Summerfest officials unveil plans for new American Family Insurance Amphitheater

First phase of $50 million project already underway [SEE RENDERINGS]

A rendering of the all-new seating bowl.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:10 pm

Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. officials on Wednesday unveiled more detailed plans for the new $50 million American Family Insurance Amphitheater that will be built at Henry Maier Festival Park.

Plans for the venue include an all-new seating bowl configuration and raised stage to allow for better sight lines, expanded concourses, new video screens, new food and beverage operations, new VIP hospitality areas, additional restrooms and better accessibility. 

The amphitheater project will be completed over two years. The first phase will include raising a portion of the existing roof from 39 feet to 65 feet, adding new dressing rooms, production office space, and band catering and dining areas, completing electrical upgrades and expanding loading dock space for semi and tour bus parking. That work has already begun and will be ready for Summerfest 2019. 

Raising of the stage roof will allow the venue to accommodate the “largest touring productions,” officials said.

During the unveiling of the amphitheater plans, officials announced country singer Jason Aldean and guest Kane Brown as the first headliner lined up for the 2019 festival.

Following next year’s festival, construction will continue on the second phase of the amphitheater project, which will include new food and beverage options, restrooms, increased accessibility and the new seating bowl. The new seating bowl will maintain the current configuration and capacity of 23,000 people. The grand opening for the new amphitheater is anticipated for Summerfest 2020.

“We are thrilled to share the renderings and details for the construction of the new American Family Insurance Amphitheater as we continue to build upon the legacy established over the past 31 years,” said Don Smiley, president and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival Inc. “From Tina Turner to Kenny Chesney and The Rolling Stones, this building has hosted its share of legends. As a non-profit organization, it is critical we reinvest in this facility so that we can continue to attract top talent, ensuring Summerfest remains a driver of economic impact and tourism for Milwaukee.”

Eppstein Uhen Architects is the lead architectural firm for the design of the new American Family Insurance Amphitheater and Hunzinger Construction Company is managing the construction project. Both firms played a role in the building of the original facility in the mid-1980s.

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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.