Summerfest will look a little different next year. Hopefully.

Today, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. announced a new three-weekend format for Summerfest 2021. The next Big Gig is set to take place over three consecutive weekends (Thursday-Saturday), June 24-26, July 1-3, and July 8-10. The three-weekend format is similar to the one originally announced for 2020, until the entire thing was canceled due to COVID-19.

“The pandemic, which resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 event season, profoundly impacted our non-profit organization. In response, our leadership team analyzed available data, patron surveys and the event landscape and ultimately determined the best possible path forward for Summerfest was to transition to a new format,” said Don Smiley, President & CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., in a press release. “Our fans have been asking for a bigger experience, and we are excited to be able to bring more weekends and more national talent to the already blockbuster Summerfest lineup, while continuing to provide significant economic impact to our state and region.”

Earlier this month, MWF projected a loss of $10.4 million due to the canceled 2020 Big Gig.

Oh, also: General admission tickets will remain $23 in 2021, and everyone from Khalid and Justin Bieber to Halsey and Guns N’ Roses are already locked in as amphitheater headliners. Let’s hope it all actually happens!

Here’s the full press release:

Summerfest Announces New Format and 2021 Dates
More Weekends – More National Talent
June 24–26, July 1–3 and July 8–10

MILWAUKEE, WI (August 27, 2020) – Today, Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. (MWF) announced a new format for Summerfest 2021. The festival will now take place over three consecutive weekends (Thursday-Saturday), June 24-26, July 1-3, and July 8-10, 2021.

Within this new format, Summerfest presented by American Family Insurance will maintain its status as one of the most diverse music festivals in the world, offering something for every music fan, from rock to hip hop, country to EDM, and everything in between. In addition, the three weekend model allows an extended booking window for the Summerfest talent team, opening more opportunities to add national talent to daytime programming, as well as throughout the festival.

Summerfest will continue to be one of the most affordable major music festivals anywhere, maintaining a $23 general admission ticket and a commitment to free daily admission promotions. And, the Summerfest experience fans have come to love will also continue – a blockbuster lineup, delicious food from local vendors, shopping, fun activities, all at a world-class lakeside festival setting.

MWF anticipates the weekend setting will also be attractive to visitors, positioning Summerfest and Milwaukee as a premiere destination, fulfilling an important part of the organization’s mission. As a part of the new format, MWF will plan new initiatives with partners like VISIT Milwaukee, and others within the tourism industry.

“The pandemic, which resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 event season, profoundly impacted our non-profit organization. In response, our leadership team analyzed available data, patron surveys and the event landscape and ultimately determined the best possible path forward for Summerfest was to transition to a new format,” said Don Smiley, President & CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. “Our fans have been asking for a bigger experience, and we are excited to be able to bring more weekends and more national talent to the already blockbuster Summerfest lineup, while continuing to provide significant economic impact to our state and region.”

The completely renovated $51.3 million American Family Insurance Amphitheater will make its debut in 2021, featuring expanded concourses, all new seats, additional restrooms, new food and beverage options, accessibility enhancements and much more. The following concerts are already scheduled and on sale for Summerfest 2021:

Khalid – June 24, 2021
Luke Bryan – June 25, 2021
Justin Bieber – June 26, 2021
Dave Matthews Band – July 1, 2021
Blink-182 – July 2, 2021
Halsey – July 3, 2021
Chris Stapleton – July 8, 2021
Guns N’ Roses – July 10, 2021

In addition to Amphitheater concerts during Summerfest, MWF plans to promote additional concerts throughout the summer at both the new American Family Insurance Amphitheater, as well as the BMO Harris Pavilion. Through a new partnership formed with Live Nation in 2019, both venues will be booked as frequently as possible from June – September.

Tickets for Summerfest 2021 and for announced concerts at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater are on sale now. For more information visit Summerfest.com.

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