By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Dec 10, 2020 at 8:31 AM Photography: Summerfest

In the category of news you just can't wait to use ... someday: Summerfest has announced that free wifi is coming to the American Family Insurance Amphitheater in 2021.

If you're like me, you've struggled for years to get good reception at the lakefront, regardless of cell phone provider, and sitting under the concrete and steel Hoan Bridge only made matters worse.

Now, via a new partnership, SilverIP will install high-speed access points throughout the venue: concourses, seating bowl, bleacher/grass seating, hospitality areas. For you, that means you can post a selfie of you and a headliner (off in the distance) on Insta. For me and my colleagues, it means we can upload reviews on-site for you to either enjoy (or rage about) as soon as the show's over.

“We are excited to offer free WIFI at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater to enhance our fans’ experience at this world-class venue,” said Summerfest President and CEO Don Smiley in a news release.

“We have partnered with SilverIP at Henry Maier Festival Park for many years, and it made perfect sense for us to provide that same service at the Amphitheater.  Free WIFI will be another new amenity to enjoy when we open this new venue in 2021.”

Next year's Summerfest is slated for a trio of long weekends in June and July.

SilverIP has been a longtime Summerfest internet provider.

"We're thrilled to be working with the Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. team to provide free WIFI to the American Family Insurance Amphitheater.  Our experience providing internet service to Summerfest and large festivals in Chicago, makes this partnership a great fit,” said Farzad Moeinzadeh, SilverIP Co-Founder and CEO in the news release.

Next year also marks the launch of the new Amphitheater, which was expected to be ready this year, until the pandemic spoiled the Big Gig.

We got a peek at the progress last year.

The reconfigured venue has been upgraded to the tune of $51.3 million with changes everywhere: front of house, back of house, stage, seating, bathrooms, concourses, food and bev options.

It will seat roughly the same number of folks – 23,000 – for concerts.

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Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer

Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.

He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.

With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.

He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.

In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.

He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.