Last November, after two decades, Harley-Davidson and Summerfest ended their sponsorship deal and Waukesha-based Generac Power Systems quickly stepped in to sponsor the former Harley-Davidson Roadhouse Stage.
After an overhaul – much like many stages at the festival have been undergoing in recent years – the new Generac Power Stage with Miller High Life was unveiled to media on Wednesday, just before Summerfest 2021 was about to kick off.
The stage has gotten major design and operational improvements, and with a big splash of orange, the new entertainment venue is among the most striking on the grounds.
The remodeling means that pretty much every stage on the Henry Maier Festival Grounds has now been updated, according to Summerfest’s VP of Planning and Development Jason Stuewe.
“I’ve been here 16 years now and I’ve touched every stage at this point,” he said.
The stage area has been expanded, a quartet of state-of-the-art video screens was added, along with updated theatrical lighting and boosted production capabilities, including more rigging capacity and the kind of production technology infrastructure that modern touring bands demand.
Further upgrades include improved ADA seating and bench seating reconfiguration, improved security and hospitality infrastructure – including a VIP deck with a view over the crowd to the stage – and access, and a new sign along the main walkway with high-definition displays scrolling concert schedules and information.
The backstage area for artists has also been updated.
“Upgrades at the Generac Power Stage will enhance the festival experience for fans and artists alike, and we are grateful to Generac for their leadership, generosity and vision,” said Milwaukee World Festival President and CEO Don Smiley.
“This management team understands our community, are great communicators, and possesses a big picture view of Summerfest. We are thrilled to welcome Generac to the dedicated group of corporate sponsors who ensure Summerfest continues to offer world-class entertainment to our community and throughout the globe.”
The lineup for the Generac stage at Summerfest 2021 includes The Flaming Lips, Run the Jewels, Diplo, Sonic Youth’s Thurston Moore, Better Than Ezra, Cold War Kids and DJ Jazzy Jeff.
“Generac is one of the largest-and fastest growing-employers in Wisconsin, and we could not be more excited to become a major sponsor of Summerfest,” said Generac Chairman and CEO Aaron Jagdfeld.
“The Generac Power Stage, which will be reimagined and improved, will be a magnet for Milwaukee festival goers and is one more way for us to give back to the city and to the region."
Here are some more photos of the new Generac Power Stage:
Front of house sound and lighting booths
Load-in & production
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 OnMilwaukee.com 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.