Summerfest day crowds smaller than usual, vendors say

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- So far, Summerfest in September isn't drawing the crowds that we're used to seeing at the lakefront venue.

Despite what appears to be lower attendance numbers, those who've shown up are enjoying it just the same.

"Everybody's been nice. I love it, probably come back again one of these days," said Sam Roberts. 

The sounds of Summerfest were sprinkled with an on-and-off drizzle on day two.

"We had some sprinkles during the early concert, but it wasn't bad at all, said Jennifer Stutheit of Illinois.

Some Summerfest guests say the September version of the festival is nicer than a hot summer day.

"Having Summerfest later in the year should now be a thing that we always do, even after COVID because look at this weather," attendee Amber Alcorn said. "This is fantastic."


Some vendors think the cooler weather and rain on Friday, Sept. 3, might be factoring into smaller attendance numbers during the day.

"It was definitely a mild crowd," vendor, Sal Maniscalco said. "From years past, I would say it was smaller than your average opening day."

Some questioned if it was worth opening on a Thursday afternoon.

"Usually there's a large crowd that just can't wait to get in as soon as the door is open," Famous Cigar Company seasonal employee, Jim Gallo said. "This year, not so much."

Festival-goers have enjoyed new attractions like the new Generac stage and an enhanced American Family Insurance mini stage.

"Three intimate songs with 75 people, versus on a big giant amphitheater stage," American Family Insurance Partnership Strategist Madison Smith said. "I mean it's a really cool experience for the fans."

Summerfest has made a push to get people into gates early by putting national bands on at 4 p.m.

"National talent all day is one of the reasons we made the switch to the three-weekend format, and we're really excited to bring more talent to those stages," Summerfest COO Sarah Smith Pancheri said.

Lee Formella's got great seats for Chance the Rapper.

"I've been wanting to see him since 2013 and I had concert tickets last year, but then they got canceled, "said Nicole Brotzman. "So I'm really excited."

Vendors said around 6 p.m., attendance looked more like what they were used to.

"Last night... it started to get busy, so last night felt like Summerfest," said Fazio's Popcorn Supervisor Madeline Woller. "But in the morning it felt like Polish Fest."

"I feel like tonight is a little less crowded probably because school has started. There's poor weather," said Kelly Kwaeil of Watertown.

Summerfest won't have any official attendance numbers out until after the last day. 

A Summerfest spokesperson said nights and weekends are always their most popular times.

For more information on Summerfest, CLICK HERE

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