Summerfest Posts Boost in Attendance, Revenue

Attendance at Summerfest edged near the 900,000 mark, along with the nonprofit Milwaukee Planet Pageant Inc. claimed Monday that profits from ticket, food and drinks revenue also amplified over past 12 months.

The final attendance determine – 878,636 around the 11-day run – was two.6% greater compared to the turnout in 2010.

“We are certainly happy with our 2011 preliminary success,” reported Don Smiley, president and CEO of Milwaukee Environment Festival Inc. “The expertise lineup, new enhancements within the south conclusion, new working dates, promotions, meals and beverage choices, and, obviously, favorable climate, collectively produced a very optimistic response from our buyers.”

Within a change from its standard plan, Summerfest opened on June 29, a Wednesday, shuttered the doorways to the following Monday, then reopened through July 10. The theory wasn’t to prevent the Fourth of July, but to avoid a Monday, which happens to be slow across leisure venues.

Summerfest will hold that timetable for its 45th anniversary, opening the gates on Wednesday, June 27, closing on July 2, and finishing the run on July eight.

The income gains will deliver money for stage two of the renovations getting designed over the south conclusion of Henry Maier Competition Park, officers explained.

A brand new Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard stage and south gate were revealed in June, as well as the reconstruction in the remaining festival area near the Marcus Amphitheater will start in fall. Summerfest officers now project the total cost on the reconstruction will reach $35 million.

In its budget for 2011, Milwaukee World Pageant Inc. projected the Big Gig would generate $12.4 million in net operating income. After its lease payments and administrative expenses, the nonprofit corporation budgeted for a $364,000 profit at the end of the calendar year.

Ticket revenue and meals and beverage commissions were 8% more than previous 12 months, according to figures released Monday, keeping Milwaukee Environment Competition Inc. on track to add money to its capital and working reserves.

Actual income figures were not included in the release, but in previous years the total revenue from Summerfest has topped $30 million.

Meanwhile, ridership dropped on Milwaukee County’s Summerfest bus service, in what might have been the very last outing for most of the competition routes, the bus system documented Monday.

The Milwaukee County Transit System carried 242,450 riders to and from the 11-day lakefront music festival, down 16% from 287,772 the year before. Bus ridership declined even though competition attendance rose 3%.

Transit system spokeswoman Jacqueline Janz attributed part of your drop to your discontinuance of Route 39 (Timmerman Flyer), which carried about ten,000 passengers to Summerfest final calendar year. Fares also rose on Freeway Flyer service to Summerfest and other festivals, from $6 to $6.50.

In their 2012 county budget request, transit officials have recommended dropping all Freeway Flyer routes funded by Milwaukee County, including service to Summerfest. For this year’s competition, the Flyers carried 214,604 riders, while 27,846 used Wisconsin Ave. shuttles that are not marked for termination.

Although the Summerfest buses are packed at some points, particularly at the conclude of each night, they are not operating at a profit, Janz stated. Transit officials are recommending the service cut in the face of a $7 million reduction in state aid.