Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
Summerfest taps Madison-based promoter to get more shows
Summerfest has made a big play to bring more shows to the new American Family Insurance Amphitheater, and to the BMO Harris Pavilion, at Maier Festival Park.
Officials with Summerfest’s nonprofit parent company Milwaukee World Festival Inc. announced Tuesday that Madison-based FPC Live will be the venue’s preferred promoter partner, outside of Summerfest itself, which will still be booked in-house.
“As we look forward to the grand opening of the new American Family Insurance Amphitheater next June, we are excited to begin this new relationship to continue our legacy as Milwaukee’s premier destination for music during the summer,” Don Smiley, president and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, said in a statement. “With $53 million in upgrades to the venue, our goal is to host as many concerts as possible during our festival season.”
Summerfest didn’t announce any shows planned for the 23,000-seat amphitheater, or the 5,000-seat, seven-year-old pavilion on Tuesday. But in an interview with the Journal Sentinel last year, Smiley suggested the amphitheater could host anywhere from three to eight concerts outside of Summerfest’s 11-day window each year. The pavilion currently hosts a handful of shows each summer; JoJo Siwa, ZZ Top and Vampire Weekend were among the acts that performed there this summer.
FPC Live, part of Frank Productions, is almost certain to bring more shows to the grounds than have been there in recent years. Live Nation, the world’s largest concert promoter, acquired a majority stake in FPC Live last year, and FPC is often the local promoter for Live Nation tours, including several Fiserv Forum shows.
And with Live Nation bringing scores of outdoor concerts each summer to venues it operates — including Huntington Bank Pavilion in Chicago and Alpine Valley Music Theatre in East Troy — Summerfest’s venues will have a greater shot at getting dates for some of those tours.
FPC Live still operates independently from Live Nation, and ranked 26th on Pollstar’s list of the world’s largest promoters last year, with 882,690 tickets sold. FPC Live books concerts at Breese Stevens Field in Madison, and owns or operates four venues in Madison: the Orpheum Theatre, the Majestic Theatre, High Noon Saloon and the Sylvee, a new venue that opened last fall.
“The combination of Henry Maier Festival Park’s longstanding history with Frank Productions’ 50 years of producing Wisconsin’s biggest concerts is going to lead to a successful future of more live events on Milwaukee’s lakefront,” said Charlie Goldstone, one of FPC Live’s presidents. “We are thrilled to announce this relationship, and we cannot wait to get started.”
Financial details of the deal were not disclosed. Concerts will be announced on the two venues’ new websites: amfamamp.com and bmoharrispavilion.com.
Contact Piet at (414) 223-5162 or plevy @journalsentinel.com. Follow him on Twitter at @pietlevy or Facebook at facebook.com/ PietLevyMJS.
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