Summerfest: The ‘World’s Largest’ Music Festival

Summerfest is a music festival held annually. It takes place in the city of Milwaukee in Wisconsin. This self-proclaimed ‘world’s largest music festival’ attracts huge audiences, often surpassing 800,000 people.

The venue for this massive event is Henry Maier Festival Park, which is located just opposite Lake Michigan. The festival kicks off on the last Wednesday of every June.


Summerfest was first held in 1968. It was launched by Henry W. Maier, who was the city mayor at that time. The idea of starting the festival was inspired by Maier’s visit to Germany for Oktoberfest, an annual music festival in that country.

The first Summerfest edition was held at 35 different venues across Milwaukee. In 1970, a central location was settled upon, which is also its current location.

The festival grew steadily from then on, finally entering the Guinness Book of World Records in 1999.

Genres Featured at the Festival

Summerfest is held over an 11-day period. It hosts numerous bands and performers of almost every genre.

These genres include alternative, bluegrass, blues, contemporary rock, country, folk, funk, hard rock, gospel music, hip-hop, pop, jazz, R&B, and reggae, among others.

Additional Attractions

Apart from music performances, Summerfest features a number of other activities. For example, there is delicious food served up by the restaurants of Milwaukee.

There are also fireworks during the event, with the biggest, known as the ‘Big Bang,’ taking place on opening night. The event also features a number of family-oriented activities.

Featured Artists

Iconic artists of different genres have performed at the festival since it began in 1968. These include The Rolling Stones, Metallica, Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney, Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, and the Dave Mathews Band, among countless others.

The event is organised and managed by Milwaukee World Festival, a non-profit organisation.