By OnMilwaukee Staff Writers   Published Jul 22, 2005 at 5:29 AM

{image1} Attendance was up this year, and Summerfest made money. But, why all the negative chatter? Maybe because we as faithful Milwaukeeans sometimes take our best things, like Summerfest, a bit for granted. Then again, maybe our best things -- even Summerfest -- really do need some improvement.

In true OMC style and with OMC spirit, here are 100 Ways to Improve Summerfest. Add your own using our exclusive talkback system.

  1. Add live podcasts of shows to
  2. Add younger board members to Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. Board of Directors
  3. Force all Board Members to attend Summerfest at least three of the 11 days
  4. Raise ticket prices at the gate to at least $20 while offering discounted admission in spring
  5. Create a local bands only stage
  6. Add stadium seating at certain stages
  7. More merchandise tables for bands to sell stuff at or create one central area to sell downloads and discs and merch
  8. Move beer tents out of the center of the Grounds
  9. Sell more brands of beer, but still no Budweiser!
  10. Add more female rest rooms and family restrooms
  11. Create debit card program for all payments on grounds
  12. Age limit enforced after 6 p.m.
  13. Have certain nights that are 21+ only
  14. Add bathroom attendants, not just security guards in restrooms
  15. Build a private, enclosed stage/arena that is more "upscale" and intimate
  16. Better lighting for parking lots
  17. More buses, more often
  18. Kill the Midway
  19. Bring back "The Encore" in September
  20. More variety on Children's Stage. Create partnership with Noggin
  21. Don't book same performers every day (Sorry, Pat!)
  22. More diversity (need we even mention this?)
  23. VIP club and area
  24. Create a food card good for grounds and sponsor restaurants
  25. Extend the festival into and through downtown by adding pre and post shows with artists at coffeehouses, bars and bookshops and other venues
  26. Add more entry gates
  27. More consistent sound quality for all Amphitheatre shows
  28. Lure more celebrities to create a buzz (like Kate Hudson, who was at the Black Crowes show this year)
  29. For grass seats, consistency on price and availability
  30. Stay open until 1 a.m.
  31. Add mixed drinks, we need our gin and tonics, mojitos, etc.
  32. Focus marketing, leverage partnerships and build community
  33. Limit capacity on weekend nights
  34. Add an arcade
  35. Add a skate park
  36. How about an outdoor film series? Partner with the Milwaukee International Film Festival or Marcus Theaters
  37. Leverage the lake and use it more
  38. Use that island, too!
  39. Water taxi from North Shore to East Side to Summerfest to Bay View and SoMo
  40. Make the marketplace area more hip
  41. Create and sell a season pass good for all festivals
  42. Build a water park with Lake Michigan access
  43. Add more sit down dining spots
  44. More buskers and strolling musicians
  45. Partner with MTV and VH1
  46. Create annual compilation CDs and downloads
  47. Have an iTunes store on the grounds
  48. Create a "History of Summerfest" interactive museum
  49. Create a Welcome to Milwaukee exhibit and interactive area
  50. Provide wet-naps for the after-eating greasiness (and bibs, too!)
  51. Cool mist zones when it's too hot
  52. Win a prize if you hit the guy on the boat collecting golf balls in the lagoon
  53. Distribute beer helmets to make crawling through the crowd easier and prevant spillage
  54. Designated meeting spots
  55. Spit guards to prevent loogies raining down from the skyglider
  56. Make the Big Gig card worthwhile or cancel it.
  57. Offer local discounted tickets and multi-day passes in the spring
  58. Pick your audience. You just can't expect to please all the people all the time
  59. Expand the grounds north to Shorewood
  60. Convert the Hoan into one big balcony
  61. Add Summerfest as a stop for the downtown trolley
  62. Get rid of the bleachers
  63. "No strollers" policy after 5 p.m.
  64. More employees staffing the Marcus Amphitheatre box office
  65. And make the box office bigger, too
  66. "Hang with the Band" promotions for each day
  67. Better main stage acts and some who haven't played Summerfest ever year for the past three years
  68. "Mullet Day"
  69. Better sound quality at small stages
  70. Build a retractable roof
  71. Better ticket partnerships with Brewers, Wave United, etc.
  72. Celebrity dunk tanks
  73. And celebrity drunk tanks, too!
  74. Change name to Strummerfest and book only Clash tribute bands
  75. Summer by Summerfest (SXSF)
  76. All night raves out on the island
  77. Bring back the Reggae Sunsplash package tours
  78. Clean the bathrooms more often
  79. Free eggplant for everyone!
  80. Set up wine bars with a good selection
  81. Add a non smoking area
  82. Build a better, edgier Web site
  83. World Brat Eating Championship
  84. World Beer Drinking Championship
  85. Local restaurant food and wine tasting areas
  86. Make it a full two weeks
  87. Or, make it one full week and weed out the "filler"
  88. Have a "write the official Summerfest song" contest among local bands
  89. An Italian pop night with Carmen Consoli, Subsonica and Cinemavolta
  90. Book better bands and here come our suggestions:
  91. The Roots
  92. Beck
  93. Ben Kweller
  94. Radiohead
  95. The White Stripes
  96. Modest Mouse
  97. The Shins
  98. The Decemberists
  99. Why is there no good jazz at the Gig?
  100. Summerfest fashion seminars