Summerfest! It continues! The third and final weekend of the 2023 Big Gig takes over Henry Maier Festival Park July 6-8. Looking for some Weekend 3 recommendations? Look no further! (Find the full schedule HERE.)
Thursday, July 6
Dinosaur Jr. — 10 p.m. @ Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard
When the legendary likes of Dinosaur Jr. come to Summerfest, you go…even if their 10 p.m. set time is likely after your bed time. Hear the band play material from its vast/awesome catalog, including tracks in belated support of 2021’s Sweep It Into Space.
Jenny Lewis — 5:30 p.m. @ Uline Warehouse Stage
Jenny Lewis’ résumé includes everything from starting out as a child actor, fronting beloved early-’00s indie band Rilo Kiley, being a member of a one-off Traveling Wilburys update called “Handle With Care,” and a successful return as an adored solo artist. Speaking of that last thing specifically, Lewis will treat Summerfest to two performances on July 6, including an intimate 2 p.m. set at the cozy confines of the American Family Insurance House and a full-fledged 5:30 p.m. performance at the Uline Warehouse Stage. Since space at the AmFam House is very limited, we recommend the latter show.
Listening Party — 2:30 p.m. @ UScellular Connection Stage
Milwaukee music stalwarts and Summerfest regulars Listening Party return to the Big Gig with a couple new members, an exciting new sonic direction, and many of the same winning indie-folk songs you know and love. Cut out of work early Thursday afternoon and head to the grounds to see Listening Party!
“The first 2,000 patrons who arrive between 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. and donate three non-perishable food items will receive one free admission ticket, valid for the day and time of the promotion only. Canned fruits and vegetables are especially appreciated! Donations will be accepted at the Mid Gate Promotions Booth. All donations benefit Hunger Task Force.”
Friday, July 7
Japanese Breakfast — 9:30 p.m. @ Generac Power Stage
Back in 2021, Japanese Breakfast—the indie rock endeavor of best-selling author Michelle Zauner—took on Summerfest by playing at Turner Hall during one of the festival’s nine nights. Almost two years later, Zauner and company will return to Milwaukee to take part in the World’s Largest Music Festival and treat the Generac Power Stage crowd to songs from the outstanding Jubilee and other Japanese Breakfast albums.
Disq — 1:45 p.m. @ Generac Power Stage
Disq has released two well-received albums on Saddle Creek Records and has quickly become a point of pride in the Madison music scene. Save yourself a drive to the state’s capital and catch the acclaimed alternative act’s 1:45 p.m. Summerfest set on Friday.
Newski — 5:30 p.m. @ Generac Power Stage
Were you thinking of leaving the vicinity of the Generac Power Stage at any point this Friday? Well think again! A few weeks after playing Polish Fest, Newski—who was just added to the Summerfest lineup last week—will bring their ’90s-nodding sound back to Henry Mair Festival Park for what’s sure to be a fun and freewheeling set before Built To Spill and Japanese Breakfast take over the stage.
“FREE Admission with FRITOS®, the Official chip of Summerfest! All patrons arriving between 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. will be admitted FREE! Additionally, the first 1,000 patrons who enter through the Mid Gate will receive a free Fritos and Summerfest branded bag.”
Saturday, July 8
Smokey Robinson — 9 p.m. @ Uline Warehouse Stage
We could list everything Smokey Robinson has done over the course of his SEVENTY-YEAR CAREER, but this show is happening on Saturday, so we’re not sure we have enough time to mention everything before he takes the Uline Warehouse Stage. The Motown legend with an incomparable voice you know from dozens of timeless songs you probably love will close out Summerfest in grand fashion.
Hailey Whitters — 4:15 p.m. @ UScellular Connection Stage
Hailey Whitters isn’t just a Grammy-nominated songwriter who has crafted songs that were recorded by country stars like Alan Jackson and Martina McBride, she’s also one heck of a musician in her own right. The up-and-coming artist turned heads with 2021’s Living The Dream, which struck a chord with audiences and critics alike. The Nashville (by way of rural Iowa) country star in the making saw even more success with last year’s Raised, a great record that’s rife with radio-ready singles about her Midwest roots. Whitters will return to the region to play the UScellular Connection Stage at 4:15 on Summerfest’s final day.
Sad Boy Saturday: Emo Music Takeover — 7 p.m. @ Sound Waves Stage
While Sad Boy Saturday plays songs by bands from all over, the long-running emo night is a homegrown event. After building a devoted audience at its recurring genre-specific dance parties hosted at X-Ray Arcade and a variety of other places around town, Sad Boy Saturday will close out the new Sound Waves Stage with a headlining DJ set on Summerfest’s last night. Don’t cry because Summerfest is over, smile because it happened.
“All patrons arriving between 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. will be admitted FREE, compliments of Potawatomi CASINO | HOTEL and Summerfest. Plus, the first 30,000 patrons arriving through the gates will receive an admission ticket for Summerfest 2024 AND a BIG WIN entry ticket. To participate in the BIG WIN drawing, simply drop the perforated BIG WIN Entry ticket in a specially marked bin inside the Summerfest Mid Gate between the hours of 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on July 8, 2023.”