Summerfest, affectionately referred to as ?The Big Grip,? is an annual festival in summer that stands for everything - partying, food and loads of fun. Boasting to be the largest music festival in the world, Milwaukee's Summerfest attracts an unimaginable crowd - right from chirpy teeny-boppers to hardcore rockers. The eleven day festival is like a never-ending party with dozens of musicians performing live and an array of food stalls and eateries. Summerfest also features other attractions such as rides, firework displays, exhibitions, competitions and merchandise shops.
The music festival is held at the 75 acre Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and runs for 11 days from late June through early July. Since 1999, Summerfest has held the Guines World Records title as the ?World?s Biggest Music Festival." Summerfest was founded by late Milwaukee Mayor Henry W. Maier in the 1960s for the purpose of re-energizing the downtown and to provide the community with an affordable vacation during the height of the summer season, right in their hometown. The success of the first Summerfest, held in 35 locations, spurred the decision to make the festival an annual event.
Summerfest stages used to be wooden platforms raised on concrete blocks with picnic tables for audience members. More permanent stages and structures such as restroom facilities and restaurants have been developed by the middle of the decade. The music festival began to create noise amongst local fans and out-of-towners. Legendary performances of the 70s include: the Jackson Five, The Doors, Sly and the Family Stone, B.B. King, Steve Miller Band, Seals & Croft, Journey, Johnny Cash, Earth, Wind & Fire, the Bee Gees, and more. As the decade progressed, many of the top performers of the day wanted to make Summerfest a stop on their summer tour schedules.
Today, Summerfest boasts nearly one million attendees each year from all over the country, with 11 stages filled with exciting performances from over 800 bands, from noon until midnight each day. Besides the music, festival-goers can also sample a wide variety of food and beverages from many Milwaukee restaurants setting up shop on the grounds.