Summerfest Canceled

Due to the pandemic, for the first time in the festival's history it is canceled

By - Jun 4th, 2020 10:43 am
Summerfest from the sky glider. Photo by Alison Peterson.

Summerfest from the sky glider. Photo by Alison Peterson.

Summerfest, Milwaukee’s multi-day music festival along the city’s lakefront, has been canceled because of concerns over the coronavirus.

It is the first time the festival has been canceled in its 53-year run.

The 11-day music festival was postponed until September in March because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, but festival organizers officially called it off Thursday morning.

The festival was supposed to be June 24-July 5 and was then moved to Sept. 3-5, 10-12 and 17-19. The massive festival will take place in 2021, and the dates will be announced in the weeks to come.

“Given the information available today, and the uncertainty surrounding very large gatherings, we cannot in good conscience proceed with the festival this year. The immediate future presents multiple levels of risk for our fans, and we choose the side of safety,” Don Smiley, president and CEO of Summerfest said in a statement announcing the cancelation.

The decision came “after careful, diligent, and thoughtful consideration and out of an abundance of caution for the health and safety of our community — including artists, fans, vendors, participants and staff,” according to Smiley’s statement.

This year’s scheduled performers included Justin Bieber, the Dave Matthews Band, Guns ‘N’ Roses, Chris Stapleton and Blink-182, among others.

Information on admission refunds can be found at

Summerfest began in 1968 and hosts music acts ranging from local favorites to the most popular acts in the world. About 800,000 people from Milwaukee and around the world attend the music festival that generates $186 million in economic impact each year, according to Summerfest.

For The First Time Ever Summerfest Is Canceled was originally published by Wisconsin Public Radio.

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