A Sunny Summerfest

Milwaukee’s Summerfest saw a weather-assisted 2.5 percent spike in attendance during its 11-day, rain-free run ending July 4. Milwaukee World Festival said attendance was 856,254, up from 835,679 in 2009.

Organizers declined to release specific revenue figures, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, but preliminary estimates of combined gate, concert ticket and F&B sales exceed the prior year’s by 1.3 percent. The increased attendance has to be considered good news considering the mostly slow summer.

“We are very pleased with our 2010 preliminary results,” Milwaukee World Festival President/CEO Don Smiley said in a statement. “Between the great talent lineup, excellent weather and aggressive sales and marketing programs for festival-goers and sponsors, we managed to grow our numbers while the economy continues to present significant challenges.”

Among the headliners at Marcus Amphitheatre were Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Justin Bieber, Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood, Eric Clapton with Roger Daltrey, Lynyrd Skynryd, Usher and Carlos Santana with Steve Winwood.

The attendance figures still fall well short of peak crowds of 2001 and 2002, when crowds topped 1 million, but well above 2008’s 831,024.

Summerfest is expected to clear roughly $3 million for the nonprofit Milwaukee World Festival, adding to its reserve accounts and building a capital fund for $16.4 million in future renovations.