Milwaukee’s long-running Summerfest prides itself on being the country’s largest music festival, often drawing 800,000 people over 11 days in June and July, with lineups that have ranged from James Taylor to Selena Gomez.
On Tuesday, festival organizers announced that Summerfest will not be held in June and July for the second year in a row. Instead, it’s moving its 2021 celebration to September 2nd through 18th “to give health professionals more time to vaccinate the general public.”
“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,” said Don Smiley, President & Chief Executive Officer of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. “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.”
The 2021 lineup includes headliners Khalid, Luke Bryan, Justin Bieber, Dave Matthews Band, Blink-182, Chris Stapleton, and Guns N’ Roses. Halsey was originally planning to play the fest, but last month announced she was canceling her Manic World Tour. “I miss seeing all of you in the crowd every night more than anything, but I need to prioritize your health and safety,” she said. “That being said, the Manic tour is now officially canceled. As much as we wanted to hold out hope that this tour could eventually happen, our priority is now getting your ticket money back to you immediately.”
Summerfest organizers said that valid 2020 and 2021 general admission tickets “may be redeemed during the new September dates.” Refunds are also available.
Last week, Coachella and Stagecoach similarly canceled their spring dates. “With various Covid-19 vaccines now available for distribution, many live music industry insiders have begun to feel more confident about a return for concerts in 2021 — although spring had been a particularly optimistic estimate,” Rolling Stone‘s Ethan Millman wrote. “Several artists’ teams told Rolling Stone in the last few weeks that they have been hoping for shows this summer or fall, and Live Nation, the world’s biggest concert promotion company, has said it expects business to return at scale this summer.”