Monday, Sept. 9, 2013

Summerfest Isn't Hosting Any Shows at the BMO Harris Pavilion This Fall

By Evan Rytlewski
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Summerfest spared no expense on its new BMO Harris Pavilion, a $13.5 million, lakefront amphitheater that, in addition to hosting festival performances, was also touted as a state-of-the-art stand-alone venue. With its covered stage, the pavilion promised to extend Milwaukee's outdoor concert season deeper into the fall, and Summerfest displayed its eagerness to put the venue to use with a full lineup of August and September concerts last year. Those concerts made headlines, though, for their weak attendance. Fans commented on how empty the venue looked during My Morning Jacket's concert; promoters stopped short of giving away tickets to a Counting Crows show; and Daughtry canceled his show altogether, likely because of poor ticket sales.

It isn't too shocking, then, that the venue hasn't booked any stand-alone shows for this fall. August came and went without an independent concert at the pavilion, and even though Henry Maier Festival Park has several free events scheduled this month, none of them are at the pavilion. It's unclear what the long-term plans for the stage are, but right now Summerfest doesn't seem to be in a rush to attempt more stand-alone concerts there. The sheer size of the 10,000-seat venue makes it difficult to fill outside of festivals, and last year's disappointing ticket sales didn't give promoters much incentive to try again. And of course, Summerfest already has a lakefront amphitheater that can host big outdoor concerts, the Marcus Amphitheater. Maybe it didn't need two.
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