Summerfest attendance down 50 percent amid pandemic

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Posted at 7:21 PM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 15:21:30-04

MILWAUKEE — About half as many people attended Summerfest this year compared to 2019, as the already postponed music festival struggled under the weight of the persistent COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to contain the virus' spread among festival-goers, staff and entertainers.

The festival released this year's attendance numbers on Wednesday. Organizers said 409,386 fans attended the 9-day festival. That's compared to 718,144 people who attended the 2019 version.

Another number that is down this year is the amount of musicians playing the festival. Organizers said just over 800 musicians performed. That's compared to over 2,000 artists in 2019. The last Summerfest was two days longer than this year's version. Summerfest was held this year in spurts between Sept. 2 and Sept. 18.

Organizers viewed this year's rendition as a test that not many other festivals could put together.

"As one of only a few national music festivals to take place this year, Summerfest made it a September to remember by fulfilling its mission to provide a low-cost, world-class outdoor music experience for its fans," Summerfest organizer Milwaukee World Festival announced in the statement Wednesday.

"Given several significant factors impacting the festival, including the move to September, the emergence of the Delta variant, the addition of new entry protocols, the loss of public transportation, and the rainy Labor Day weekend, Summerfest attendance was less than previous years, totaling 409,386 fans during the nine-day run," the organizer explained.

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