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Randall says these travelers tend to avoid major metros and prefer smaller towns that are walkable. “They’re not as much into shopping as they were – they’re still trying to get rid of stuff – but they like quality local dining in pretty and fun places offering light but not physically demanding activities.”

Madison fits the bill: It ranks high on many “most livable cities” lists for its vibrant culture and dining scene. It’s an easy-going white-collar city wedged among four beautiful lakes less than two Interstate hours from Milwaukee and Chicago, with state parks close at hand. The University of Wisconsin, an academic powerhouse, is in the middle of town.

Bill Geist, whose ZeitGeist travel marketing firm is based in Madison, says, “Roughly half the nation’s wealth is in the hands of Boomers, who are at the point in life where they want to spend what they’ve accumulated on experiencing things … As much as sitting on a beach, they want to see concerts and festivals.”

Geist, an Illinois native, says the city’s 1960s heritage is “powerful stuff” when it comes to allure, and Madison Reunion shows strategic marketing: “Boomers remember this was their life – going to concerts and rallies. Unlike Gen Xers and Millennials, who are job- and family-focused, Boomers lived for the moment here. Madison Reunion is recapturing that … an event unique enough to say, ‘Hey, let’s do Madison.’”

The Temptations are playing the UW Memorial Union on June 14; Steely Dan and the Doobie Brothers take the stage at city-owned Breese Stevens Field on June 16. The bands have no direct connection to Madison, but are culturally tied to the ’60s and ’70s.

The Madison Reunion organizer is Ben Sidran – a longtime fixture on the Madison music scene, an award-winning keyboardist/broadcaster/writer who moved from Racine, Wis., to Madison in 1961, and who was in a bar band with fellow students (and future pop stars) Steve Miller and Scaggs.

Sidran says, “We travel the world, and in Europe we met people after gigs who had been in Madison. There was lots of curiosity about what happened to the place and to us. The idea of a reunion of people in Madison in the ’60s took told hold three years ago.”

In the 1960s, Sidran says, “I was primarily a jazz musician – dramatically different from someone in (Students for a Democratic Society) or who was a theater major. I started thinking about a conference in the middle of a reunion as kind of a destination for everybody who wanted to know about that state of mind. It would be a way of getting in touch with something we all remembered. What we’re planning is like the ‘60s – back in the time in that you couldn’t experience more than 20% of what was all going on.”

Through old-school ties and affinity groups, his Madison Reunion mushroomed. The event includes 32 panels over three days, covering everything from politics and media to film, the environment, women’s studies, comedy and literature. No-charge Reunion events staged across Madison include free concerts at the Memorial Union terrace and a film series.

Among those in Sidran’s corner is Madison mayor Paul Soglin (B.A. with honors in history, 1966; 1972 law school grad). Soglin, an activist who represented a student ward on the Madison City Council in the 1960s, became mayor in 1973 and has remained so for most of the following decades. He is now running for governor in the 2018 Democratic primary.

David Maraniss has an unusual perspective on the Reunion: At The Washington Post he won a Pulitzer Prize for political reporting and wrote the best-selling biographies First in his Class about Bill Clinton and Barack Obama: The Story. Maraniss also wrote They Marched Into Sunlight, about the Vietnam War in 1967 and reactions it caused in Madison, where he grew up. At one point, he was a stringer for he Capital Times, covering high school sports and student riots.

“In some ways,” he says, “the ’60s started around 1966 and went through ’74, when Nixon resigned. When I was a (UW) freshman in 1967, the largest club on campus was the Young Republicans. There was a counter-culture that was starting to build, but it wasn’t overwhelming. That’s mythology.”

Maraniss dropped out of school to marry his then-girlfriend, Linda; they live in Washington but relocate to their home in Madison every summer. “I have plenty of good friends who make it fun and interesting. The city is not perfect, but is a great place in the summer. We call it ‘Camp Madison.’ ”

Another journalist/author at a podium during the event will be New York native Peter Greenberg (B.A., 1972), travel editor for CBS News. The Emmy Award winner says, “I owe my entire career to Madison. It shaped everything … my life, work, world view and perspective, more than any other city.

“I got there in September 1967 and didn’t know where I was. Why Madison? I had been accepted there, there were others I knew who had gone there, and it was 960 miles from Manhattan. I didn’t know what a B.A. was. I was trying to find my way.

“The University of Wisconsin was the most active, engaged and violent campus in America – more than Berkeley and Columbia combined. I walked into the (student) paper there and already, permanent clouds of tear gas were there. Life for me was never the same after.”

Greenberg now commutes between homes in New York and Los Angeles (“Home is seat 3B”) but says his heart is still on campus: “I’m still 17 years old walking around the lake or trudging up Bascom Hill in sub-zero temperatures. Going there brings you back to what is important and what is real.

State Street hasn’t physically changed much, but most bars, stores and shops from the 1960s and ’70s are no longer there. Still in business in the downtown area: Paul’s Books; the Porta Bella and Nick’s restaurants; the Red Shed, Plaza, Church Key and Nitty Gritty taprooms.

There are new high-rise housing complexes behind many downtown landmarks – and the effect is nostalgia-numbing. The Langdon Street frat houses and Miffland (the 500 block of Mifflin Street, once a Movement hotbed) are spruced up but look the same.

In Schenk’s Corners, unwind at the One Barreled Brewing or grab a bite and suds at Alchemy. See who’s playing at the Barrymore Theatre – a tour stop this year for the likes of John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful, Leo Kotke, Hot Tuna and Justin Hayward of the Moody Blues.