Nearly every major college band in the country presents a post-game performance to entertain fans as they exit the stadium. Only at Camp Randall Stadium will you find 30,000-40,000 fans who stay as long as 45 minutes after the game to watch the band. Fans sing, dance, and enjoy the excitement of a 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 involving the student section. Initially, it was clapping to You’ve Said it All and arm-waving to Varsity. It soon became evident that everyone was having fun being part of the show. As the repertoire of post-game selections grew, so did the choreography. The band members added to the festivities by adding their own fun: 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 to allow uninterested spectators to exit the upper deck before the swaying began. However, interest in post-game grew by leaps and bounds. Around this 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 may also 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 by what they experience after a game against Wisconsin. Win or lose, thousands of fans stay after to celebrate with the band making the Fifth Quarter the Badger Band’s most beloved tradition.