Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.
Press Release

Summerfest Releases Attendance and 2015 Festival Results

External factors during the event impacted attendance at this year’s music festival.

By - Jul 8th, 2015 08:23 am

MILWAUKEE (July 7, 2015) – Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. officials announced preliminary data on Summerfest, “The World’s Largest Music Festival.” The strong and diverse talent lineup and marketing push helped garner national and international media coverage prior to and during the event, however, external factors during the event impacted attendance at this year’s music festival.

Despite several significant factors during this year’s festival, which were outside of the control of the event, Summerfest hosted 772,652 patrons.  In addition, Summerfest hosted The Rolling Stones with 23,000 fans in the Marcus Amphitheater for “The Ultimate Kick-Off to Summerfest” on June 23.

“In this business, there are certain elements within your control and various elements that are out of your control.  This year we dealt with some extraordinary factors that significantly affected people’s participation with the event,” said Don Smiley, President and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.  “Between significant area road construction which led to very challenging routes and traffic congestion, unseasonably cold weather for the first half of the festival and a major mass transit work stoppage by transit workers during the event, Summerfest’s numbers were negatively impacted.  The music was outstanding, as were the food and beverages, and other attractions.  The event business is very unpredictable, however, our local, national and international attendees, along with a world-wide streaming audience, got a ‘bird’s eye view’ of Milwaukee and its musical gem.  We now move on to 2016.”

Summerfest employed nearly 2,289 seasonal employees overall.  Additionally, 700 volunteer shifts, equating to 3,000 hours from 300 volunteers and drivers, contributed to help the festival run smoothly.

Summerfest delivered unforgettable live music experiences to patrons of every age.  Over 800 acts took the stage with over 1,000 performances.  Performers included The Rolling Stones with special guest Buddy Guy, Florida Georgia Line with special guests Thomas Rhett and Frankie Ballard, Kings of Leon with special guest KONGOS, Keith Urban with special guests Phillip Phillips and Dan + Shay, Stevie Wonder, Zac Brown Band, Linkin Park with special guests The one and only PPL MVR and A Day to Remember, Kendrick Lamar with special guest ScHoolboy Q, Carrie Underwood with special guest A Thousand Horses, Ed Sheeran with special guest Rixton, The Avett Brothers with special guests Brandi Carlile and Warren Haynes, Neil Young and Promise of the Real with special guest Grace Potter, Kaskade, Bastille, The Flaming Lips, Sheryl Crow, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, LeCrae, Santigold, Jane’s Addiction, Aloe Blacc, The Doobie Brothers, Sammy Hagar and The Circle, Halestorm, The Kooks, Lindsey Stirling, Timeflies, Blind Boys of Alabama, AWOLNATION and many more.

Summerfest’s Corporate Sales forged new marketing partnerships with brands including, Patrick Cudahy, Meijer, Uber, Rockstar Energy Drink, Sendik’s, Quaker Chewy, Quaker, Nabisco, Kemps, Mike Juneau’s Arrow Hyundai, Reverbnation and Live Media Group.

While data on national and international coverage is still being compiled, the initial media results are extremely positive with 5,805 articles written about the event.  Notably, 537 of which were from international media outlets. Overall, media coverage of Summerfest was stronger than ever, including coverage from Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Rolling Stone, Forbes, Consequence of Sound, Brit + Co, USA Today, Harper’s Bazaar, Billboard, Billboard Radio China, Entertainment Weekly, Pitchfork, Country Weekly, Pollstar, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun Times.

For the first time in Summerfest history, the festival’s highlights of artists’ performances and interviews were streamed “live” to the world over the internet and mobile devices via a partnership withLive Media Group.  This partnership featured “THE BEST OF SUMMERFEST 2015 – LIVE!,” a one of a kind, Summerfest live music experience to over 700,000 online fans, originating from 66 countries from around the globe, broadcasting performances by over 60 artists, including Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Sammy Hagar, Vance Joy, Andy Grammar, Kings of Leon and The Doobie Brothers and others.  For fans who missed the live stream or simply want to re-live their Summerfest experience, select performances and interviews from Kings of Leon, New Politics, Walk the Moon, Andrew McMahon in the Wilderness, Andy Grammer, Big Data, Cam, Cowboy Mouth, Dirty Heads, Field Report, Phil Vassar, Sammy Hagar & The Circle, Shakey Graves and more will be available at through August 6, 2015.

As in years past, Summerfest provided patrons with the opportunity to GET IN FOR FREE or at a discounted rate each and every day of the festival.  In total, 89,263 patrons entered the event for FREE, taking advantage of admission promotion offers, including Johnson Controls Stomp Out Hunger Day with Fox 6, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “Land the Big Gig®” Day, Quaker Chewy Granola Bar Day, Sendik’s “Go Red” Day with the Wisconsin Badgers and the Big 920, Goodwill Day, Kohl’s Family Day, Sentry Foods and Dean’s Milk & Ice Cream Children’s Fest Day with Today’s TMJ4, Direct Supply Seniorfest Day, Boston Store Day, H.O.G. Day, Patrick Cudahy® Day, Mountain Dew Day, Military Appreciation Day, Northwestern Mutual “Make a Child Smile” Day and Meijer’s Fan Appreciation Day.  Additionally, Summerfest Staff thanked patrons by giving away 25,000 Weekday tickets for FREE (a ticket value of $300,000) during the Opening Day ticket giveaway on site at 5:00 pm on June 24.

In 2015, Summerfest created a new unique partnership with Shazam, one of the world’s most popular music-based apps, to offer fans a FREE Weekday Admission E-Ticket when they Shazamed the Summerfest TV commercial.  Over 3,800 E-Tickets were downloaded from the Shazam promotion.  Also new this year, Summerfest gave patrons the opportunity to win a brand new 2015 Hyundai Sonata courtesy of Subway® Restaurants and Mike Juneau’s Arrow Hyundai.  The lucky winner was Don MacLeod and announced on the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard stage on the final day of Summerfest, July 5.  Other favorite attractions returned, including the Paddleboat Water Experience presented by Badger Meter, the Summerfest Parade and the Funjet’s Summer-Of-Fun Skyglider. 

Beyond the music, festival fans enjoyed a variety of fun activities at the site.  3,389 paddle boat rentals allowed fest-goers to enjoy being on the water.  93,011 patrons floated over the festival stages and audience on the Funjet’s Summer-Of-Fun Skyglider.  21,469 patrons enjoyed the views from Summerfest’s “Wheel in the Sky”.  Of the 19,530 swings attempted at the Meijer Hole-In-One, Brody Oesterreich, had the best shot of all, sinking a “Hole in One” on the final day of the festival, and earning himself the $5,000 grand prize.

Summerfest 2016 will take place June 29 – July 3 and July 5 – July 10, from Noon until Midnight and will be closed Monday, July 4. For more details, visit, or Twitter: @Summerfest.

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