See photos of Summerfest opening day

Last updated on September 7th, 2021 at 01:40 pm

Henry Maier Festival Park welcomed visitors back to Summerfest on Thursday, marking the music festival’s return after it was forced to cancel the 2020 festival due to COVID-19.

The opening day of the nine-day festival – which is being held over the next three weekends – included new screening protocols, with guests being required to show a negative COVID test or proof of COVID vaccination, as well as new improvements to the festival grounds.

It’s the first time many visitors will see the fully remodeled American Family Insurance Amphitheater, which underwent a $53 million upgrade over the past three years. Country singer Luke Bryan is scheduled to headline the main stage tonight.

The new Generac Power Stage is another noticeable change, as the Town of Genesee-based generator maker’s name is now on the stage that Harley-Davidson formerly sponsored.

The new Northwestern Mutual Community Park is also new this year. The Milwaukee-based life insurance company invested $2 million to convert the former children’s theater and play area into an accessible playground.

In past years, the annual event has made an estimated $186 million economic impact on the Milwaukee area. In 2019, the festival had 718,144 visitors.

See photos from early afternoon on opening day:

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