I always love when I tell people who aren’t from here about Summerfest and I mention that it’s the largest music festival IN THE WORLD. Yep, they have heard of Coachella and Lollapalooza but many are not familiar with Summerfest (also known as The Big Gig). Summerfest started 50 years ago and lasts 11 days featuring 11 stages with over 800 acts and over 1000 performances. One headliner performance each night requires a special concert ticket and the rest are free to attend with just a festival general admission ticket. Between 800,000 and 900,000 people attend each year.
We usually attend a few days of the festival, especially Family Day which always includes some activities and shows specifically targeted to kids. This year, we partnered with BMO Harris Bank for our Family Day festivities and got a taste of some of the VIP benefits they give their customers. While this post is sponsored in conjunction with our partnership, all of the opinions and experiences mentioned are our own.
As with any event where large numbers of people congregate, lines become a part of the experience. We took advantage of GoRiteway’s shuttle from our suburb and arrived at Henry Maier Festival Park as it opened, as did hundreds of other people. We loved skipping the general admission line and using the BMO Harris customer entrance where we walked right up, went through security and entered the park. I really hate standing in lines, so this was an especially nice perk!
Once we arrived at Summerfest, we headed over to the Gruber Law Offices Sportzone where BMO Harris was sponsoring a performance of The Rim Rockers and also had the Milwaukee Bucks own John Henson speaking. The Rim Rockers are an amazing group of athletic entertainers who dazzle crowds with high-flying aerobatic dunks. We’ve seen them at Bucks games in the past and thoroughly enjoyed their high energy show.
Josh loved hearing John Henson’s thoughts on his career and his advice to kids. He was thrilled to have the chance to grab an autograph and picture with Henson as well!
We had a blast exploring everything Summerfest has to offer – all kinds of food, experiences with brands, and hearing music from groups we might not have discovered otherwise. Another cool BMO Harris customer perk is that there are lots of fee-free ATM machines located throughout the grounds. There are so many things to try at Summerfest, I almost always find that I should have brought more cash!
BMO Harris customers also save 15% on Summerfest merchandise at onsite Summerfest stores. I picked up this cool commemorative guitar picks wall hanging for my office.
Around 5pm, the BMO Harris VIP area opened and we enjoyed sitting by the lake and cooling off a bit with some drinks.
They provided dinner by Saz’s and to say the food was delicious would be an understatement!! We could hear the music coming from the BMO Harris Pavillon stage which made dinner even more enjoyable. And the VIP area has their own private bathrooms. Guys are probably wondering what the big deal is, but you ladies know what I am talking about when I say that the bathrooms alone made my night!! No lines, they were squeaky clean and there were even flowers!
The headline act at the Pavilion that night was Phillip Phillips and we were seated in the “Blue Circle” seats right up front. I don’t know that I have ever been that close to the stage at a concert before. I’m pretty sure Phillip smiled at me at least once. (I kid, I kid.)
There are still a few day left of Summerfest, so if you haven’t been down to celebrate its 50th anniversary, it’s not too late. If you are a BMO Harris Bank customer, make sure to take full advantage of the perks available to you. (And if you’re not, maybe it’s time to think about becoming one!)
This looks like a fantastic event. I am sure I would have enjoyed it too.
Vera Sweeney says
I haven’t had the chance to see Summerfest, but I really want to. I keep hearing about what an amazing time it is.
Colleen Lanin says
Summerfest sounds amazing. There’s nothing like a GOOD music fest to really make you feel young again. I love it!
robin Rue says
Summerfest sounds like a great show! I definitely want to go next year!
Sounds like a great event. The fee free ATMs must have mad expensive getting cash much easier.
Liz Mays says
It sounds like Summerfest is worth checking out. Seeing the Rim Rockers perform must have been so cool! I would have loved to see them.
What a fun sounding & looking summer festival! I know my kids would love to go to this – looks like there’s something for everyone in the family!
Melissa Chapman says
I can’t believe I never heard of this it is like a Woodstock every year for the last 50. I would love to take a road trip there some summer and take in the whole thing and Wisconsin.
Toni | Boulder Locavore says
This is one of my favorite summer activities! Summerfest is really fun! I always enjoy it with the kids!
Jocelyn @ Hip Mama's Place says
Sounds like an awesome event to be part of during the summer! I love that there’s so much to look forward to! I haven’t been to a music festival in a long time and I’d love to be a part of next year’s Summerfest!
That is nice that you got those seats. I’m sure he was smiling at you, close-uppers are always big fans. 🙂
Travel Blogger says
I haven’t heard of this before. I had no idea it was the biggest music festival. That sounds like such an amazing event! I love the fee free ATMs. You have to appreciate a good deal when you see one ha ha.
Mary Edwards says
That is a TON of artists at one festival. Sounds like a great time for music fans!
Shannon Gurnee says
I hadn’t heard of Summerfest yet, but it sounds like a great event! Looks like you had a blast! Thanks for sharing.
Kita Bryant says
Shuttles and ATMS are a saving grace at festivals. This sounds like it’s a blast!
AnnMarie John says
A summer fest sounds really fun! I’ve never been to this event before and I can’t believe they’ve been doing this for 50 years! That’s so amazing!
Annemarie LeBlanc says
What an awesome event! 50 years in the banking industry is definitely a reason to celebrate. I love how they take care of their customers. I wish there was one near me! Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience at the BMO Harris Summerfest.
My Teen Guide says
Wow. This bank sure knows how to throw a party! Well, there is definitely a reason to celebrate – a golden anniversary! I love all the fun things to do at the Summerfest. i only wished i lived closer.
Melissa Hagan says
Sounds like BMO has some awesome perks! I love that dining area! Summerfest sure is a hot thing a round here and I can’t wait for next year’s festivities!