Will masks be required at this year’s Summerfest? That’s the big (gig) question.

Thursday’s Summerfest announcement included plenty of big names and plenty of reasons to get excited for the return of the World’s Largest Music Festival. What it didn’t include, however, were any specifics on potential COVID safety measures.

“Summerfest is committed to providing a safe environment for its fans, vendors, sponsors, and staff,” a press release stated. “Festival officials are working closely with local civic officials and health professionals to implement health and safety procedures and protocols. More information will be shared soon.”



But at a media briefing Thursday afternoon, Milwaukee Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson gave more than a hint about what Summerfest-goers might expect this (late) summer.

“We are making sure that masks are going to be worn and enforced,” Johnson said. “We’re asking for physical distancing in some settings, recognizing it as an outdoor setting which makes it safer by the nature of it being outdoors.”

We’ve reached out to Summerfest for comment.

Johnson continued:

We’re potentially looking at how beverages are served and food is served to try to limit the interaction between groups of people who normally wouldn’t be interacting with one another. We’ve been working with [Summerfest] for a number of months, really since I started in this role, and we’re keen to work closely with them until the day of the event.

“That’s all going to come down the line. We’re four months out before the festival and those planning stages are still going,” Summerfest Vice President of Entertainment Bob Babisch told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. “We’re working with health officials to make sure that everybody is safe and all of our protocols are in order. There is nothing more important to us than the safety of our fans, musicians, our staff, our vendors, everyone associated with this festival.”

Summerfest 2021 is scheduled for three sets of Thursday-Friday-Saturday blocks, September 2-4, 9-11, and 16-18. A few “Wednesday Kick-Off Concerts” at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater are also included. The lineup is HERE. Stock up on some Summerfest masks now, Milwaukee!

In other 2021 festival-mask news, the Wisconsin State Fair has said “final health and safety protocols will be determined as we approach the Fair dates.” The Bristol Renaissance Faire, meanwhile, will require masks for everyone 5 and up, “unless eating or drinking.”

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About The Author

Co-Founder and Editor

Matt Wild weighs between 140 and 145 pounds. He lives on Milwaukee's east side.

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