Summerfest, Milwaukee's Big Gig

A Profile of Summerfest, The World's Largest Music Festival

photo © Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.

Plan Your Visit to Summerfest 2013:

  • Summerfest 2013 will run from June 26 - 30, and July 2 - 7.
  • Getting to Summerfest.
  • Summerfest Admission
    Adults: $16 after 4 p.m. weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday
    Adults: $9 noon to 4 p.m. weekdays
    Seniors (60+): $5
    Children (3-10, with adult): $5
    Children (2 & under): Free
    Three-day pass: $39
    Weekday value pass: $20
    You can also save big by checking out this list of Summerfest Free Admission Deals.
  • Summerfest 2013 Marcus Headliners.

About Summerfest

Though there are many festivals that occur each summer along Milwaukee's lakefront, none are as popular as "the Big Gig," the enormous, eleven-day Summerfest, which is indeed touted as "the world's largest music festival."

Started in 1968 by then-mayor Henry Maier, Summerfest now garners an annual attendance of more than one million people. While the main draw is obviously the music, there are numerous other activities happening concurrently among the twelve stages, including family-friendly activities during the day. (FYI: Summerfest is not a great place to bring young children at night.)

The highlights of Summerfest are often the big-name performers who perform nightly at the Marcus Amphitheater, a 25,000 seat venue on one end of the ground. Separate admission is charged to see these acts, generally $30 - $80, but a limited number of free lawn seats are often given to die-hards who come early enough.

The variety of acts at Summerfest is amazing. In 2007, headliners at the Amphitheater ranged from Def Leppard, Foreigner and Styx on one night to Panic! At the Disco and Gym Class Heroes a few night later. The free stages were just as eclectic, ranging from Lupe Fiasco to the Old 97's, or Morris Day and the Time to Randy Travis.

Fun Fact: George Carlin was once arrested for disorderly conduct at Summerfest after performing his "Seven Words You Can't Say on Television" act.