For the first time in the festival’s history, Milwaukee’s Summerfest – the U.S.’ largest music festival – has been cancelled.
On Thursday, festival organizers took to social media to share that its board of Summerfest’s parent company, Milwaukee World Festival Inc., had decided to cancel the event due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Originally, the festival was set to run from June 24 to July 5, but in late March, organizers pushed the celebration back to September and shortened it to a nine-day event. Milwaukee World Festival CEO Don Smiley said that the decision to cancel the fest was made based on the uncertainty surrounding large gatherings and “the immediate future presents multiple levels of risk for our fans, and we choose the side of safety.”
Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett spoke to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel after the festival announced the news.
“The uncertainties from the COVID-19 crisis is very daunting, and I understand the decision and I support the decision, and it’s an unfortunate decision,” he said. “I think everybody would love to see Summerfest. It creates a lot of jobs for young people, and that’s something that we need right now.”
Ticketholders can receive refunds through July 17, 2020 via summerfest.com or can opt to hold onto their tickets, as they will be honored at Summerfest 2021. Next year’s edition has not been announced at this time, though officials said that information will be announced in the coming weeks.
This is the latest large-scale festival to be cancelled, following suit of Firefly, Boston Calling, and Inkcarceration. One of the other largest festivals int he U.S., Coachella, has been postponed to the fall, but may be cancelled as well or postponed again. See our full, updating list of festivals cancelled or postponed amid coronavirus here.