Beyond the Music at Summerfest 2023

The Big Bang Fireworks, a Milwaukee Brewers Tailgate and more ways to have fun off the stage at Summerfest

Music is the main attraction with performances on 12 stages over the course of three weekends but other experiences, activities and special events also mark Summerfest’s 55th anniversary.

Adding to an expansive lineup of music on the 75-acres festival grounds along Lake Michigan, Summerfest’s attractions include the return of a long-time favorite event among attendees. The Iron Joc Hole-In-One Challenge with 97.3 THE GAME is back for the first time in several years. Tee up three golf balls for the chance to win $5,000 and other prizes. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the Braelon Allen Fund.

Here are some of the other attractions this year at Summerfest, which will take June 22-24, June 29-July 1 and July 6-8:


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  • A new lounge area at the UScellular Connection Stage, called the US Mode Lounge. Attendees will be encouraged to put down their phones and enjoy face-to-face human connection while enjoying this comfortable lounge area. UScellular will also offer fans the chance to win a distraction-free $20k Vacay and Summerfest VIP giveaways during select shows.
  • The American Family Insurance House returns and will feature intimate acoustic performances from artists such as Declan McKenna, The Pretty Reckless and Sean Paul, as well as complimentary customizable festival merchandise and an immersive photo booth.
  • Two new bar areas will make their debut during Summerfest – Keg & Cask, located on the south end, serving a variety of craft beers and cocktails, and The Starry Bar with Pepsi, offering a selection of mixology beverages, along with a customized Starry Swag area. These new destinations are added to returning favorites like the Miller Lite Brewhouse and the Summerfest Dockside Bar with Fiduciary Management Inc.
  • Fritos Legacy Diner, located just inside the South Gate entrance, will offer a new free sampling experience from noon to 6 p.m. daily, located just inside the South Gate entrance.
  • Gruber Law Offices Sportszone with Newsradio 620 WTMJ, ESPN Milwaukee and 101.7 The Truth will feature interactive daily programming, including BMX stunt shows, Brew City Wrestling, Milwaukee Admirals Hockey and more.
  • Northwestern Mutual Community Park features one of Milwaukee’s largest playgrounds as well as daily activities for children and family-focused programming including Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra, Danceworks, First Stage and more.


  • New this year, check out the 2s FREES & 3s Basketball Challenge – Win Steve Novak’s Money. Fans will have two minutes to complete a 21-spot shooting course. The top four contestants will compete against Novak, the former Marquette basketball star and long-time NBA player, for the chance to win $1,000 dollars on June 30.
  • MKE Airport Skyglider, which offers scenic views of Henry Maier Festival Park, Lake Michigan and the entertainment on the grounds below.
  • The Activity Zone on the south end of the grounds will feature the Everlight Solar Wheel in the Sky at Summerfest, operating from noon to 11:30 p.m.; Derezzed Virtual Reality – high level and immersive VR experience; Gellyball – an ultra-low impact sport for ages five and up, along with various sampling opportunities and additional activities.
  • Elizabeth “Bo” Black Family Fountain with Dean’s Dips and B93.3.


  • The Summerfest Big Bang Fireworks presented by Menard’s and WISN 12 will take place on June 22 at 9:30 p.m.
  • To celebrate Summerfest’s 55th anniversary, the first 10,000 fans to enter Summerfest on opening day (June 22) will receive a Summerfest hat, courtesy of American Family Insurance.
  • Summerfest Parade – June 23, 30 and July 1, 6 and 8 at 3 p.m. Milwaukee’s Dancing Grannies along with the 610 Stompers from New Orleans will perform on June 30 and the City of Festivals will be featured on July 1 with appearances by representatives of Milwaukee’s ethnic and cultural events.
  • Latin Music Day presented by Aurora Health Care with support from Telemundo Wisconsin on July 7 at Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard stage featuring Grupo Niche, Tito Puente Jr., and more.
  • Official Milwaukee Brewers tailgate at Gruber Law Offices Sportszone on June 24 at 3 p.m. Interact with the Milwaukee Brewers street team, the Famous Racing Sausages and Bernie Brewer while experiencing the thrill of a home-run derby with a new VR experience.
  • The Alumni Charity Challenge with Gruber Law Offices, Dean’s Dips, Newsradio 620 WTMJ, ESPN Milwaukee, and 101.7 The Truth, is back on June 30 and will feature former basketball stars from Marquette, Wisconsin, UW-Milwaukee and UW-Green Bay who will reunite to raise money for charity.
  • The first 1,000 patrons to enter Summerfest on July 7 through the Mid Gate will receive a free Summerfest/Fritos branded bag.
  • Summerfest Big Win drawing presented by Potawatomi Casino Hotel on July 8 at 4 p.m. Five winners will have a chance to win $1 million dollars and a guaranteed share of $10,000.
  • School of Rock will run from June 29 through July 1 with more than 70 bands from around the world performing throughout the grounds.
  • Big Gig Giveaway with Cousins Subs – enter to win a VIP Summerfest prize package at



Rich Rovito is a freelance writer for Milwaukee Magazine.