Piet Levy, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Summerfest is canceled, but the festival's home, Maier Festival Park on the Milwaukee lakefront, may still have some events this year — in its parking lots.
Frank Nicotera, general counsel and chief administrative officer for Summerfest's parent company Milwaukee World Festival Inc., told the City of Milwaukee Board of Harbor Commissioners in a meeting Wednesday morning that the festival organization is talking with outside parties about using its lots for events.
Nicotera didn't offer further details, and no events have been confirmed, he said.
With theaters, arenas, stadiums and movie theaters still closed in Milwaukee and around the country because of the coronavirus pandemic, drive-in movies have been popping up around the area.
Drive-in concerts are also a growing trend, with Live Nation, the world's largest concert promoter, exploring possible events this summer. In Wisconsin, Kapco Metal Stamping's Live at the Lot drive-in concert series is running through June 20, and the Driftless Music Gardens in Hillsboro is kicking off its Drive-In Tailgate Concert Series Friday.
All of the festivals and events previously planned for Maier Festival Park in 2020 have been canceled, Nicotera confirmed at Wednesday's meeting, even though not all events have been officially pulled from the calendar. KISS, for instance, has yet to cancel or postpone its tour that still has a Sept. 15 date on the books at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater. All of the other shows at the venue, which completed a two-year, $53 million renovation this month, have been canceled or postponed to next year.
Nicotera said Wednesday that Milwaukee World Festival had planned five new free community events in 2020 that are now set to debut next year. He said planning is already underway "to do the biggest and best Summerfest in years" in 2021.
Dates for next year's Summerfest will be announced in the coming weeks, officials said last Thursday, when the festival was canceled for the first time in its 53-year history.
All seven previously announced Summerfest headliner shows at the BMO Harris Pavilion have been canceled, and five Summerfest amphitheater headliners booked for 2020 — Justin Bieber, Guns N' Roses, Dave Matthews Band, Chris Stapleton and Halsey — have rescheduled for 2021. Bieber and Roses have yet to announce new dates. The four other Summerfest amphitheater headliners confirmed for 2020 — Luke Bryan, Sam Hunt, Blink-182 and Khalid — have yet to announce if they're rescheduling for next year or canceling their appearances.