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Wisconsin’s own “World’s Largest Music Festival” by the numbers.

Milwaukee’s Summerfest, the “World’s Largest Music Festival,”™ is a major moneymaker for the regional economy. But that doesn’t mean organizers prey on music-loving Wisconsinites’ wallets. 

Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. estimates 87,000 people, more than 10% of all attendees, will enjoy this year’s ‘Fest for free or discounted admission through various programs.

“Admission prices are the lowest of any major music festival in the country,” festival organizers wrote on the event’s site. “Its low-cost offerings add to Milwaukee’s quality of life.”

Summerfest by the Numbers…

  • Summerfest brings in $180 million to Milwaukee & its suburbs.
  • Approximately 800,000 people attend each year, and an estimated 90% of hotel rooms are booked during the event.
  • Guinness World Records certified Summerfest as “The World’s Largest Music Festival” in 1999. (Although it has since been surpassed by Austria’s Donauinselfest, Summerfest still holds the trademark.)
  • It takes 41 full-time and 2,000+ seasonal workers to pull off the event.
  • Ronnie Dove, The New Colony Six, The Robbs, and Up With People headlined the first Summerfest in 1968.
  • Bob Hope became the first comedian to headline in 1969.

In 1989, organizers staged the first Winterfest, the cold-weather cousin that never really took off and was discontinued less than a decade later