It’s been a busy couple of years for that covered stage in the middle of the Summerfest grounds. Long known as the Johnson Controls World Sound Stage, it was rebranded as the DJ/dance-only Sound Waves Stage Stage in 2023. Now, for 2024, the stage will be rebranded once again. Thanks to an “expanded partnership” between Summerfest parent company Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. (MWF) and Aurora Health Care, the stage will be known as the Aurora Pavilion. Oh, and it’ll get some nice upgrades, too!

So what kind of music will be featured in the Aurora Pavilion? Well…

“During Summerfest, the Aurora Pavilion will host a mix of local artists and national touring acts, featuring diverse artists and genres,” a press release explains. “The Sound Waves DJ/Dance party concept, which debuted in 2023 featuring popular DJs and elevated lights and sound, will continue to be incorporated into the Aurora Pavilion programming each night.”

Will there be “free community events for families focused on arts and entertainment, healthy living and community giving initiatives” beyond Summerfest? Well…

“Beyond Summerfest,” the press release says, “Aurora Health Care and MWF will partner to provide more public access to the Pavilion through free community events for families focused on arts and entertainment, healthy living and community giving initiatives.”

What’s getting upgraded? Well, again, according to the press release…

• Widened entrance leading to increased venue capacity

• New permanent video screen

• Improved accessibility for patrons with mobility limitations

• Improved access in and around the venue, as well as to public restrooms

• New hospitality area and backstage artist production support area

“Expanding our relationship with Aurora Health Care, who has been the Exclusive Health Care partner of Summerfest since 2017, opens the door to a new chapter of community impact—a mission that has guided both organizations for decades,” says Don Smiley, outgoing Chief Executive Officer of MWF in the press release. “This is a unique opportunity for us to join forces to bring a diverse set of artists and range of cultural experiences to Henry Maier Festival Park throughout the season and make the arts more accessible.”

In a long-planned move, Smiley is stepping down as CEO of MWF, but will “continue to work for MWF on a part time basis, providing guidance and expertise on various projects and long-range planning.” Sarah Pancheri will assume the role of president and CEO of MWF on January 1, 2024.

Summerfest 2024 will take place June 20-22, June 27-29, and July 4-6. (So yes, it will retain the nine-day, “three-weekend” format that everyone loves to complain about.) A number of headliners have already been announced, including AJR, Mötley Crüe, and Tyler Childers.

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AJR to headline Summerfest on July 4 with special guest Carly Rae Jepsen at American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Mötley Crüe will headline Summerfest on June 21, 2024

Summerfest announces first 2024 headliner Tyler Childers on Friday, June 28 at American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Summerfest: Attendance up 40% from 2022, will stick with three-weekend format in 2024

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