Workers are making progress over at the Henry Maier Festival Park on a number of projects, but down at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater – which is the biggest job – part of the roof has been successfully raised.
And the roof is higher than ever. At the previous amp iteration, the roof seemed pretty high up already at 39 feet. But now the roof soars to a whopping 65 feet, which allows for larger productions on the new stage, meaning that Summerfest has the capacity to handle even more big touring acts.
You can read more about the new amp and see renderings here.
Summerfest is also currently building a new Uline Warehouse Stage at the north end of the grounds.
"The roof lift was one of the most complex elements of the building project, and one of the most important, as it will allow us to host the world’s largest tours," said Don Smiley, president and CEO of Milwaukee World Festival, Inc., in a statement Tuesday morning.
"The Amphitheater has seen its share of legends over the years, and by raising the roof, we will continue to attract top talent ensuring Summerfest remains a driver of economic impact and tourism for Wisconsin."
According to Summerfest officials, about half of the current roof – about 24,100 square feet, or half an acre – was lifted, using eight lifting motors. The section, which juts from the stage out over what you might remember as reserved sections 1, 2 and 3, weighs 607,000 pounds.
The first phase of the project is on schedule, according to Summerfest officials, and next on the docket is completion of the new backstage building, which includes dressing rooms and other back of house facilities. This first phase is slated to be ready for Summerfest 2019, June 26-July 7.
Once this year's Big Gig is behind us, phase two – which includes new hospitality area, better ADA accessibility, a new seating bowl, more concourse space and other features – is set to begin, with completion planned for Summerfest 2020.
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 can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.