's Holy Angels Church Happiness Is - University of Michigan marching band and Woody Herman
1974 Charley Pride A Musical American - University of Texas Band
1975 Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band Tribute to Duke Ellington - Mercer Ellington and Grambling State band
1976 Tom Sullivan 200 Years and Just a Baby
1977 Vikki Car sings America the Beautiful It's A Small World
1978 Phyllis Kell of the University of Louisana at Monroe From Paris to the Paris of America - Tyler Apache Belles, Pete Fountain, and Al Hirt
1979 The Colgate Thirteen Super Bowl XIII Carnival Salute to the Caribbean - Ken Hamilton
1980 Cheryl Ladd Salute to the Big Band Era - Up with People
1981 Helen O'Connell Mardi Gras Festival
1982 Diana Ross A Salute to the 60s and Motown
1983 Leslie Easterbrook KaleidoSUPERscope
1984 Barry Manilow Super Bowl XVIII's Salute to the Superstars of the Silver Screen
1985 San Francisco's Boys Chorus, Girls Chorus, and Children's Chorus and Piedmont Children's Chorus A World of Children's Dreams
1986 Wynston Marsalis A Beat of the Future
1987 Neil Diamond Salute to Hollywood's 100th Anniversary
1988 Herb Alpert Something Grand - 88 grand pianos, The Rockettes, Chubby Checker
1989 Billy Joel Be Bop Bamboozled
1990 Aaron Neville Salute to New Orleans - Pete Fountain, Doug Kershaw & Irma Thomas
1991 Whitney Houston with the Florida Orchestra A Small World Salute to 25 Years of the Super Bowl - New Kids on the Block
1992 Harry Connick, Jr. Winter Magic - Gloria Estefan, Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamill
1993 Garth Brooks Heal the World - Michael Jackson
1994 Natalie Cole Rockin' Country - Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, Wynonna & Naomi Judd
1995 Kathie Lee Gifford Indiana Jones and the Temple of the Forbidden Eye - Tony Bennett, Patti LaBelle, Arturo Sandoval, Miami Sound Machine
1996 Vanessa L. Williams Diana Ross
1997 Luther Vandross Blues Brothers Bash - Dan Akroyd, John Goodman and James Belushi, James Brown and ZZ Top
1998 Jewel A Tribute to Motown's 40th Anniversary - Boyz II Men, Smokey Robinson, Queen Latifah, Martha Reeves, and The Temptations
1999 Cher Celebration of Soul, Salsa and Swing - Stevie Wonder, Gloria Estefan, Big Bad Voodoo Daddy
2000 Faith Hill A Tapestry of Nations - Phil Collins, Christina Aguilera, Enrique Iglesias, Tony Braxton
2001 Backstreet Boys The Kings of Rock and Pop - Aerosmith, N'Sync, Britney Spears, Mary J. Blige and Nelly
2002 Mariah Carey U2
2003 The Chicks (formerly Dixie Chicks) Shania Twain, No Doubt, Sting
2004 Beyoncé Janet Jackson, Kid Rock, P.Diddy, Nelly and Justin Timberlake
2005 US Army Herald Trumpets and choirs from the US Military Academy, US Navy Academy, US Air Force Academy, and the US Coast Guard Academy Paul McCartney
2006 Aaron Neville, Aretha Franklin and Dr. John The Rolling Stones
2007 Billy Joel Prince and the Florida A&M Marching Band
2008 Jordin Sparks Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
2009 Jennifer Hudson Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band
2010 Carrie Underwood The Who
2011 Christina Aguilera The Black Eyed Peas, Usher, Slash
2012 Kelly Clarkson Madonna, LMFAO, Nicki Minaj, M.I.A., CeeLo Green
2013 Alicia Keys Beyoncé
2014 Renée Fleming Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers
2015 Idina Menzel Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz, Missy Elliot
2016 Lady Gaga Coldplay, Beyoncé, Bruno Mars
2017 Luke Bryan Lady Gaga
2018 P!nk Justin Timberlake, The Tennessee Kids, University of Minnesota Marking Band
2019 Gladys Knight Maroon 5, Travis Scott, Big Boi
2020 Demi Lovato Jennifer Lopez & Shakira
2021 Eric Church and Jazmine Sullivan The Weeknd

How about you?
How many of these artists have you seen at Summerfest? Who’s been your favorite Big Game anthem performer? What about your favorite halftime show artist? Let us know, and check out some pictures of these past headliners on our social channels!


Brush up on your favorite tunes

Author: Kellie McGinnis