By Matt Mueller Culture Editor Published May 11, 2023 at 11:16 AM Photography: Visit Milwaukee

We are less than a month and a half away from Summerfest. And the only thing better than the Big Gig? Getting into the Big Gig for the wallet-friendly price of nothing – and Summerfest this week announced the many, many ways one can get into nine days of festing across three weekends for zero dollars at the gate. 

Here are Summerfest's admission promotions for 2023, from familiar classics to a new discount courtesy of new sponsor Fritos.

Thursday, June 22 – Stomp Out Hunger Day

Start Summerfest off on the right foot by getting a good deal and doing good. Those who bring at least three non-perishable cans of food – such as canned fruit or vegetables – to any Big Gig gate between noon and 3 p.m. will earn a free admission ticket for that day and time. 

Friday, June 23 – Children's Fest Day

It may be called Children's Fest Day, but everyone gets a deal on the second day of Summerfest as all attendees who go through the gates between noon and 3 p.m. will get in for free. Plus, select food vendors will offer food and beverage discounts, and kids activities and interactive elements will be found throughout the grounds.

Saturday, June 24 – Mary Lou's Closet Supply Drive

Another way to do good with a good deal, the first 1,500 attendees who bring in new deodorant, socks or menstrual hygiene products to donate to Mary Lou's Closet – a program providing hygiene supplies for youth in area public schools – worth a minimum value of $10 will score a free Summerfest admission ticket for that day and time. The drive will take place between noon and 3 p.m., with all donations going toward the United Way of Greater Milwaukee & Waukesha County and community schools. 

Thursday, June 29 – Throwback Thursday

Summerfest is going old school for the start of its second weekend. In addition to hosting throwback acts like Debbie Gibson, Hotel California: A Salute to the Eagles and more, from noon until 6 p.m., admission costs just $5 and all beverages – not including frozen drinks, smoothies and specialty coffee drinks – will be 50 percent off. 

As an added bonus, those who shop at Pick 'n Save or Metro Market can score some free tickets as well. For every $50 spent on a single grocery store stop until May 16, shoppers can earn four free Big Gig tickets. The offer is found at the bottom of your receipt; just bring that original receipt in to a Summerfest ticket window on Throwback Thursday from noon to 6 p.m. and feast on your four free tickets. For more information, click here

Friday, June 30 – Show Your College Pride Day

School pride pays off on this day of the Big Gig. Attendees who arrive between noon and 3 p.m. at the midgate promotions booth repping a shirt or hat from one of the participating schools – including Marquette University, Carroll University, Herzing University, MATC, UWM and UW-Whitewater – will score a free admission ticket. High schools can get in on the savings as well, as those who show their high school ID and those who start their FAFSA applications by July 6 will also score free admission. For more information, click here.  

Saturday, July 1 – Military and First Responder Appreciation Day

Those who serve will save on this second Saturday of Summerfest. Active-duty military personnel and veterans along with EMT, fire and police officers will receive free admission for themselves and up to four family members between noon and 6 p.m. Just show a valid Military ID, DD-214 form, driver’s license with veteran classification, police or fire union card, or law enforcement or fire department agency-issued credential at any of the Summerfest gates. 

Saturday, July 1 – Make a Child Smile Day

Take a look, it's in a book – it's Summerfest savings! Bring in new or gently used children's books (picture books and early readers are preferred) to donate to Next Door at the midgate promotions booth between noon and 3 p.m. and score free admission for the day. Get there fast, though: The deal is valid to only the first 2,500 patrons who donate. 

Thursday, July 6 – Seniorfest Day

Seniors score on the start of the final weekend of the Big Gig, as those ages 60 and older who show their ID at any gate between noon and 4 p.m. will earn free admission into Summerfest that day – plus a discount voucher that'll take $2 off any food or non-alcoholic drink purchase $10 or more throughout the grounds. Plus, in between all the great acts on stage, the Direct Supply area will offer 30 senior-focused vendors to peruse. 

Thursday, July 6 – Silgan Community Food Drive

Do good for the world AND your wallet with yet another drive for savings. This time, the first 2,000 attendees who donate three non-perishable food items (canned fruits and veggies are particularly appreciated) to Hunger Task Force at the midgate promotions booth between noon and 3 p.m. will earn free admission for the day.

Friday, July 7 – It's Free with Fritos

This brand new Summerfest admission promo is easy: All attendees who arrive between noon and 6 p.m. will get in free! That's it! Well, that's not entirely it as the first 1,000 attendees through the midgate will also nab a free Fritos and Summerfest bag. Free entry AND free stuff!

Saturday, July 8 – Fan Appreciation Day

What's better than one day of free entry? Two days of free entry! For the final day of the Big Gig, those who arrive between noon and 3 p.m. will get in free courtesy of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. As an added showing of appreciation, attendees will also score an early Summerfest admission ticket for next year's edition as well as an entry ticket for the Big Win drawing, which you should drop into a specially marked bin at the midgate between noon and 3 p.m. for a chance to win. 

In case all of those daily admission promos weren't enough Summerfest savings, the Big Gig offers other ways to wiggle into the World's Largest Music Festival as well. For instance, anyone who donates blood at a Versiti Blood Center location between May 25 and June 15 will earn a free admission ticket for this year's fest. Or you can simply download the Summerfest app, which not only contains all the info you need for the Big Gig but also is offering 15,000 digital admission tickets (one per device) for the first weekend. 

Plus, you can get more than groceries when you shop with a Fresh Perks card at Pick 'n Save or Metro Market between May 24 and June 13. Those who purchase $25 or more of participating items – including Pepsi, Johnsonville, Red Bull, Fritos, Bush's Baked Beans, Koops' Mustard, Good Foods, Dean's Dips and Sargento – on a single trip will earn two free Summerfest admission tickets. For more information on this deal, click here.

For more information on all of the Big Gig's admission promotions and other ways to save, visit Summerfest's website. And for the all the awesome on-stage action awaiting you when you get through the gates, click here for the full day-by-day music schedule

Matt Mueller Culture Editor

As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.

When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.