Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Summerfest 2005 - The World's Largest Music Festival

Summerfest 2005 begins on the 30th of June on the shores of Lake Michigan right in downtown Milwaukee. Eleven days of music - spread across eleven stages, close to a million visitors. The best part - none of the ground stages need tickets, apart from the $12 entry fee to the overall festival.

Here is a brief list of some of the notable acts performing this year:
Summerfest lineup

I'm leaving out the 10th of July, but acts on the final day include James Taylor,Living Colour, Better Than Ezra and Pete Yorn. Apart from all this music, there will be tons of beer, people,weed smelly air, over 50 restaurants and fun stuff like soccer, basketball, walks by the lake, etc. (Summerfest for cheapskates
summerfest logo
Summerfest had its origins in the 1960s following Milwaukee Mayor Henry Maier's visit to Munich's Oktoberfest. Given that Milwaukee is the Brewcity of the United States, it is only fitting that Oktoberfest be the inspiration for this festival. The best bands have played here down the years - including Sly and the Family Stone, B.B. King, the Jackson Five, Jose Feliciano, Little Richard, Dionne Warwick, Edgar Winter, Arlo Guthrie, The Doors, Sammy Davis Jr., Blood, Sweat and Tears, Johnny Cash, James Taylor, Earth, Wind & Fire, Joan Baez, the Bee Gees, Tony Bennett, Kris Kristofferson, Steve Miller Band, America, Willie Nelson, Jackson Browne, Kenny Loggins, Chick Corea, Chubby Checker, Eddie Rabbit, Glen Campbell, Aretha Franklin, Peter, Paul & Mary, The Commodores, Santana, Rick Springfield, Donna Summer, Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, R.E.M., Tina Turner, Luther Vandross, Huey Lewis & The News, The Go-Go's, John Denver, New Edition, Bryan Adams, Survivor, Bon Jovi, Violent Femmes, Los Lobos, Run DMC, Jimmy Buffett, Paul Simon, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Paula Abdul, Smokey Robinson, Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, Fleetwood Mac, Depeche Mode, Anita Baker, Bruce Hornsby, M.C. Hammer, B-52's, Whitney Houston, Michael Bolton, The Judds, Warrant, Bell Biv DeVoe, Pearl Jam, Janet Jackson, Clint Black, Boyz II Men, Dave Matthews Band, Sting, John Mellencamp, Metallica, Tina Turner, BoDeans, Lauryn Hill, Blues Traveler, Stone Temple Pilots, Shania Twain, James Taylor, Aretha Franklin, Paul Simon & Bob Dylan, Mary J. Blige, Counting Crows, R. Kelly

Summerfest's annual fireworks display, "The Big Bang," will take place on Thursday, June 30, at approximately 10:30pm, weather permitting. The annual downtown Milwaukee display will take place on Sunday, July 3 at approximately 9:30pm.

Some changes this year include credit card acceptance at the stalls, a Music Download Lounge, sponsored by MSN. So now you can go to a concert and then download the tunes from the MSN Music online music store. There is also the Kohl's Summerfest Rock Star Project - a competition to pick the best band from submissions.(Interactive map of Summerfest 2005)

I've attended Summerfest for the last two years, and like the Von Trapps, feel a twinge of regret that this will be my last summer in Milwaukee. The fest is a humongous experience, well worth its' appellation as "The World's Largest Music Festival".

In an unfortunate incident, a racist flier sparked some concern, but local residents resolved to stand fast against hatred. In better news, some Milwaukee freeway exits will be opened in time for the fest - much of downtown has been under construction post the winter freeze

See you at Summerfest!

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