By Drew Olson Special to Published Apr 25, 2010 at 1:05 PM

Here at, we take pride in being Milwaukee experts. Since it is literally our job to eat, sleep and breathe all things Brew City, we get many questions from our readers.

This is where we answer them.

In the "Ask OMC" series, we take your questions -- big or small -- and track down the answers. Send your query to Be sure to include your name and location, and we will consider it for our next installment.

The question today comes from John in Nashua, N.H., but it is a query repeated annually -- mostly by out-of-town friends, but also from locals -- so we thought it would be appropriate to address it in this forum.

Is anyone good playing at Summerfest this year?

That, friends, is a loaded question. For starters, everyone has a different definition of "good" when it comes to music, bands and live shows. There might be a group that you would crawl across broken glass to see, but if they were playing in the yard your best friend wouldn't open the drapes to look outside.

Few things in Milwaukee inspire as much joy, angst, venom, hand-wringing, whining and back-seat booking as the Summerfest lineup. Although entertainment director Bob Babisch and his staff work hard year-round to bring a diverse slate of musicians to the festival, often overcoming budgetary and scheduling constraints, some people won't be satisfied.

Some detractors bemoan the "repeat" acts (Tom Petty, Tim McGraw) or "safe" choices at the Marcus Amphitheater and side stages. Others decry the lack of cutting edge groups that dot lineups at festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo Lollapalooza. Others say that hip-hop (or insert genre here) is ignored.

Then again, a whole lot of people like going to the Lakefront on a warm night to drink beer and see a bunch of bands for one cover charge.

If you take that approach, you can enjoy the spirit of the 11-day festival whether or not you think the lineup is "good." The bottom line is that you'll generally find at least one band in the lineup that you can look forward to watching in a pretty cool setting. With any effort, you might see a group that you never heard of, or thought you hated, that changes your mind with a live set.

With that out of the way, here is the 2010 Summerfest lineup as far as we know it. We used and concert site as our guide. (Note: specific side stage locations have not been officially announced). You'll have to decide for yourself whether you think the groups are "good."

Marcus Amphitheater -- Tim McGraw with Lady Antebellum and Love and Theft
Side stages -- Sheryl Crow, Colbie Caillat, Kool & the Gang, The Wailers

Marcus Amphitheater -- Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and ZZ Top
Side stages -- 311, Jeff Beck, Public Enemy, Dierks Bentley, The Gracious Few, Pepper

Marcus Amphitheater -- Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers and ZZ Top
Side stages -- Thievery Corporation, Phil Vassar, The Lost Trailers, Uriah Heep, Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights, The Constellations

Marcus Amphitheater -- Justin Bieber with Sean Kingston
Side stages -- Robert Randolph & the Family Band, Civil Twilight

Marcus Amphitheater -- Eric Clapton with Roger Daltrey
Side stages -- Pitbull, Mint Condition, Saliva, Wayne Francis, Terrance Simien & the Zydeco Playboys

Marcus Amphitheater -- Brooks & Dunn with Gary Allan and Kellie Pickler
Side stages -- Weird Al Yankovic, STS9 (Sound Tribe Sector 9), Guster, Cypress Hill, Lukas Nelson

Marcus Amphitheater -- Usher
Side stages -- The Moody Blues, Puddle of Mudd, Chevelle, WAR

Marcus Amphitheater -- Santana with special guest Steve Winwood
Side stages -- The Hold Steady, Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, O.A.R., The Roots, The Offspring, Deas Vail, Needtobreathe

Marcus Amphitheater -- To Be Announced
Side stages -- The Bravery, Scorpions, The Devil Wears Prada, O.A.R., Kinch, Miss May I, The Heavy, Yes

Marcus Amphitheater -- Rush
Side stages -- Modest Mouse, Counting Crows, Here Come The Mummies, Avi Buffalo, John Hiatt, Malea McGuinness

Marcus Amphitheater -- Carrie Underwood
Side stages -- Danny Gokey


Drew Olson Special to

Host of “The Drew Olson Show,” which airs 1-3 p.m. weekdays on The Big 902. Sidekick on “The Mike Heller Show,” airing weekdays on The Big 920 and a statewide network including stations in Madison, Appleton and Wausau. Co-author of Bill Schroeder’s “If These Walls Could Talk: Milwaukee Brewers” on Triumph Books. Co-host of “Big 12 Sports Saturday,” which airs Saturdays during football season on WISN-12. Former senior editor at Former reporter at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.