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The Badger Herald

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The Badger Herald


Celebrate festival season with these Wisconsin summer concerts

The state offers an array of festivals for all genres
Celebrate festival season with these Wisconsin summer concerts
Courtesy of Wikipedia Commons

Wisconsin is home to an array of diverse music festivals, each offering unique genres and atmospheres.

It’s impossible to not attend at least one summer show in Wisconsin, but at times it is difficult to navigate which summer festival is right for your tastes.

For those who are confused as to what each festival has to offer, here is a comprehensive list of some of The Badger Herald’s favorites.


Eaux Claires

Date: June 16-17

Location: Foster Farms in Eau Claire

Lineup includes: Danny Brown, Bon Iver and Wilco

Entering its third year as a music festival, Eaux Claires is looking to change their festival dynamic. According to the Eaux Claires website, the entire grounds as well as the stages will be reconfigured to offer a better fan experience.

Besides these layout changes, Eaux Claires should be similar to its previous years: a multifaceted arts festival. Those in attendance can experience live music, performance art and visual art.

This festival also allows attendees to get personal with the area. Besides staying in a hotel, concertgoers can choose to stay on nearby campgrounds or in a residence hall at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Those who choose to camp can access the campgrounds the day before the actual festival starts. Eaux Claires is only two days long, but has a lot to offer.

According to the website, fans can “expect to see unpredictable performances, hidden venues and surprise collaborations.”


Date: June 28-July 2 & July 4-9

Location: Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee

Lineup includes: Future, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Migos

Summerfest remains the world’s largest music festival, but this year the festival is going to be even more special. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, this lake-front festival should be extra memorable.

Offering hundreds of performances to its estimated 800,000 attendees, Summerfest has something for everyone. In addition to music performances, Summerfest has plenty of other activities ranging from an arts and crafts market, food stations and game areas.

Headliners start to perform at 8 and 10 p.m., with some outside on festival grounds and some inside the American Family Insurance Amphitheater (the latter requires separate tickets.)

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Being the world’s largest music festival, one would expect ticket prices to be unreasonable, especially if someone chooses to attend for all 11 days. But Summerfest has made itself affordable — a current special allows festival access for less than $8 per day.

Country Thunder

Date: July 20-23

Location: Twin Lakes

Lineup includes: Keith Urban, Thomas Rhett and Jason Aldean

For a festival that hones in on one specific sound, there is Country Thunder. Also offering the option to camp with campgrounds opening the day before the festival, Country Thunder allows concertgoers to get intimate with the space.

When it comes to planning a festival, Country Thunder knows what they’re doing. They currently operate four festivals under the same name in two countries, each pulling in about 100,000 fans. Every year, Country Thunder has the biggest names in country perform.

Metro Jam

Date: June 16-17

Location: Washington Park in Manitowoc

Lineup includes: Garland Jeffreys, others TBA

For a more low-key music festival, music-enthusiasts can go to the Metro Jam festival in Manitowoc. This two-day free event offers 10 different acts in a town park.

The smaller-sized festival still allows for discovering new musicians. According to their website, Metro Jam offers “the most eclectic rosters of national, regional and local artists that this area has ever seen.”

The Metro Jam schedule is yet to be released, but they must have an idea of what they’re doing — this year marks the 39th year of Metro Jam.

Willow River & Brews Fest

Date: June 2-3

Location: New Richmond

Lineup includes: Garland Jeffreys, others TBA

For a more Wisconsin-themed music festival, Willow River & Brews Fest offers music, art and, of course, beer tasting.

Located in New Richmond, all music is free to see; individuals just need to pay if they choose to try the brew sampling.

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According to their website, over 50 microbrews will be available to try from around the Midwest. There is also regular concession beer available for those not interested in the sampling.

The small park fest also offers a variety of art tents for people to persue. If you’re unavailable to attend the festival on June 3, there is a “sneak preview” of some of the vendor’s booths on June 2 for attendees to explore.

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