200 N Harbor Dr
Milwaukee, WI 53202-5901
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Lemme tell you about the last time I went to Summerfest. Driving up to Milwaukee from Chicago I got a speeding ticket. After we got there and parked, I locked my keys in the car and had to get them out by “borrowing” a coat hanger from a nearby restaurant and breaking in (I’m a natural MacGyver, ‘cept more absentminded). Then, while standing amongst a group of people dancing in front of a stage where a punk band played, I got hit right in the balls by an errant, mystery knee. It was not my day.

But! Despite all of this, I still had an amazing time. Why? Because of the music. It was too awesome and outshone any bad that came my way. After this weekend, Summerfest will be gone until next year. If you want to know some of the music that just might save you from a bad day, then read on, my friend.

(Marcus Amphitheater. Credit: Summerfest)


Adults (10+):
Weekday (Tues-Fri before 4) – $8
General (includes evenings and weekends) – $15

Seniors (60+)

Children (10 and under)

Infants (2 and under)
FREE (lucky babies!)

See more deals, or find out how to purchase tickets online, by going to summerfest.com!

While tickets cover the price for all the stages on the grounds, they do not cover the price of admission for the Marcus Amphitheater. If there is a band you plan on seeing at the Amphitheater, buy tickets ahead of time at the Marcus Amphitheater website.

(credit: Karl Walter/Getty Images)


Wednesday, July 6

Pay to see Black Keys at the Marcus Amphitheater if you are so inclined (and why wouldn’t you, they’re one rock duo that’s got some mighty soul). If that’s not enough to convince you, then you should probably know they’re playing with Florence + the Machine. You may know them from that one movie trailer for that Julia Roberts movie that flopped – I don’t remember the name. Or, more likely, you know them from everywhere, since they’ve been blowing up on everyone’s TVs and Radios for the last couple months.

If you just feel like enjoying Summerfest (without the extra fee that comes with the Marcus Amphitheater), you can check out Peter Frampton on the M&I Classic Rock Stage for free. Go! Learn to love from songs like “Show Me the Way” and “Baby, I Love Your Way” and leave Summerfest born anew.

Thursday, July 7th

Katy Perry is the big attraction at the Marcus Amphitheater on the 7th. Even without Elmo, she’s very much so worth seeing.

If you’re looking for something a little different (or possibly weird), then check out indie rockers Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros on the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage. You can get all misty eyed with everyone else when you hear their hit that’s been making the rounds “Home.” If that’s not your style, then check out classic rock legends Kansas on the M&I CLassic Rock Stage. I’d have to take off my shoes to count their hits! (I ain’t so good at the counting.)

Friday, July 8th

(credit: Elsa/Getty Images)

If you’re of the mind that you can’t go wrong with a little country music, then you should definitely see Jason Aldean play on the Marcus Amphitheater stage.

You can also pretend it’s 1998 and go see the Goo Goo Dolls at the Miller Lite Oasis. For something a bit rowdier, you can stop by the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage and see the Irish-inspired and Boston-bred punk band Dropkick Murphys. To fit in, just scream “oi oi oi!” a lot.

Saturday, July 9th

Britney’s back, and she’s more sane than ever! That is to say, she’s only a little crazy. Who cares if she’s crazy as long as she keeps putting out tunes we can dance to in clubs, right? Playing with her at the Marcus Amphitheater is Nicki Minaj, a femme fatale rapper with a big… voice.

If pop divas don’t float your boat, then get ready to enjoy a cadre of pop punk. Playing on the Miller Lite Oasis is the Get Up Kids followed by Dashboard Confessional. And on the U.S. Cellular Connection stage is Alkaline Trio, Chicago’s favorite punk band. On the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse stage will be the Flaming Lips, playing music I can’t possibly describe in one witty quip. Suffice to say, they’re weird in a poppy, lovable way.

(credit: HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images)

Have you ever turned on ESPN 36 (or however high it goes now), to see those strongman competitions? The ones that involve bull-like men pulling gigantic trucks behind themselves and other feats that are seemingly useless, but still look cool? Well if that’s you’re kind of thing, then make sure to show up at Summerfest’s Strongman Competition on the Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram and Fiat SportsZone stage. It’ll be just like watching the competition at home, except you won’t be able to turn the channel.

Sunday, July 10th

Okay, fine, I admit it. I had to google Sugarland. I knew they were a big deal, but I couldn’t place one of their sweet, sultry country songs in my head. This is my bad. Why would YOU want to see them at the Marcus Amphitheater? What makes them worth paying for? Why should you care about them? The answer is simple: because you are not only smarter than me, but you have better taste.

If you can remember reggae-rock band 311, then chances are you’d want to see them. They’ll be playing at the Miller Light Oasis. Modern new wave band, The Bravery, will also be supplying their New York tunes on the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage. Rock with a bit of synth, can’t go wrong with that.

(Credit: Summerfest)

Last Minute Tips

Pay close attention to what the Summerfest website has to say about traveling and parking. There are multiple lots open on different days that you can park in. Some are close enough to walk, others are a mighty trek, so make sure to read up on how Summerfest is accommodating us lazy people in the “information” page of their website (the shuttles sound like a Godsend).

Too lazy to walk the whole fest? Take the glider from one end to another. A nice, slow break from the day.

Stock up on plenty of water and sunscreen!

Don’t be afraid to linger from stage to stage, checking out bands you’ve never heard of. Never know what you might find.

Think about staying over night. The information section of the Summerfest website has some great deals. For a place to stay on the cheap, check out these hotel packages.

Don’t get pulled over for speeding.

Or lock your keys in your car.

Or get kicked in your sensitive-bits.

Finally, my best tip of all, don’t be afraid to dance your butt off.

Mason Johnson, CBS Local Chicago
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