By Jeff Sherman Staff Writer Published Jul 10, 2017 at 11:56 AM Photography: David Bernacchi

Music and sports. Music and sports. Music and sports. Well, and food. Yes, food.

I’ve said this before, but it deserves attention again. Nothing brings us all together like music and sports. And, yes, food. We can disagree on almost everything, but once music, sports and food are presented, we find ways to come together. Sure, tastes may not all reconcile, but community rallies around musics, sports and food.

So, thank you, once again, Summerfest, for being our guiding light, our civic flag and our collective place to to join, jam and just enjoy life.

I love Summerfest. Always have.

For me, it’s like this massive party that’s personalized in so many ways that it just truly does appeal to everyone from 8-80. Complain as you will about the crowds, construction and whatnot, but those things add to what our Downtown area has worked so hard to get: density, discovery and diversity.

Let’s explore these important traits as they related to the Big Gig.


Great cities work with development, transit and people that are efficiently packed together. Summerfest does this well. Not only on its grounds, but all over Downtown. Midnight comes and 90,000-plus scatter about and explore. It’s beautiful and impactful. 


Great cities create multiple ways for people to discover what they have. Same goes for Summerfest.

This year, there were so many more efficient ways to get there, and soon Downtown will add a Streetcar that will only help get people around and connected. The grounds added retail, stages, new food and more engaging ways to connect to Summerfest's past, present and future.

I love that Summerfest is slowly adding VIP experiences too. Sports teams call this "segmented luxury." All event-goers want to be VIPs, so the creation of multiple areas and opportunities while always focusing on making the whole better works. Treat patrons well, design great experiences for them and they will spend. And Milwaukee does just that. 

I also love when the artists discover the rest of Milwaukee. One example? Phil Vassar and Huey Lewis (and the News) stopped at the Calderone Club in Downtown for dinner.


If you’re from Milwaukee, you may have a complex that Summerfest isn’t The Governor’s Ball, Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, SXSW or whatever the next hot music festival is. Screw that. Summerfest is the world's largest musical festival, and it's in Milwaukee. 

It's also about multiple generational connections: generations X,Y, Z and even younger. Kids Day, July 5, was huge this year – and free. Summerfest connects with nearly anyone and truly offers something for everyone.

Add the weather from day one to this mix, and you have climate diversity too. Admit it: You loved those storms. That's the stuff of which Summerfest legend is made. Everyone connects with weather. And, as I mentioned, everyone connects with music – no matter your background or taste preference. Summerfest offered it all. 

Yet Summerfest is over, and again I’m kinda sad. I already miss the buzz and activity that comes with those 11 days. But I know that the planning and future building are already underway for the 51st version.

I’m excited, and we’re honored that OnMilwaukee is a partner in an event that screams and cheers Milwaukee each and every year.

Onward – and on to #Summerfest51

Jeff Sherman Staff Writer

A life-long and passionate community leader and Milwaukeean, Jeff Sherman is a co-founder of OnMilwaukee.

He grew up in Wauwatosa and graduated from Marquette University, as a Warrior. He holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and is the founding president of Young Professionals of Milwaukee (YPM)/Fuel Milwaukee.

Early in his career, Sherman was one of youngest members of the Greater Milwaukee Committee, and currently is involved in numerous civic and community groups - including board positions at The Wisconsin Center District, Wisconsin Club and Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.  He's honored to have been named to The Business Journal's "30 under 30" and Milwaukee Magazine's "35 under 35" lists.  

He owns a condo in Downtown and lives in greater Milwaukee with his wife Stephanie, his son, Jake, and daughter Pierce. He's a political, music, sports and news junkie and thinks, for what it's worth, that all new movies should be released in theaters, on demand, online and on DVD simultaneously.

He also thinks you should read OnMilwaukee each and every day.