There's big news coming to the Big Gig bright and early tomorrow morning, as Summerfest sent out a press advisory late last week touting "a new long-term partnership, including stage sponsorship" gearing up an announcement at 6 a.m. on Tuesday. One can safely guess that this new sponsor will take the place of Harley-Davidson, which brought two decades of Summerfest sponsorship to an end last week and left a grounds stage naminng slot for the taking.
That guess is obvious, though, so let's move on to the World's Largest Music Festival's largest mystery: Who is this new elusive sponsor? The notice offers two key clues: It's a local company – whether local extends to the entire state or just Milwaukee is up for you to decide – and it's the first time it's served as a Big Gig sponsor.
With that, Summerfest sleuthes, get to work! And to help get you started cracking the case, I've supplied eight total speculations – from the possible to the preposterous to the downright psychotic – that could be the Big Gig's big get. (And be sure to tune in on Tuesday morning to see if we got it right!)
1. Jack Link's
Remember back in 2018 when people thought Fiserv Forum might be named after this surprisingly local meat and jerky company? Well, Jack Link's may have missed out on the Bucks arena, but the Minong-based, sasquatch-sponsored meat snacks brand could still get its name on the Big Gig. They're a nationwide brand, so they assumably have the cash – and for Summerfest, the aesthetic switch from the tough hog haven of the Roadhouse to the tough meat manufacturer wouldn't require much effort. You'd basically just have to change out the name – which you could even simply change from the Harley-Davidson Roadhouse to the Jack Link's Smokehouse. Though maybe make it a clean break and call it something completely different, like the Jack Link's Meating Spot. Or the Jack Link's Sausage Party. There's plenty of options – but only one choice when it comes to the new spot's opening act:
Kohler is one of the largest and most famous companies in the entire state; why wouldn't a big company like that want to finally get in on the Big Gig? I would revamp the entire stage – it's one of the few that hasn't gotten a makeover on the grounds, after all, and I've always thought the Roadhouse and the Big Backyard were too similar – and make it look clean, shiny and pristinely white. And as the name, how about the Kohler Porcelain Pavilion? OK, that does sound like just a fancy term for a big bathroom – but it's a start!
Half the people at Summerfest are basically just wearing underwear anyways, so let's get an underwear company in on the Big Gig – one of the most famous underwear companies that turns out to be a local brand, at that! Yes, Jockey's HQ can be found right here in Wisconsin – Kenosha, to be exact. As for the all-important name, I recommend the Jockey Under There, so that people will say, "The Jockey under where?" And you just made them accidentally namedrop Jockey underwear. Why yes, I am a child, and yes, all of my jokes come from mostly forgotten Barenaked Ladies song lyrics.
The only problem: Jockey was a sponsor of Family Day at Summerfest – but that was almost a decade ago and definitely not to the level of a stage sponsorship, so maybe they just forgot.
4. Drink Wisconsinbly
When it comes to local companies, they don't get much more local than Drink Wisconsinbly, which turned Sconnie fandom and lifestyle into a wildly popular brand and even a bar inside Milwaukee's shiny new Downtown arena district. The only thing missing in their quest for Wisconsin culture dominion? A place at the Big Gig – something they could amend on Tuesday with the announcement of the Rock Wisconsinbly Stage, sponsored by Drink Wisconsinbly. It even just sounds right.
You're hopefully stocking up on lip balm for the dry fall and winter weather as we speak – but did you know Carmex is actually made right here in Wisconsin? Yes, you can thank the Franklin-based company for keeping your lips fresh during our harsh winter months – and maybe you can thank them for keeping your lips singing during the summer with a new stage sponsorship deal? I say call it the Carmex CoLIPSeum. Maybe you can get The Flaming Lips to play there on opening night too – though scorched lips are kind of the exact opposite of what the company aims to do.
6. Ma Baensch
Pickled herring may be a polarizing dish in Milwaukee, but there's one thing we can all agree on: Ma Baensch is an essential local icon. And it should have a Summerfest stage to prove it! Think of the branding possibillties: calling the nearby seating "baensches," renaming the stage The Pond, rebranding the ringing in your ears after standing too close to the speakers "herring loss." There's a lot of potential here – at least for puns, that is.
Milorganite could use some rebranding. Right now, the local fertilizer company is most famous for making your trip over the Hoan Bridge smell like wet farts. So what better way to change public perception than to be asssociated with a different and far more enjoyable sensory overload: Summerfest! Plus, you can literally see the Milorganite factory from the festival grounds; why not bring the company actually onto the grounds? You could call the new stage The Big Stink, sponsored by Milorganite – or maybe the Milorganite Stanktuary! Smells like a winner here!
SURPRISE! The bad news: We're not using the stage for concerts and instead are using it exclusively for watching "The Bachelor." I should not have been put in charge of this operation.
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.