Summerfest 2021 Pushes To September

Courtesy Summerfest
– Summerfest
Milwaukee’s Summerfest has postponed its 2021 event to September.

Massive Milwaukee festival Summerfest announced its postponement Tuesday from late June and early July to September 2021.

The Wisconsin institution will be held Sept. 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18, retaining the new three weekend format it developed when postponing last year’s event from June to September 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“While the progress made through the vaccine rollout is encouraging, we believe it is in the public’s best interest to hold the festival in September to give government leaders and healthcare organizations enough time to distribute the vaccine,” said Don Smiley, president and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., the event’s parent company. “We will continue to work diligently with civic officials and healthcare professionals as we prepare to welcome artists, fans, employees, vendors and sponsorship partners this summer. Our team is excited to get back to what we do best, as soon as possible.”

Refunds for Summerfest are available, and valid general admission tickets to the 2020 and 2021 events may be redeemed during the new September dates.

Summerfest’s 2020 iteration was ultimately canceled entirely. Booked performers included Dave Matthews Band, Halsey, Chris Stapleton, Guns N’ Roses, and Justin Bieber, all of whom rescheduled their appearances to the festival’s previously announced June and July 2021 dates. (Stapleton, Bieber and Guns N’ Roses still list June and July 2021 Summerfest dates on their websites; Halsey and Dave Matthews Band do not.)

At the time, Smiley said, “The immediate future presents multiple levels of risk for our fans, and we choose the side of safety.”

When fans do finally return to Henry Maier Festival Park, which houses Summerfest’s flagship American Family Insurance Amphitheater and several other smaller performance spaces, the experience will be a new one.

As detailed in a June 2019 VenuesNow story, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., recently embarked on an extensive series of renovations to its properties, including a $51.3 million update to the amphitheater.

“We felt that we had to do a rehab job on our building to stay competitive,” Smiley told VenuesNow in 2019. “When a building is 30-some years old, you have to do something with it – and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

Other improvements include the new Northwestern Mutual Community Park and the new Generac Power Stage. All three projects are expected to be completed by June 2021.

In October 2019, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., announced a preferred promoter agreement with Wisconsin-based Frank Productions Concerts that allowed the company to co-promote shows at American Family Insurance Amphitheater and BMO Harris Pavilion, another venue in Henry Maier Festival Park.