Summerfest begins in Milwaukee

Festival hosts 900,000 visitors, 700 bands

Summerfest celebrates its 45th year when it opens its 11-day run Wednesday.

The lakefront festival in Milwaukee has come a long way since the late 1960s, its band shell stage and muddy pathways. Just in the last eight years, Summerfest has poured $59 million in improvements, including the 5,000-seat BMO Harris Pavilion that opens this year.

About 900,000 visitors are expected to pass through the festival’s turnstiles at Henry Maier Festival Park on 75 acres along the shores of Lake Michigan in downtown Milwaukee.

Some 700 bands will be making music at the Marcus Amphitheater and 10 other stages.

Visitors can chose from 40 different food and beverage vendors.