Summerfest drew 851,879 people
to the 2014 edition, an increase of 1.4 percent over last
MILWAUKEE - Neither fog, nor rain, nor cool
temperatures could keep the people away from Summerfest 2014, as
Milwaukee World Festival Inc. officials announced a growth in
attendance and revenue for this year’s event.
Attendance at the Big Gig, which ran from June 25
through June 29 and July 1 through July 6, topped out at
851,879, an increase of 1.4 percent from last year’s 840,356.
Food and beverage sales at the event increased by 6 percent over
last year’s totals in the same categories, officials noted.
Fog, intermittent rain and cool temperatures
combined with significant highway road construction projects in
the immediate area could have swung attendance and revenue in
the other direction. Improved weather in the latter half of the
festival helped curb those concerns. Also, the talent lineup and
marketing push helped garner unprecedented levels of national
and international media coverage prior to and during the event.
“We are thrilled that everyone enjoyed Summerfest
2014,” said Don Smiley, president and CEO of Milwaukee World
Festival. “The music, food and beverage offerings, and
promotions, were high quality, diverse and very popular with
More than 800 musical acts took to the stage with
more than 1,000 performances. Major performers included Bruno
Mars, Lady Gaga, Brad Paisley, Luke Bryan, Outkast, OneRepublic,
Dave Matthews Band, Zac Brown Band, Motley Crue, Fall Out Boy,
Paramore, Usher, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Ludacris, Bonnie
Raitt, REO Speedwagon, Ziggy Marley and others.
Data on news coverage is still being compiled,
but officials said media results are extremely positive. To
date, 687 media outlets covered or mentioned Summerfest between
January and July of this year. International coverage was shared
by 63 major media outlets, including The New York Times, USA
Today, Entertainment Weekly, Entertainment Tonight, Billboard,
Rolling Stone, People Magazine, TIME, CBS News, Forbes, Playboy
and Chicago-Sun Times.
“I would like to thank our board of directors and
amazing staff whose dedication and hard work really paid off,”
said Ted Kellner, chairman of the board of Milwaukee World
Festival. “Summerfest is a world-class mega event, and I am
thankful to everyone who attended and participated in this
year’s Big Gig.”
In addition to increases in attendance and
revenue, officials also said corporate sales rose by more than
6.4 percent from 2013 totals. Among the highlights were new
sponsorship partnerships with Southwest Airlines, 2015 PGA
Championship, Bridgestone, Pizza Hut, Subway and McDonald’s.
To help patrons avoid delays and confusion at the
admission gates, Summerfest officials revved up their push to
have tickets purchased online in advance of the event. The
Print-at-Home ticket system saw a nearly 20 percent increase in
usage from the 2013 totals. Parking passes also were sold
And, as in years past, patrons could enter the
gates for free during special admission promotional offers. In
total, 80,497 patrons entered the event for free this year.
Also, Summerfest gave away 25,000 weekday tickets during opening
Of course, Summerfest is about more than music.
In 2014, the “Summerfest Wheel in the Sky” Ferris wheel became a
fan favorite, providing aerial views of the festival, Lake
Michigan and downtown Milwaukee. There were also several
interactive experiences by Bridgestone, Texas on Tour,
PlayStation and other brands. Other favorite attractions
returned, including the paddleboats, the Summerfest parade and
the Verlo Mattress Skyglider.
Back for its second year, the #SFLive Lounge
offered up-close fan experiences and showcased artist interviews
and acoustic performances. Overall, 126 bands gave interviews or
performed a live acoustic song in the #SFLive Lounge. Many of
these moments were captured on video and in still photos and
posted on Summerfest social media outlets. Summerfest
photographers captured more than 15,000 digital images during
the 11-day festival.
Finally, Summerfest employed nearly 2,000
seasonal employees and partnered with Milwaukee Mayor Tom
Barrett’s youth employment program, “Earn and Learn.” More than
600 temporary employees between the ages of 16 and 22 were hired
by Summerfest this year.
Summerfest 2015 will take place June 24 through
June 28 and June 30 through July 5, and will be closed June 29.
By the numbers
851,879: attendance at 2014 Summerfest, an
increase of 1.4 percent from the 2013 total of 840,356
80,497: patrons admitted free during special
94: Summerfest corporate sponsors and media
140,000: hours worked by employees during the
11-day run. There were also, 875 volunteer shifts, equating to
5,400 hours from 400 volunteers and drivers.
95,423: one-way trips provided by the Verlo
66,011: burgers eaten during event
20,799: brats consumed
17,842: eggplants strips consumed
96,344: mozzarella sticks served
38,202: ears of corn served
181,758: mini doughnuts eaten
33,718: ice cream cones served
- Source: Summerfest officials