A look at some of the changes to the newly-renovated Summerfest stage

NOW: A look at some of the changes to the newly-renovated Summerfest stage

Milwaukee (CBS 58) -- CBS 58 got a look inside the newly-renovated American Family Insurance Amphitheater on the Summerfest grounds Friday, June 28.

The renovations cost $51.3 million, and they were all privately funded. The amphitheater has a ton of new spaces that will help the flow of traffic and make the concert experience better for fans. 

The first thing fans will notice is a 'wall of fame' as you enter the amphitheater. Listed on it are the names of people who have played on the stage before. 

“Names that have performed here since 1987 and we'll be adding new names as we see fit for the wall fame,” said Don Smiley, Summerfest president and CEO. 

Officials hope to keep adding those big names in the future. They say these updates will help bring in those acts.

“You have to give them the ability to put a show on that they feel that their ticket prices demand and they feel that their fans want to see,” said Bob Babisch, Summerfest entertainment director. 

One change includes a higher ceiling above the stage. The now 65 foot high ceiling is double the previous roof. More flexible seating has also been added to the floor. 

“We were actually able to reconfigure the seating bowl and add about 800 seats to the seating bowl, so we did find a way to increase the capacity through some creative seat placements,” said Jason Stuewe, an architectural designer with Summerfest. 

Officials say they’ve made some little changes, like cupholders, a fan request for years.

“To go back and retro fit everything is a little bit more difficult than ordering brand new seats with cupholders,” said Smiley. 

They’ve also made some big changes like 20,000 sq ft. of added concourse, which allows for more concessions, and double the amount of bars and bathrooms the amphitheater previously had.

“There’s a level of comfort for the patrons to be able to interact with the venue, get up walk around and not have to worry about some of the other difficult situations that were present in the seating bowl’” said Stuewe. 

They’ve also added handicap accessible seating. All of the changes are expected to help the flow of traffic. The Foo Fighters will open up this stage  July, 30, followed by dozens of other performances, including Twenty One Pilots announced Monday, June 28. 

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