Summerfest Requiring COVID-19 Vaccination or Negative Test
Music festival is first major outdoor event in Milwaukee area to implement requirement.
Guests coming to Summerfest in September will need to be vaccinated for COVID-19 or test negative for the virus in less than three days (72 hours) before attending.
Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. made the announcement Tuesday morning, becoming the first major outdoor event in the area to require vaccination or a negative test.
It mirrors a requirement that was in place at the Lollapalooza music festival held in Chicago two weeks ago.
The policy change is being backed by the Milwaukee Health Department.
“We are pleased with their proactive decision to implement these additional safety measures and ensure festivalgoers can feel comfortable attending this beloved music fest responsibly,” said Health Commissioner Kirsten Johnson in a statement.
All attendees will be asked on entry to show a valid COVID-19 vaccination card or proof of a negative test. Original vaccination cards or printed copies will be accepted, as will digital copies provided the entire front of the vaccination card is visible.
Those seeking a test locally are encouraged to go to milwaukee.gov/COVIDtesting to find a testing site.
The new protocol will also impact the pre-Summerfest concert featuring Little Big Town and the BoDeans scheduled for August 13 at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater. Other non-Summerfest shows at the amphitheater or BMO Harris Pavilion will be subject to their own requirements and ticketholders are advised to check the venue website ahead of attending a show.
The vaccination requirement comes amidst a nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases and a growing number of employer-mandated COVID-19 testing requirements.
The rate of COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in the city of Milwaukee has gone from 25.9 on July 15 (“low transmission) to 216.4 (“extreme transmission”) on August 5.
The percentage of city residents receiving at least one vaccination dose is 43.6%, but the city is far from evenly vaccinated. Many of the areas with the lowest vaccination rates are those where the Black population is the highest. The vaccination rate also correlates strongly with neighborhood poverty rates, with lower-income areas less likely to have a high percentage of vaccinated residents.
Residents of the 53203 ZIP Code, which encompasses the Westown neighborhood, have a best-in-the-city vaccination rate of 69.9%, while residents of the 53206 ZIP Code have a city-worst vaccination rate of 30.6% according to state data.
Those not wishing to comply with the Summerfest policy may be eligible for a refund on pre-bought tickets and are encouraged to visit Summerfest.com in the coming days.
Summerfest was canceled in 2020 and already rescheduled once in 2021. The festival is scheduled to take place on three consecutive weekends, September 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18.
The Summerfest announce does not immediately apply to any other festival being held on the Henry Maier Festival Grounds.