831,024 people smiled their way through Summerfest 2008.
831,024 people smiled their way through Summerfest 2008. (Photo: John Hyland)

Summerfest averages 75,548 per day

Summerfest's 2008 attendance was 831,024. And, while I'm sure that most will interpret this as "another decline," let's remember that this is still an average of 75,548 people per day -- an impressive number given the severe and threatening weather on four key days and general state of gas prices.

Last year, the festival hit 864,866, which was down slightly from 901,841 in 2006. For those interested here are some additional Summerfest numbers, 2005: 901,841, 2004: 867,754 and 2001: 1,039,794.

"We are pleased with our 2008 results considering key factors that were out of our control," said Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer, Don Smiley. "We kept prices affordable, delivered a quality experience for our patrons and remained profitable during tough economic times. We are thankful to everyone who supported and attended Summerfest this year."

Attendance of 825,000 to 900,000 was what Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. had planned and budgeted for. And, new promotional partnerships strengthened Summerfest's business-to-business revenue. New relationships, including Johnson Controls, Marcus Hotels & Resorts, Buell Motorcycles, Focus On Energy, Pick ‘n Save, MMSD / Milorganite, TruGreen, OnMilwaukee.com, Cream City Music, Zude.com, Buffalo Wild Wings, Sabor and Botanas, helped Summerfest offer value and quality through relevant music, food, beverage and entertainment.

Summerfest 2009 takes place June 25-July 5 from noon until midnight daily.

Talkbacks

chase4430 | July 17, 2008 at 3:44 p.m. (report)

I will have to agree COMPLETELY with Stinky. My fiance and I saw Leann Rimes and Little Big Town. If you do the math, if we attended EACH concert separately at different venues, we probably would have spent well over $300, but we got to see them for a mere 15 bucks! We only went once this year b/c that one night we did go, we spent about $150 including a trip to the Market Place where we bought a piece of "art" for our home ($48).

I will have to say though, the mix of the genres this year were skewed. Poor 414 ... they don't seem to be catering to her generation! But I have to agree to prior comments that SF wants fest-goers to have deep pockets so theycan spend the money once they get in the gate. My age group is perfect for that ... double income - no kids.

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414girl | July 16, 2008 at 8:17 p.m. (report)

Wow, get clue dude! Let's see...I went to Kraftwerk and Feist this year and I was one of the youngest people at each show! By the way I am 32. All of the bands I listed happen to be in the top 40, in the UK that is. I am all about the oldies but unfortunately a lot of the lead singers have passed... Joy Division, The Doors.

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uwwcommuter | July 16, 2008 at 11:07 a.m. (report)

414 - for your information - WOW, what a list of one hit wonders or no hit wonders. I realize it is not about numbers but drawing numbers that will spend money. The probem with your list is it would NOT draw large attendance and the few 14-17 year olds that it would attend would have 20-30 that their mom gave them, equaling no money spend at the fest.

Although I am sure some of these would draw large crowds at night, perenial favorites get main stages year after year because they draw a middle aged crowd that drinks more than they should and then eat a few of the stages because it is one of the few times that they get to go out (away from the kids/job/etc) and splurge. ALA Styx, REO Speedwagon, Journey, or even last year when Pink Floyd was at the Marcus, that was one of the hottest tickets.

FYI I did not attend summerfest this year - I would be happy if they doubled or trippled ticket prices, kept people out who do not spend money, and allow people who are spending money to see acts to enjoy themselves, spend money and listen to good music.

Oh another FYI - Waterstreet is still open during summerfest, everyone who goes to summerfest just to drink/be annoying is more than welcome to spend their money at a fine establishment on the street of Water.

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414girl | July 16, 2008 at 1:41 a.m. (report)

I think most people would enjoy the artists on my list and just because not everyone has heard of them doesn't mean they wouldn't like them.
Plus I forgot a few: Neko Case, Beth Orton, Imogen Heap, Tegan and Sara, Crystal Castles, Feist, TV on the Radio, The Bird and the Bee, The Cardigans, Cat Power, Fourtet, Junior Boys, The kills, the knife, Royskopp, Lupe Fiasco

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TheyThink | July 14, 2008 at 11:07 a.m. (report)

That list of bands caters to a TINY portion of the population of Milwaukee and the surrounding area. Why on Earth would SF book a lineup like that?

Why do people equate success to simple raw numbers of people? What is a lot of those patrons don't spend any money at the Fest? What good is that?

The key stat should be the average money spent by each patron compared year to year and adjusted for inflation...that is the ultimate stat that the SF BOD is concerned with...not how many sweaty bodies can be stuffed inside the grounds.

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