What Happened to Milwaukee’s New Winterfest?

VinterSköl Musik Fest was Milwaukee’s hottest new festival in 2020, but there’s been little talk of it since.

While many are still recovering from the recent postponement of Summerfest, you might also be wondering: What happened to Winterfest?

Held in five venues throughout The Brewery District, VinterSköl Musik Fest was brand new last year. The announcement of a new festival, opposite to Summerfest, was one of the Milwaukee music scene’s hottest topics of conversation in the cold of last February. Warming Wisconsinites with great food, drinks and music in the dead of winter, the festival’s Feb. 15 one-year anniversary is fast approaching, however, a quick return of the event is not.

While the new, Nordic-inspired winter event found initial success, highlighting over 20 local artists and hosting 1,500 Milwaukee music lovers, the festival was frozen out after just one year due to the ongoing pandemic. According to Erin Stenum, manager at The Brewery Neighborhood Improvement District No. 1, the “celebration of winter” was originally created to serve as a local festival fix for the frigid time of year.

VinterSköl Musik Fest 2020; Photo by Samer Ghani



“There’s really nothing big going on in the winter,” said Stenum. “We wanted to do something really fun and get people out and experiencing art and music and culture.”

However, this year, physically getting out and experiencing all that Milwaukee culture has to offer isn’t realistic. Stenum said although neighborhood partners discussed a possible virtual Vintersköl to hold festival-goers over for the season, they inevitably decided to hold off until they all could safely celebrate together, in-person again.

VinterSköl Musik Fest 2020; Photo by Samer Ghani

Although festival postponement appears to be a touchy subject in Milwaukee at the moment, according to Stenum, there’s hope that “vinter” is coming back. Eventually.

“It’s not off the table yet,” she said. “The neighborhood partners that got together to pull this off in the beginning are very interested in taking something like this and growing it.”