Anyone who knows anything about Milwaukee knows that summer in the Brew City brings the biggest music festival this side of the sun…..SUMMERFEST. The Big Gig. The festival to end all festivals. It’s the stuff of legends, quite literally. The biggest names in music have graced the Summerfest stages for decades and you will often meet people who have at least one or two epic Summerfest Stories in their arsenal that they can act out to the delight of their audience. Now that you’re a parent, we’ve got everything you need to know about Summerfest all in one handy place!
This year’s festival runs September 2-4, 9-11, and 16-18. Plan your family’s visit HERE. Want as much information as possible at your fingertips? Download the Summerfest App!
Summerfest 2021 is unique for a number of reasons — the dates are later, the entry requirements are specific and important to note, and many things you have come to expect at the festival look different. Be sure to review these details before you go!
Summerfest 2021 Fast Facts:
Dates: September 2-4, 9-11, 16-18
Entry Protocols: Proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or Negative COVID-19 test result required for entry. CLICK HERE FOR FULL DETAILS.
Mask Requirements: Per CDC guidelines, masks are recommended for indoor spaces, including the Summerfest store, First Aid Stations and restrooms. If you are unvaccinated, it is recommended that a mask should be worn when attending large gatherings. Children age 2-11 will be required to wear a mask.
Summerfest 2021 will be CASHLESS: No cash will be accepted at the box offices or on the grounds. Reverse cash machines will be available.
Summerfest Ticket Info: If you have tickets to a concert at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater, your admission to the festival grounds on the day of the show is included. Festival admission tickets are available in single-day admission, multi-day passes, and parking passes can be purchased separately. Adult general admission starts at $23. Children’s and Senior ticketss can be purchased at the gate only: A senior ticket is $15 (62 and over). A child ticket is $5 (ages 3-10). Children (2 and under) are FREE.
Parking: Finding a spot to park near the festival grounds is an adventure in and of itself. Parking lots open at 9 am daily. Click Here for full info on parking.
A Family Guide to Summerfest 2021
Summerfest for FAMILIES? The world’s largest music festival may be best known for what happens when the summer sun goes down, but did you know that The Big Gig has plenty of fun in store for families with kids of all ages? This guide will break it down for you, with the can’t-miss info any parent needs when it comes to bringing kids to Summerfest.
Major Entry Protocol Updates for Summerfest 2021
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Summerfest entry protocols have been updated for the 2021 festival. Please CLICK HERE for the full details, but here are the big things you need to know BEFORE YOU GO.
A COVID-19 full vaccination or negative COVID-19 test result will be required to attend Summerfest 2021, including the Wednesday Weekend Preview concerts held at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater.
- How to show proof of full vaccination: An original vaccination card OR a printed copy of a valid vaccination card. For any vaccine documentation in reprinted form (printed copy, phone screenshot, etc.), the entire front of the vaccination card must be visible, or it will not be accepted. Documentation may also be presented in digital form, such as a screen shot or photo on a phone, the entire front of the vaccination card must be visible, or it will not be accepted. Full vaccination means the full efficacy date (2 weeks past the second dose) has been reached. FIND A VACCINE NEAR YOU.
- How to show proof of Negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours (3 days) of attending: Printed copy of negative result will be accepted. For any vaccine documentation in reprinted form (printed copy, phone screenshot, etc.), the entire result must be visible, or it will not be accepted. Documentation may also be presented in digital form, such as a screen shot or photo on a phone, the entire result must be visible, or it will not be accepted. Test results must be obtained within 72 hours of the date you plan to attend Summerfest or a concert. Either a PCR or Rapid Test is acceptable. FIND A TESTING SITE NEAR YOU.
- What about Kids who are unable to be vaccinated? Regardless of vaccination status, all children age 2-11 must be masked at all times while attending Summerfest. A negative COVID-19 test is also required at admission. Individuals 12 and older must obtain a negative COVID test or show proof of vaccination.
- Can I get a refund if I don’t want to attend anymore due to these protocols?
Not anymore. Refund requests were available August 13 at 7:00 p.m. through August 16. No refunds will be issued after the 72-hour window of time. Refunds are not available for concerts at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater or BMO Harris Pavilion, outside of Summerfest dates, in conjunction with any other third-party promoter or any other events held at Henry Maier Festival Park. Ticketholders are advised to check the venue’s websites and socials for information regarding entrance protocols.
Bringing Kids to The Big Gig
Summerfest presented by American Family Insurance offers a variety of family-friendly activities and special attractions for fest-goers to enjoy each day of the festival. From special admission discounts to the Summerfest parade, a splash pad and amazing food, and so much more, Summerfest offers something for fans of all ages.
Summerfest Amenities & Attractions for Families
NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL COMMUNITY PARK – All new age-appropriate playground equipment will serve toddlers, preschool-age through school-age children. The Northwestern Mutual Community Park aims to be one of the most accessible playgrounds in the entire state of Wisconsin.
LOST CHILDREN’S AREA – There is a designated area near the Mid Gate for children who become separated from their parents. Children are brought to this secure area and checked in by a member of the Summerfest staff. In addition, identification wristbands are available at all gates for parents to write down emergency contact information.
NURSING MOTHERS STATIONS PRESENTED BY AURORA HEALTH CARE – Parents seeking a quiet space to nurse will have dedicated space in the Northwestern Community Park area (noon – 7:30 pm) and a Mother’s Nursing Suite on the South ends of the Grounds sponsored by Aurora Health Care (noon – 8:00 pm). Mother’s Nursing Room stations provide a comfortable, private and convenient space for moms to nurse their children.
THE ELIZABETH “BO” BLACK FAMILY FOUNTAIN – Your day at Summerfest would not be complete without a stop at the “Splash Pad.” Kids of all ages can splash and play the day away while keeping cool.
WISCONSIN CONSERVATORY OF MUSIC PRESENTS: MUSICREATION STATION September 2 – September 18. The MusiCreation Station, an innovative first-of-its-kind mobile music-making sound lab, has all of the musical technology you need to express your creativity and pique your curiosity! Bringing digital music technology directly to the community, the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music and its faculty will be partnering with local artists and experts in digital music-making to guide and encourage creativity no matter what skill level or prior experience you may have. Keyboards, electronic percussion instruments, microphones, headphones and speakers will be available for anyone who wants to join in on the fun! For more information visit www.wcmusic.org/musicreation.
BETTY BRINN CHILDREN’S MUSEUM – September 9 – September 11 : Children’s Area. Betty Brinn is taking the museum on the road! Stop by for hands-on activities with real tools, just like the Be A Maker space exhibit. Build chain reactions with materials like wood, rope, balls and tubes. What contraptions can you create? For more information please visit https://www.bbcmkids.org/.
LOU MALNATI’S PIZZERIA – September 2 – September 18 : Northwestern Mutual Community Park. Visit on Lou Malnati’s Children’s Fest day on September 4th where kids can get crafty with fun activities and art projects. Bring your child’s artwork to any Wisconsin Lou Malnati’s location after the Fest and redeem it for a FREE personal pizza. More details available at https://www.loumalnatis.com.
SUMMERFEST SKYGLIDER POWERED BY MEIJER – Take a ride on the Skyglider, a true family favorite! Located high above the main walkway, this gentle ride provides passengers with a scenic view of Henry Maier Festival Park, Lake Michigan and the entertainment below. One-way and round-trip fares available.
WHEEL IN THE SKY: Open Sept 9-11 and 16-18. Summerfest’s Wheel in the Sky ferris wheel is open from noon to 11:30 p.m. It is located at the south end of the grounds and gives spectacular views of Summerfest, downtown Milwaukee and Lake Michigan.
KNOCKERBALL SOUTHERN LAKES – September 2 – September 18 : South End. Knockerball is a fun, entertaining activity for adults and children alike. It’s as fun to watch as it is to play. Knockerball participants are strapped into a large inflatable ball that fits from over your head to below your tailbone. You’re strapped in with a safety harness and have handles to hold on to. Once in the ball you can participate in a “hitting free for all” or do somersaults and rolls.
Special Engaging Activities at Summerfest 2021
THE SUMMERFEST BIG BANG FIREWORKS PRESENTED BY MENARDS AND WISN-TV – Thursday ,September 2 • 9:30 pm (weather permitting)
Klement’s $1 Brat Day – Thursday, September 9 • 12:00 – 1:00 pm (while supplies last)
Enjoy a taste of summer with Klement’s. Klement’s brats will be available for purchase, while supplies last, inside the Mid Gate for just $1 from noon to 1:00 pm. $1 brats will ONLY be for sale at the Mid Gate at the designated booth and are limited to 1 per person. All proceeds will benefit a local charity.
Family-Focused Admission Promotions
For all Admission Promotions, CLICK HERE.
Friday, September 3 • 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. (while supplies last)
NORTHWESTERN MUTUAL MAKE A CHILD SMILE DAY
The first 2,500 patrons who donate new or gently used children’s books with a $10 minimum value will receive one (1) FREE admission ticket, valid for the day and time of the promotion only. Picture books and early readers for children ages birth through ten are preferred. All books collected at the Mid Gate Promotions Booth will be donated to Next Door.
Saturday, September 4 • 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
LOU MALNATI’S CHILDREN’S FEST DAY WITH TMJ4
For Lou Malnati’s, it’s about more than making great pizza – it’s about giving back to our community and truly serving as your family’s local pizzeria. That’s why Lou’s is proud to support Summerfest’s mission to host an affordable and accessible community festival through Lou Malnati’s Children’s Fest Day! Made possible through the support of Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, ALL patrons arriving between 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 4th, will be admitted for FREE! Spend a fun-filled day with the family enjoying Children’s Fest activities, including the Lou Malnati’s Map of Fun and the Family Ticket Package drawing. Select food vendors will offer discounts on food and beverage items.
Friday, September 10 • 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.
BRIGGS & STRATTON MARY LOU’S CLOSET SUPPLY DRIVE
Help support Mary Lou’s Closet, a program providing needed hygiene supplies for youth in area public schools. The first 1,500 patrons who arrive between 12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. and donate hygiene supplies like deodorant, shampoo, and body wash with a total minimum value of $10 will receive one (1) FREE admission ticket, valid for the day and time of the promotion only. All donations benefit United Way of Greater Milwaukee and Waukesha County’s community schools.
Summerfest Bag Policy
If you bring ANY type of backpack or bag larger than 9x10x12, you will be instructed to empty the contents into a clear bag provided by Summerfest in order to be admitted. The prohibited bag will then be donated to Goodwill or you can return it to your home or vehicle. Special consideration may be taken for parents with infants and those with medical needs.
- Nursing mothers may bring in needed items in a similar manner or separate bag.
For the full policy, including a list of prohibited items, carry-in policies, stroller & wheelchair rental info, and more — head to the Admissions Policies Page for Summerfest.