By Bobby Tanzilo Senior Editor/Writer Published Jul 14, 2022 at 6:26 PM Photography: Royal Brevvaxling

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Summerfest 2022 operated during an ongoing pandemic, during a time of worldwide inflation, in a new format for June/July that had two fewer days than the usual festival and without an amphitheater headliner one night (when Justin Bieber postponed).

Still, it managed to draw 445,611 fans, an 8.8 percent increase over last year’s Big Gig, which also ran three weekends, but in September.

“This year’s results highlight the current state of the event industry as we continue to manage through the impact of the last few years,” said Milwaukee World Festival, the organizers of Summerfest, in a statement.

Summerfest drew 409,386 attendees in 2021.

“Given the lasting effect of the pandemic, the world has changed and, accordingly, the music festival business has changed as well.  In 2020, MWF stated it would take years to fully recover and that is what we – and others – have experienced in 2022.

“While we did not top pre-pandemic attendance levels, our fans were happier than ever to enjoy live music in our world-class festival setting.  As we reflect on this year’s festival, we are celebrating a return to our traditional summer timeframe, a strong response to our hiring initiatives and a record year for sponsorships.  We thank the artists, fans, vendors, staff, and sponsors for their support – it was a great run.”

As a relief to those who disliked the three-weekends format, MWF said that this year’s event was, “a trial of a new festival format” and that, “officials will review the results of this model and confirm dates for Summerfest 2023 in August.”

In pre-pandemic times, Summerfest – which ran 11 days instead of nine – typically drew much more festgoers. For example, in 2017 that number was 831,769. In 2018, 766,192 attended and in 2019 there were 718,144 admissions.

Here's OnMilwaukee's Big Gig 2022 recap.

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.