Summerfest 2014 Grows Revenue, Attendance, Sponsorships and Garners International Media Coverage

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Strong and diverse talent lineup, new partnerships and offerings garner unprecedented media coverage prior to and during the event.

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"The music, food and beverage offerings, and promotions, were high quality, diverse and very popular with festival fans," said Don Smiley, President and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.

Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. officials announced preliminary data indicating, Summerfest, “The World’s Largest Music Festival,” grew revenue and attendance, while introducing new partnerships and offerings at the festival. The strong and diverse talent lineup and marketing push helped garner unprecedented levels of national and international media coverage prior to and during the event.

Summerfest managed to draw and host 851,879 patrons, an increase of 1.4% over 2013’s 840,356 attendance, overcoming unseasonable weather challenges, including fog, intermittent rain and cool temperatures, along with significant highway and road construction projects in the immediate area. Food and beverage sales at the event increased by 6% over last year’s totals in the same categories.

Additionally, corporate sales rose by over 6.4% over last year’s totals, including new sponsorship partnerships with Southwest Airlines, 2015 PGA Championship, Bridgestone, Pizza Hut, Subway and McDonalds. Overall, Summerfest 2014 successfully grew its sponsors and media partner totals to 94 brands.

“We are thrilled that everyone enjoyed Summerfest 2014! The music, food and beverage offerings, and promotions, were high quality, diverse and very popular with festival fans,” said Don Smiley, President and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. Ted Kellner, Chairman of the Board added, “I would like to thank our Board of Directors and amazing staff whose dedication and hard work really paid off. Summerfest is a world-class, mega-event and I am thankful to everyone who attended and participated in this year’s Big Gig.”

Summerfest employed nearly 2,200 seasonal employees overall, and as a proud partner and key contributor to Mayor Barrett’s youth employment program, “Earn and Learn,” Summerfest employed over 600 young workers between the ages of 16 and 22 years old. Collectively, the labor pool worked approximately 140,000 hours during the event. Additionally, 875 volunteer shifts, equating to 5,400 hours from 400 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 Bruno Mars with special guest Aloe Blac, Lady Gaga, Brad Paisley with special guests Darius Rucker and Joel Crouse, Luke Bryan with special guest Danielle Bradbery, Outkast with special guest Gary Clark Jr., OneRepublic with special guests Mayer Hawthorne and American Authors, Dave Matthews Band, Zac Brown Band with special guest Jared & The Mill, Mötley Crüe with special guest Alice Cooper, Fall Out Boy and Paramore with special guest New Politics, Usher, New Order, Rise Against, Kip Moore, Ray LaMontagne, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Nas, Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, Brand New, The Neighbourhood, Fitz and The Tantrums, Ludacris, Five Finger Death Punch, B.o.B., Robert DeLong, Bonnie Raitt, Atmosphere, REO Speedwagon, Ziggy Marley, Kongos, A Great Big World, O.A.R., Timeflies and many more.

This year, the festival asked patrons to consider purchasing their tickets online at in advance of the event to save time at the Admission Gates.’s Print-at-Home ticket system saw nearly a 20% increase in usage over the last year’s final totals. A variety of admission ticket options and parking passes were available to purchase and print from with no incremental fees.

While data on news coverage is still being compiled, the initial media results are extremely positive. To date, 687 media outlets covered or mentioned Summerfest between January and July 2014. Notably, international media coverage of Summerfest was shared throughout the world by 63 major media outlets, including New York Times, USA Today, Entertainment Weekly, Entertainment Tonight, Billboard, Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, People Magazine, Pollstar, TIME, CBS News, Forbes, Consequence of Sound, Playboy, Hits Daily Double, Women’s Health Magazine, The Culture Trip and Chicago Sun Times.

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, 80,497 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 “Your Smile” Day, Kapco “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, Mountain Dew Day, Military Appreciation Day, Northwestern Mutual “Make a Child Smile” Day and Fan Appreciation Day. Additionally, Summerfest thanked patrons by giving away 25,000 Weekday tickets for free during the Opening Day “Over A Quarter Million Dollar Ticket Giveaway” on site at 5:00 pm on June 26.

In 2014, new enhancements allowed festival fans to enjoy more than just the music at Summerfest. This year’s “Summerfest Wheel in the Sky” Ferris wheel was a new fan favorite, providing amazing views of the festival, Lake Michigan and downtown Milwaukee, along with a variety of interactive experiences by Bridgestone, Texas on Tour, Playstation and other great brands. Other favorite attractions returned, including the Paddleboat Water Experience presented by Badger Meter, the Summerfest Parade and the Verlo Mattress Skyglider, which provided 95,423 one-way trips.

Back for its second year, the #SFLive Lounge presented by Bridgestone offered “up-close” fan experiences and showcased artist interviews and acoustic performances. Fans and bands also relaxed and enjoyed a raised viewing deck overlooking Henry Maier Festival Park and Lake Michigan. Overall, 126 bands gave interviews and/or performed a live acoustic song in the #SFLive Lounge. These moments were captured on video and in photos and posted on Summerfest social media outlets, including YouTube. Overall, Summerfest photographers captured over 15,000 amazing digital images during the 11-day run, many of which can be seen on and social media.

Festival fans sampled over 45 diverse food and beverage vendors, which resulted in the consumption of 66,011 burgers, 20,799 brats, 17,842 eggplant strips, 96,344 mozzarella sticks, 38,202 ears of corn, 181,758 mini donuts and 33,728 ice cream cones.

Summerfest 2015 will take place June 24 - 28 and June 30 – July 5, from Noon until Midnight and will be closed Monday, June 29. For more details, visit, or Twitter: @Summerfest.


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