For years, the folks inside Summerfest headquarters on Harbor Drive endured criticism from angry music fans who complained that the Big Gig was ignoring established and up-and-coming alt-rock acts.
(Many critics conveniently ignored the fact that several bands fitting that description headed to Europe or were otherwise unavailable during Summerfest's 11-day window.)
When RiverSplash! ended its 20-year run last fall, Summerfest officials saw an open date on the calendar and some corresponding openings in tour schedules.
The VERGE Music Festival was born.
While it won't be mistaken for Lollapalooza or Bonnaroo in terms of marquee acts or ticket prices, the inaugural version of the festival features nearly 30 acts on three stages in the middle of the grounds.
Though headliners Three Days Grace (Friday) and Weezer (Saturday) and solid undercard groups like AFI, The Raveonettes and She & Him bring instant name recognition, a large chunk of the VERGE roster is dedicated to local bands like The championship, Juniper Tar, Invade Rome and Jaill, which hopes to move up the alt-rock ranks this summer.
The festival also will feature the Scion "Battle at the Bubbler" Pro/AM BMX and Sk8board Competition, an invitation-only event hosted by VERGE and produced by 4Seasons Skate Park. Practice sessions are Friday, with the finals slated for Saturday.
As preparation for the VERGE festival culminated on Thursday, Summerfest vice president of entertainment Bob Babisch and his staff -- knowing that RiverSplash! often was hampered by heavy rain -- had an eye on the forecast and high hopes for a successful weekend.
"It should be a lot of fun," Babisch said. "Hopefully, this can be even bigger next year."
2010 VERGE MUSIC FESTIVAL
When: 5 p.m. to midnight Friday, 2 p.m. to midnight Saturday
Where: Maier Festival Park (the Mid-Gate entrance will be used)
Cost: $35 at the gate
5 p.m. -- Red Knife Lottery
6 p.m. -- Nico Vega
7:15 p.m. -- Crash Kings
8:30 p.m. -- Eagles of Death Metal
10 p.m. -- Three Days Grace
5:15 p.m. -- The Wildbirds
6:30 p.m. -- The Championship
7:45 p.m. -- Reni Lane
9 p.m. -- She and Him
5:30 p.m. -- Kink Ador
6:45 p.m. -- Loyal Divide
8 p.m. -- Empires
9:15 p.m. -- 1956
2 p.m. -- Locksley
3:30 p.m. -- Manchester Orchestra
5 p.m. -- The Raveonettes
6:30 p.m. -- Cold War Kids
8 p.m. -- AFI
10 p.m. -- Weezer
3 p.m. -- Figureheads
4:30 p.m. -- Geri X
6 p.m. -- Invade Rome
7:30 p.m. -- Jaill
9 p.m. -- Rogue Wave
2:45 p.m. -- Juniper Tar
4:15 p.m. -- Violetness
5:45 p.m. -- Scarlet Grey
7:15 p.m. -- Pezzettino
9 p.m. -- Revision Text
Other information about VERGE:
Patrons will not be allowed to leave the festival grounds and return without purchasing a new ticket.
Parking for VERGE will be available for a fee in a number of our lots surrounding the festival grounds. Arrive
There will not be special Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) service to the Verge Music Festival. Attendees looking to take public transportation can take regular MCTS Routes 12, 14, 23, 31 or 33 to the Downtown Transit Center located at E. Michigan St. & Lincoln Memorial Drive and walk or bike to the festival grounds. They can also take Routes 11 or 15 to E. Chicago St. in the Third Ward and walk or bike to the grounds. Fare is $2.25 each way for adults, or $1.10 for children (6-11), seniors (65 and older), and disabled persons with proper I.D.
The following items are prohibited on the festival grounds:
- Backpacks and Large bags
- Cans, glass or plastic bottles
- Pets (exception: service animals)
- Laser pointers
- Lawn chairs
- Skateboards (except credentialed competitors)
- Inline skates
- Coaster wagons
- Picnic baskets
- Professional Grade Video Equipment
- Recording devices