After massive losses, Summerfest 2021 is coming back more streamlined than ever.
Milwaukee World Festival Inc., the organizer oft he Summerfest event, says it expects to lose $10.4 million. MWF says its cash balances have plunged to an all-time low amid the coronavirus pandemic. This year’s Summerfest couldn’t take place because of COVID-19.
The company revealed it has around $5 million in cash reserves, which are projected to drop to $3.8 million for 2021. The organization keeps 25% of its cash operating expenses in reserve. That means it costs about $14 million to organize Summerfest. The festival’s organizers say they expect net operating revenue of $14.5 million in 2021, about $1.9 million less than 2019.
“Summerfest anticipates a potential loss of corporate support due to the pandemic, plus increases in marketing, entertainment, and the cost of contracts,” the organizers say.
The new budget also assumes that the Summerfest 2021 show won’t feature any gathering restrictions. Summerfest 2021 will take place over three consecutive weekends. Those weekends are June 24-26, July 1-3, and July 8-10, 2021. The new change comes as a way to spread the festival out for more attendees.
“The pandemic, which resulted in the cancellation of the 2020 event season, profoundly impacted our non-profit organization,” said Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. president and CEO Don Smiley, in the release. “In response, our leadership team analyzed available data, patron surveys, and the event landscape and ultimately determined the best possible path forward for Summerfest was to transition to a new format.”
Summerfest 2021 will feature more weekends and more headliners. It means the festival will feature more national talent and a longer booking window to find that talent. Organizers say it also gives them a better chance of having sunny days during “unpredictable Wisconsin summers.”
Organizers have committed to keeping Summerfest 2021 as a multi-genre event that embraces inclusiveness. The cost of admission will remain low, making it one of the more affordable music festivals to attend. Milwaukee World Festival is booking concerts at the new American Family Insurance Amphitheater and the BMI Harris Pavillion before and after festival dates.
Summerfest 2021 organizers are bold in assuming there will be no restrictions next year. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to spread unchecked across the United States. The country just crossed its six millionth case of COVID-19, which is a grim milestone. Until a vaccine or other treatment is available, social distancing remains the best policy for combatting its spread. 2020 is pretty much written-off in terms of live concerts, but what about 2021?