Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. Announces Promoter Agreement With Frank Productions Concerts

Courtesy of Summerfest
– Summerfest
American Family Insurance Amphitheater hosts a Summerfest concert.

Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., the parent company behind Summerfest and Milwaukee’s American Family Insurance Amphitheater, announced a preferred promoter agreement with Wisconsin-based Frank Productions Concerts (FPC Live) Tuesday.

The agreement allows FPC Live to co-promote concerts at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater and nearby BMO Harris Pavilion, both located in Milwaukee’s Henry Maier Festival Park, and comes as the former prepares to reopen in June 2020 after a $53 million renovation.

FPC, a joint venture partner of Live Nation, will have preferred booking rights to national touring shows at both venues, excluding Summerfest, which will continue to be booked in-house.

“As we look forward to the grand opening of the new American Family Insurance Amphitheater next June, we are excited to begin this new relationship to continue our legacy as Milwaukee’s premier destination for music during the summer,” said Don Smiley, president and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., in a statement. “With $53 million in upgrades to the venue, our goal is to host as many concerts as possible during our festival season.”

Added FPC Live President Charlie Goldstone: “The combination of Henry Maier Festival Park’s longstanding history with Frank Productions’ 50 years of producing Wisconsin’s biggest concerts is going to lead to a successful future of more live events on Milwaukee’s lakefront.”

American Family Insurance Amphitheater holds 23,000 and was opened in 1987, while BMO Harris Pavilion holds up to 7,000 and was opened in 2012.

FPC Live has promoted shows at both venues already. On June 8, Vampire Weekend played BMO Harris Pavilion, selling 4,955 tickets and grossing $296,673. When “Vans Warped Tour” hit American Family Insurance Amphitheater on July 23, 2018, it did so in conjunction with FPC Live, selling 10,644 tickets and grossing $443,380.

Live Nation acquired a majority stake in FPC Live last year. According to Pollstar Boxoffice data, FPC Live’s 1.12 million tickets sold through Q3 of this year – which yielded a $78.4 million gross – ranked No. 12 among promoters globally. FPC Live frequently promotes regional Live Nation tours, at venues including Fiserv Forum, and the deal could make Live Nation’s myriad outdoor summer tours likelier to stop in Milwaukee.

The renovations themselves will also make American Family Insurance Amphitheater more attractive for desirable bookings.

“People expect more when they go out and see a show,” Robert Gosse, MWF director of design & construction, told VenuesNow in a June feature about the renovations. “People expect more when they go out and see a show.”

The renovations included improvements to the facility’s production capabilities and to the fan and artist experiences. They also included an ambitious roof raise that prompted several other major changes to the amphitheater.

“We felt that we had to do a rehab job on our building to stay competitive,” Smiley told VenuesNow. “When a building is 30-some years old, you have to do something with it – and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

According to a press release, 2020 shows booked under the new agreement will be announced on a rolling basis.