Summerfest is an annual festival held at the 75 acre Henry
Maier Festival Park along the lakefront in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Also
known as "The Big Gig", Summerfest runs for 11 days from late
June to early July (always over July 4) and attracts almost 1 million
people. Summerfest has held the Guinness World Records title
as the 'World's Biggest Music Festival' since 1999.
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Summerfest was conceived by then-mayor Henry W. Maier, as a result of his visit to Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany. He envisioned such a festival in Milwaukee and Summerfest was born in 1968. Held in 35 locations around the downtown area, the first Summerfest was a success. However, the storm-plagued 1969 Summerfest was a disaster, with rain forcing the cancellation of the last day's events. Today, the time that Summerfest is held statistically gets the least amount of rainfall in Milwaukee. In 1970, a central location was decided upon, where it has been held since.
Summerfest is most famous for its music. Live musical acts are offered on 13 stages throughout the grounds, including the 24,000-seat Marcus Amphitheater. Summerfest features both local and nationally known music talent from a variety of different music genres. Musicians who have played at Summerfest include Jewel, Pearl Jam, Eric Clapton, REM, Foo Fighters, Carlos Santana and Prince.