Summerfest 2021 to feature new scheduling format

Last updated on August 28th, 2020 at 12:41 pm

Summerfest 2021 will be held over three consecutive weekends, the festival’s operator announced Thursday. 

Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. said the new format will provide an extended booking window for the festival to schedule more national artists during the daytime programming. 

The annual festival is traditionally held for 11 days over two consecutive weeks. This year’s festival was canceled for the first time in its 53-year history due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

The new dates for 2021 are: June 24-26, July 1-3, and July 8-10. 

Confirmed headliners for next year’s festival include: Khalid on June 24, Luke Bryan on June 25, Justin Bieber on June 26, Dave Matthews Band on July 1, Blink-182 on July 2, Halsey on July 3, Chris Stapleton on July 8 and Guns N’ Roses on July 10. 

Holding the festival from Thursday to Saturday could be a draw for more visitors, MWF said in its announcement. The festival will also plan new initiatives with partners such as VISIT Milwaukee and other tourism organizations. The annual festival generates an estimated economic impact of $186 million, according to MWF.

General admission tickets will remain priced at $23. 

“The pandemic, which resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 event season, profoundly impacted our non-profit organization. In response, our leadership team analyzed available data, patron surveys and the event landscape and ultimately determined the best possible path forward for Summerfest was to transition to a new format,” said Don Smiley, president and chief executive officer of MWF. “Our fans have been asking for a bigger experience, and we are excited to be able to bring more weekends and more national talent to the already blockbuster Summerfest lineup, while continuing to provide significant economic impact to our state and region.”

The 2021 festival will also feature the debut of the newly renovated American Family Insurance Amphitheater. The $53.1 million facility upgrade included expanding the venue’s concourses, all new seats, additional restrooms, new food and beverage options and accessibility enhancements. The first phase of the renovation was unveiled at the 2019 festival, and the second phase was originally scheduled to debut at this year’s festival. 

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Lauren Anderson
Lauren Anderson covers health care, nonprofits, education and insurance for BizTimes. Lauren previously reported on education for the Waukesha Freeman. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she studied journalism, history and African studies. In her free time, Lauren enjoys spending time with family and friends and seeing live music wherever she can.

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