SummerfestSummerfest Megathread (self.milwaukee)

submitted by remmizkilbourn town - announcement

Celebrating a 50th anniversary this year, Summerfest is Milwaukee's largest annual festival. It spans 11 jam-packed days full of music, food, beer, drunk underage teenagers, tall people standing on bleachers, and chaos in the Third Ward. The names may have changed but the overpriced beer and barely adequate lineup are still in place!


  • Located downtown on the lakefront in Henry Maier Festival Park
  • Runs from Noon - Midnight, June 28 - July 9 (closed on July 3)
  • General admission tickets are $20 and can be bought at the gates
    • There are many ways to get in cheaper or free during the day
    • Main stage shows are separate and more expensive but include a general admission
    • Wristbands for re-entry are available until 6:30 pm and valid until 7:00 pm the same day

Getting Around


  • Walking
    • Enjoy the new intersection of Lincoln Memorial and Clybourn St
  • Running
    • Please bring a change of clothes
  • Biking
    • There are free bike racks near all gates
    • Bublr bike, our largest local bike share, has stations nearby and all over downtown
  • Motorcycle
    • Free parking near the Mid gate which usually fills up pretty quick
  • Taxi
    • Uber/Lyft/does anyone take normal cabs anymore - Dropoff/pickup areas near all gates (only Mid after 10:00 pm)
  • Street Car
    • Not yet
  • Car
    • Lots next to Summerfest and in the Third Ward are usually most expensive and fill up pretty quickly. Also getting out is a pain after 10:00 pm.
    • There are plenty of nearby parking structures downtown within a short walking distance
    • Don't be a dingus and drink and drive
  • Shuttles
  • Bus
  • RV
    • Interesting lifestyle but power to you. Nearest parking is at State Fair where you can take an MCTS freeway flyer to the grounds
  • Train
    • From the South - Amtrak Hiawatha (with a late train on Saturdays during the festival)

Around the grounds

  • The lake path is always less congested. Try to avoid using the main path after 10PM unless you want to swim through a lake of vaping teenagers.
  • Most available seating is usually near the North gate food area
  • Be careful of people making out on the rocks near the lake
  • Take the skyglider for an easy trip across the grounds and for a chance to look down people's shirts

Admission Deals

  • Jun 28 - Free admission with 3 non-perishable food items between noon and 3:00 pm
  • Jun 29 - Beverages will be 50% off from noon - 6pm
  • Jun 30 - Free admission and bobblehead with a red shirt or Sendik's bag between noon – 3:00 pm
  • Jul 1 - Free admission for first 1,500 with $10.00 purchase receipt from Goodwill
  • Jul 2 - Free admission all day if your 50th birthday is this year or first 2,500 with 3 nutritious non-perishable food items
  • Jul 4 - Free admission for the first 2,500 with specially marked Mountain Dew can
  • Jul 5 - Free admission between noon and 3:00 pm
  • Jul 6 - Free admission for old people (60+) between noon and 4:00 pm
  • Jul 7 - Free admission for the first 1,500 with receipt from any Boston Store
  • Jul 8 - Free admission for the first 1,500 with a new or gently used children’s book
  • Jul 9 - Free admission between noon and 3:00 pm

(full deals details here)

Simplified Lineup thanks to /u/ericnbrill

2016's Summerfest Megathread

Please feel free to comment with any tips, questions, or comments and I will update this post. Also please keep all Summerfest-related questions or general discussion in this megathread.

[–]MabelLovesWaddlesWalker's Point 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Any ideas on a good spot to see the fireworks tonight from outside the grounds? Is South Shore Park too far away? Can you see them from the rooftop at Camp Bar? Trail by the Hoan bridge?

Would like to see the fireworks but besides Hippo Campus and GGOOLLDD I'm not too keen on the lineup and fighting the crowd tonight.

[–]remmizkilbourn town[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Veteran's Park by the art museum is probably your best bet. Really wherever you can see the city's fireworks on the 3rd you can see the big bang from.

[–]Nilbogin 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Hey if I head down and get free General admission tickets using one of these deals do I have to use the ticket immediately or can I get a free ticket and come back and use it later that day?

[–]remmizkilbourn town[S] 2 points3 points  (1 child)

I think the tickets are only valid during the promotion period.

[–]Nilbogin 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Fawk! Thanks!

[–]Machtung7 0 points1 point  (5 children)

Is there any "catch" to the free tickets today from Guster? I'll be stopping in around 6pm.

[–]remmizkilbourn town[S] 1 point2 points  (4 children)

Doesn't seem like it to me. I got a ticket from Guster too and it looks pretty legit.

[–]Machtung7 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I signed up for one. Guess I'll find out later. Pretty cool for a headliner to do that. I don't think I've seen that before (granted, I've only gone for a couple of years now)

[–]Goose21 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Are they only valid until 12:00?

Thats when their show is

[–]remmizkilbourn town[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Doesn't say anything about valid times on the ticket. They also play at 10PM so I imagine they would be good all day.

[–]Goose21 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Ahhh didnt see the 10pm show. Nice, thanks for clarifying!

[–]BathbodyworksBlack Deer 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Is the $50 level up deck VIP package worth it!?

[–]-WISCONSIN- 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Re-posting here, only because this post is stickied and I made my original post before realizing this was the case. My intent is just to make people aware that they should be vigilant. No bamboozle.

As you have probably been made aware, Summerfest began today and will go on for roughly the next two weeks. Summerfest is a fun event that brings the South Eastern Wisconsin community together, and brings visitors and acts from out of town to our fun little city. With that in mind, anytime a large group of people come together in one area, the risk of danger increases--at least marginally. You can protect yourself and others from danger by being informed, aware of your surroundings, and conducting yourself in a manner consistent with safety.

Let's talk about some of the "dangers" associated with Summerfest, and how you can contribute to the overall safety of the event.

  1. Intoxicants and You: Intoxicants are any substance that alters the mind. The history of our state, nation, and species is inextricably intertwined with intoxicant usage, even recreational use. While I personally prefer to listen to a good tune in a lucid state, I realize some subsets of music/festival culture have historically celebrated the use of intoxicants while enjoying their music of choice. Such intoxicants include everything from alcohol (or even, caffeine) to LSD and stronger drugs. I strongly encourage you, if you choose to indulge in any form of intoxication while at Summerfest, to conduct yourself in an upstanding fashion and know your limits. Additionally, regardless of whether or not you are a user, you should be on the look out for those who have become too intoxicated to the point that you believe their judgement is impaired, or to the extent that they may be a danger (or even just a nuisance) to themselves or others who are enjoying the acts. Either help such persons directly, or alert the appropriate personnel as required. Safety of all persons, including the intoxicated, is paramount.

  2. On Lewd Behavior: Whether it's the music I listen to or my own personality, I've never been interested in using a festival as an excuse to indulge in sexual deviancy. However, music does inspire emotions in some people and so long as the acts are consensual I do not consider it especially problematic if two (or more) persons wish to have PDAs (public displays of affection) at a concert. HOWEVER, it is the duty of all concert-goers to be aware and to be on the lookout for their fellow human beings, and to step in if they observe any behaviors that are sexually deviant or considered non-consensual among any of the parties involved. If you see something, address it--either by stepping in yourself or alerting the relevant personnel. Licentiousness is one thing, but if you believe you are seeing something that isn't safe or impinges on a person's right to their own body, it's up to you to address it. You can make a difference by stepping in or alerting the right people.

  3. Crimes and Villainy: Most upstanding members of the Milwaukee community recognize that we are a part of the larger world community, and though Milwaukee exists in a state of relative peace, there is still plenty of anguish and evil present both within our community and without. Summerfest is a large gathering of people from all across the globe (yes, I have heard of travelers coming from outside the country to see certain acts this year) and, as such, it attracts some of the less savory characters among us. Be aware of your belongings at all times, and keep on the lookout for others' belongings as well. Help people who seem lost. Address those who appear anxious. Stop those who are engaging in unruly or unsafe behaviors that may bring harm to themselves or other concert-goers. If you see anyone suspicious (like someone who appears to be lingering around a place without apparent purpose) or anything suspicious (like an unattended suitcase or bag, container, piece of technology, a weapon, etc.) that seems out of place, please make sure that you are making the responsible personnel (security, grounds keeping etc.) aware. People are surprised, but many evil--potentially even life-threatening--incidents have been stopped because a good citizen simply made the right people aware in time. These cases are not often reported because they don't draw views or clicks in the same way theft/injury/death does, but if you value the well-being of your fellow concert-goers, these cases illustrate the profound impact that awareness and willingness to act can have.

In summary, be aware, be pro-active, be safe, obey the laws, be cool, enjoy the music, rock on, and peace and good-tidings to you over the course of the next two weeks should you decide to attend Summerfest. :)

Until next time!

[–]TrashPanda4PrezDefranco 2024 4 points5 points  (3 children)

Where do i go if i want to be groped by strange men while they spill beer on me?

[–]KEM10Tosa'ish 0 points1 point  (0 children)


[–]jesusontheraido 4 points5 points  (1 child)

Chainsmokers, OAR

Safe places: Toto, Los Lonely Boys

[–]jwalk131920East Town 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Username checks out

[–]ayykimbo 1 point2 points  (1 child)

PSA: I have tons of the weekday / before 4p tickets available! This offer good for all of Summerfest. Pick-up Monday - Thursday 9a to 3p and Fridays 9a to Noon near Brady & Farwell, message me to arrange.

[–]VersaceWaterfall 0 points1 point  (0 children)

sent a message

[–]IVuallan 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Are we allowed to bring reusable waterbottles into the festival? Will there be places to fill them?

[–]rchiariello 1 point2 points  (0 children)

There are water fountains by all of the restrooms. (Yes, I've lived in Wisconsin my entire life and don't say 'bubbler'.)

[–]remmizkilbourn town[S] 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I believe you can bring in an empty water bottle and fill it inside. I am not sure on locations where you can fill it though.

[–]remmizkilbourn town[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Summerfest snoo - creepy or super creepy?

[–]KEM10Tosa'ish 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Why so serious?

[–]ericnbrill 6 points7 points  (2 children)

Here's a cool tool to help you figure out who you want to see. It's essentially a simplified list of the Summerfest lineup:

[–]rchiariello 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Summerfest's format is seriously awful.

[–]MKEBeerGeek 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Awesome! Thanks!

[–]Nilbogin 1 point2 points  (4 children)

Question time! So I'm planning on seeing ziggy marley at the harley davidson roadhouse on the 2nd. Can I use the general admission tickets I have to see that show since it's not at one of the two "pay stages."

Edit: 2nd question. Could I use two weekday admission tickets (valid until 4 pm) and then just snag a reentry wristband and come back before 7? I don't wanna sit around all day but I do wanna use these tickets to see an act later in the day

[–]rchiariello 3 points4 points  (3 children)

Yes and yes

[–]xSpankyyx 1 point2 points  (1 child)

What about Flume @ Miller Light Oasis?

[–]rchiariello 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Literally every stage that isn't the Amphitheater is included in general admission.

[–]Nilbogin 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Awesome thanks!

[–]Pr0bl3mChild 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Free admission for old people?

[–]remmizkilbourn town[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Anyone over the age of 60 gets in free that day between noon and 4pm

[–]jordguitar 5 points6 points  (1 child)

Discovery World is going to have plenty of Bublr Bikes and docks during Summerfest. So if you are going by bike, head that way.

If you are going to use a Flyer, buy a M-Card if you are going to go multiple times and load it up with cash in 5 dollar increments. Tap in on your way to Summerfest, no need to tap in when you are leaving (the drivers will actively block you from paying). If you are just going once, do Pre>Fare as it will be slightly cheaper than getting a M-Card. Those that have passes (not day, week, or monthly) you get to ride for free.

[–]Drunk_Jesus 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Also, to discovery world members, the parking garage is not vouched during summer fest.

[–]quietlylurking14 2 points3 points  (1 child)

Hey, I'm looking to go to Misterwives on Wednesday (the 28th). Anyone looking for a friend/blind date? My friend was going to come and can't go after all and I really want to see them. PM me!

[–]Gaphappy 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I'm looking to go to misterwives!!

[–]SprinklesFTWSherman Park 8 points9 points  (4 children)

Wristbands for re-entry are available until 6:30 PM. Re-entry ends at 7.

[–]ericnbrill 1 point2 points  (0 children)

You can get in until 7:06 (confirmed today)!

[–]IVuallan 0 points1 point  (2 children)

Can you still get into the festival if you arrive after 7:00?

[–]remmizkilbourn town[S] 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Yes but you will need to have an unused general admission ticket.

[–]IVuallan 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Gotcha, thanks!

[–]yallgonlearntoday 13 points14 points  (0 children)

On days where you somehow can't get in for free via a promotion, the ghetto corner store on 29th and Clybourn has regular admission tix for $10.

[–]artdecomovement 10 points11 points  (6 children)

Since this has been an issue in the past, for any out-of-towners or first-time-goers, people occasionally refer to the stages around the grounds as "free stages". This is said to separate them from the American Family Insurance Amphitheater, where you pay for additional concert tickets to see the headliner. For all other stages, you do not need to pay for additional concert tickets as they are included in the price of admission.

[–]adamb10Saint Francis 4 points5 points  (5 children)

Is BMO Harris Pavillion ticketed? I thought it was for the evening headliners.

[–]artdecomovement 2 points3 points  (0 children)

From the brochure (PDF):


Summerfest will offer a seating option at the BMO Harris Pavilion with Miller Lite for all headlining performances. This policy offers Summerfest fans the choice of free general admissions seats or reserved seats available for purchase at or at the Summerfest Box Office.

[–]georgecm12 3 points4 points  (0 children)

I think they have a "gold section" in front that is ticketed, but the back seats are un-ticketed. Also, not all evening headliners have reserved/ticketed seating.

[–]illestMFKAalive 1 point2 points  (2 children)

Yes headliners at BMO you have to pay for a ticket.

[–]beedumboobop 1 point2 points  (1 child)

How would one go about buying tickets for these shows?

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