Summerfest attendance down in 2018

The new U.S. Cellular Connection Stage on the north end of Henry Maier Festival Park.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:11 pm

Summerfest saw a decline in attendance coming off of its 50th edition in 2017, with a total of 766,192 attending this year’s festival, Milwaukee World Festival Inc. officials announced today.

The new U.S. Cellular Connection Stage on the north end of Henry Maier Festival Park.

The total was down 8 percent from the 2017 festival, which brought in 831,769 visitors. Festival officials noted that this year’s 11-day festival included three days of excessive heat warnings and two rainy days, which may have affected attendance.

It follows two years of consecutive attendance growth for the Big Gig. In 2016, attendance totaled 804,116. In 2015, attendance was 772,000.

This year’s festival included the unveiling of the new U.S. Cellular Connection Stage, north gate and community plaza and the Klement’s Sausage & Beer Garden.

Artists who performed at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater included: Imagine Dragons, James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt, Halsey and Logic, Florida Georgia Line, Dave Matthews Band, J. Cole, Journey and Def Leppard, Shawn Mendes, Blake Shelton, The Weeknd and Arcade Fire.

“In 2018, Summerfest delivered on its promise to offer one of the most diverse line-ups in the industry which appealed to our entire community,” said Don Smiley, president and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. “I want to thank our fans, sponsors, volunteers, Milwaukee Police Department, Milwaukee County Transit System, vendors and staff who persevered through five challenging weather days. Despite the rain and heat, our organization provided 11 great days of music, food and fun and contributed significantly to our local economy,”

About 14 percent of all attendees, 106,294 patrons in total, took advantage of an admission promotion this year.

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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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