Summerfest 2021 postponed to September, allowing more time for COVID vaccine distribution

It’s the second year in a row the 53-year-old festival has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which canceled virtually every mass gathering event in the country beginning last March.

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Luke Bryan is among the artists scheduled to return to Summerfest this year.

Luke Bryan is among the artists scheduled to return to Summerfest this year.

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Summerfest in Milwaukee, the country’s largest music festival, is on the move again.

Originally set for a trio of three-day weekends beginning June 24, Summerfest on Tuesday announced it is being postponed. The new dates are now Sept. 2-4, 9-11 and 16-18.

“While the progress made through the vaccine rollout is encouraging, we believe it is in the public’s best interest to hold the festival in September to give government leaders and healthcare organizations enough time to distribute the vaccine,” Don Smiley, president and chief executive officer of Summerfest parent company Milwaukee World Festival Inc., said in a statement. 

“We will continue to work diligently with civic officials and healthcare professionals as we prepare to welcome artists, fans, employees, vendors and sponsorship partners this summer. Our team is excited to get back to what we do best, as soon as possible.” 

It’s the second year in a row the 53-year-old crown jewel of the City of Festivals has been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, which canceled virtually every mass gathering event in the country beginning last March. 

Last year, Summerfest’s 11-day window from late June to early July was pushed off to a series of three, three-day weekends in September. Those dates too were called off, marking Summerfest’s first cancellation in its history.

Other major music festivals in the U.S. — including Bonnaroo in Tennessee, Governor’s Ball in New York and the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival — previously announced they would push off their festivals, typically set for May and June, to September and October. On Friday, Coachella in California, the world’s premiere music festival, canceled its April dates. Make-up dates have not been announced.

Summerfest also lost one of its 2021 headliners prior to Tuesday’s postponement. Pop star Halsey announced on Jan. 22 that she was canceling her summer tour, which had been scheduled to stop at Summerfest’s American Family Insurance Amphitheater on July 3. 

Halsey was one of eight amphitheater headliners that had been announced for 2020 that shifted their Summerfest shows to 2021. The others include Guns N’ Roses, Justin Bieber, Luke Bryan, Chris Stapleton, Dave Matthews Band, Blink-182 and Khalid. 

In a press release issued Tuesday, Summerfest officials said they were working to reschedule those shows and would have more information in the coming weeks. 

Summerfest 2021 is supposed to mark the delayed unveiling of the 23,000-capacity American Family Insurance Amphitheater, updated across a two-year period for $51.3 million. The amphitheater is also scheduled to host five concerts outside of Summerfest originally scheduled for 2020, with KISS, Maroon 5, Hall & Oates, the Black Crowes, and Santana with Earth, Wind and Fire. Those shows are still currently scheduled from July through September. 

Read more at usatoday.com

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