Summerfest Kicks Off with a Big Bang! Shit, You Missed Steely Dan and REO Speedwagon. FUCK!

"I don't even really consider Summerfest to be a music festival," were my friend Elliot's words today when describing the world's largest music festival — now in its 40th year — which opened last night in Milwaukee, WI and runs through July 8.

The vision of Summerfest, purportedly to revitalize the Milwaukee downtown and unite the community, at least serves to draw out much of Wisconsin's riff-raff, usually content with dairy consumption, for a week or so of increased beer drinking, cigarette chain-smoking, and marijuana use along the rocks lining the Lake Michigan shore/Summerfest grounds.

To be certain, music can be heard. The festival includes year-in, year-out, washed-up mainstays Styx, Weird Al Yankovic, Finger Eleven, Reel Big Fish, Rusted Root, Collective Soul, Peter Frampton, and comedian Lewis Black.

Summerfest also presents the impossible task of choosing between Umphrey's McGee, Bob Weir & RatDog, and Keller Williams, all of whom play on July 5, at least for the likely doped-up, dreaded-out, noodle-dancing attendees.

Other headlining, national touring acts include O.A.R., Silversun Pickups, Shiny Toy Guns, Wolfmother, Sugarland, Blue Oyster Cult, Sum 41, Fuel, Goo Goo Dolls, Rise Against, Slaughter, Lindsay Buckingham, Lifehouse, Sister Hazel, Big & Rich, George Thorogood, Saliva, King Solomon, Heart, Social Distortion, Femi Kuti, The Wailers, Jackyl, Buddy Guy, A.F.I., WAR, Randy Travis, The Black Crowes, Plain White T's, Less Than Jake, Asia, Arrested Development, Local H, Los Lonely Boys, B.B. King, Sevendust, Augustana, Chevelle, Dashboard Confessional, Hellyeah!, Cowboy Mouth, Live, Papa Roach, Guster, Old 97s, Son Volt, Lupe Fiasco, G. Love & Special Sauce, INXS, and Brain McKnight. I know, I know — stop me when I mention something you like, something that was moderately cool to your kid sister years ago. The entire schedule can be viewed here.

Offering the slightest bit of redemption value or what may be of interest to Tiny Mix Tapes readers are Built To Spill and Spoon.

Rounding out the festival are a slew of local Wisconsin acts including, but not limited to, The LoveMonkeys, Pat McCurdy, Willy Porter Band, and Speakeasy, featuring the Iron Mike Dison on trombone, one of my middle school assistant band directors, who I could tell you a seedy tale or two about.

Admission will run you $15 if you're an adult (over 10 years old) attending the fest after 4 PM. It'll cost a mere $8 if you enter the festival grounds prior to 4 PM on a weekday, but I'd advise strongly against it. Then again, if you're hell-bent on seeing Spoon, staking out spots several hours before their set could guarantee better "seats" — everyone stands on the rows of metal, bleacher seats, all of which sit on a level surface -- no theater or stadium seating here, so no un-obstructed views either.

For that kind of luxury seating you can pay mega bucks to see Def Leppard w/ Foreigner and Styx; The Fray w/ OK Go, Ludacris w/ Chris Brown, Ciara, and T-Pain; Roger Waters; John Mayer w/ Ben Folds; Tool; Bon Jovi; Daughtry; Panic at the Disco! w/ Gym Class Heroes; or Toby Keith w/ Miranda Lambert, and Flynnville, who play the Marcus Amphitheater on successive dates, each show requiring its own individually purchased, full-priced ticket, as well as the normal admission into the festival grounds.

What I'm getting at here, and I apologize for burying my lead at the end of the story, is that the world's largest music festival is potentially also the world's most expensive and may not even be worth attending. Unless you really like Miller Lite.

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