Nearly every major college band in the country presents a post-game performance to entertain fans exiting the stadium. Nowhere except Camp Randall Stadium can you find 30,000-40,000 die-hard who will stay for as long as 45 to 50 minutes after the game. Fans stay to watch, sing, dance, and enjoy the excitement of a latter-day Wisconsin tradition: the Fifth Quarter.
It was around 1977 that the Badger Band began to attract the attention of both students and the media with a unique approach to the post-game show. In addition to presenting highlights of the day’s pre-game and halftime shows, the band would include an occasional arrangement that would involve the student section. Initially, it was clapping to You’ve Said it All and arm waiving to Varsity. Nevertheless, it was evident early on that everyone was having fun being part of the show. As the repertoire of post-game specialties grew, so did the choreography. The band members added to the festivities by adding their own bit of craziness: rolling vigorously on the ground, playing while standing on their heads or kicking their legs in the air while playing on their backs. In 1978, it was announced that the band would delay playing You’ve Said it All until 10 minutes after the game had ended to enable the weak-of-heart spectators to exit the upper deck before the swaying began. Interest in the post-game grew by leaps and bounds. It was about that time the press began referring to the post-game antics as “the Fifth Quarter.”
Although the program for the Fifth Quarter is constantly evolving, there are many staples. These include On Wisconsin, You’ve Said it All, and, Varsity. You will also likely hear the Beer Barrel Polka, Dance Little Bird (Chicken Dance), Tequila, Space Badgers, and many more.
From Tampa to New York to Seattle to Pasadena, the Fifth Quarter has been performed in all corners of the United States. In Minnesota and Las Vegas it was even performed in the dark! Everywhere the band goes people are amazed, even stunned, by what they see after a game against Wisconsin. Win or lose, thousands of fans stay after to celebrate with the band making the Fifth Quarter the Wisconsin Band’s most beloved tradition.