Cultural Experience | Wisconsin

Happiness Amplified: Summerfest 2013

What’s the college life like without visiting a musical festival or two?

By Nichole Wierzba, St. Norbert College

What’s the college life like without visiting a musical festival or two? Coachella. Bonaroo. Lollapalooza. Or if you’re lucky enough – hitting up a festival abroad like Glastonbury.

Last week I headed down to Milwaukee, Wisconsin for my first major music festival, Summerfest. While it may not be the best known festival, Summerfest’s claim to fame is that it’s the “World’s Largest Music Festival,” a title that was rightfully given to them in 1999 by Guinness World Records. Pretty legit.

summer festivals college life live like a local image

So what’s so great about Summerfest? Here’s the lay of the land… It’s 11 days long, has over 800 acts on 11 stages, and brings in just under one million people to the lakefront on Lake Michigan.

As a Wisconsin native, I’ve been dreaming of making it out to Summerfest for years, but every previous year has been a bust. I was usually working or out of town, but this year I finally was able to make it and it was FANTASTIC. I left work early last Wednesday, hopped in the car with my boyfriend and best friend, and drove down to Milwaukee. For a Wednesday, the place was insanely busy.

When we first got there, we picked up some food. Truly living like a local of Wisconsin, I got some cheese covered fries.

Side note, if you don’t want to drop a ton of money on food, eat before you go. Just like any other public event, the food is expensive!

After chowing down we took a little ride on the Skyglider and got this awesome view of the grounds. Then we had about an hour left before the show we were going to see, so we watched a cover band at one of the free stages for a while. Didn’t catch their name, whoops!

Atop the Skyglider Wisconsin summerfest image

Atop the Skyglider

Every night of the festival, there is a headliner at the largest stage on the grounds. I was lucky enough to get my country on and see Luke Bryan, opened by Thompson Square and Florida Georgia Line. Hands down, it was the greatest show I’ve ever seen. Me and 20,000 other crazy fans were dancing and singing the night away.

What’s great about the festival is that you pay your entry fee to get in, and that’s all you need to see all of the bands playing that day. The one exception to that is the headliners. Headliners have reserved seats so similar to a regular concert, you need to buy tickets for the headliner in advance and they cost more than regular admission. But the upside is when you buy a ticket for a headliner, your admission fee is included. Sweet deal.

If you’re thinking about making a trip to a music festival, I definitely recommend Summerfest. It’s got something for EVERYBODY. Whether you’re into top 40, country, rock, rap, old stuff, new stuff –  unless you just really don’t enjoy music, there will be a performance there that you will want to see. And with multiple concerts going on all day long, you can hop between 11 different stages and get a little taste of everything.

Luke Bryan summerfest wisconsin image

Luke Bryan!

Here are some examples of who was at Summerfest this year: Pitbull, Nelly, Jason Aldean, Imagine Dragons, Alice Cooper, Tom Petty, Timeflies, Tim McGraw, FUN., Silversun Pickups, Neon Trees, Drowning Pool, REO Speedwagon, Barenaked Ladies, and Hollywood Undead. Just to name a few. I doubt it, but if you don’t see something you might like, there are still a ton more names on the line up.

Unfortunately because this year’s festival just ended, the lineup for next year is not ready yet but it is usually posted early, so if you want to check it out, you can visit the Summerfest website.

Or if you want a better view of this summer’s festival, check out the 2013 Summerfest lineup.

The catch phrase of Summerfest is a perfect way to sum up my experience last week.

“Smile on” 🙂


Nichole Wierzba

St. Norbert College | 3 stories

My name is Nichole Wierzba and I will be a senior in the fall of 2013 at St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wisconsin. I am double majoring in Communication & Media Studies and Sociology. I truly enjoy music – anything I can sing along with – and watching and playing sports. As a true Wisconsinite, I am a die-hard Green Bay Packer fan. So it’s perfect that Lambeau Field is about ten minutes from my campus! Oh and I love dogs. I love them so much that I acted like one all throughout kindergarten. People still make fun of me for it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Might Also Like

Products We Love