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Summerfest shows off new BMO Harris Pavilion site

MILWAUKEE — Summerfest officials gave the public on Monday, April 30th its first look at the newest covered stage at Henry Maier Festival Park. It is the new BMO Harris Pavilion — and is located at the old classic rock stage location (next to the Marcus Amphitheater).

The project features a wave-inspired roof, which will cover more than an acre of space (approximately 50,000 square feet).  It will utilize modern lighting techniques to highlight and accentuate the structural design attributes, John Boler, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Summerfest said.

“When you walk into the new pavilion to watch a show, what you’ll see right away when you look up is all of the steel that’s hanging on the ceiling, and what that’s there for is a band brings in production, lights, sound, set and they can hang that off the roof,” Bob Babisch, VP of Entertainment for Summerfest said.

The stage area will feature state-of-the-art production capabilities coupled with a contoured seating bowl to enhance attendees’ viewing experience and sightlines. The stage will feature large video screens to bring close-up imagery of the performers, along with permanent seats, bleachers with back rests and a lakeside bar with views of the stage.

“When you design a place like that, you design it for the fans and have good things for the band, so they say ‘I had a really good time. I’m coming back,’ and they talk to other bands and say that’s the place to go,” Babisch said.

The estimated capacity for the area is approximately 10,000. About 5,000 can be under the roof.

Summerfest officials say the open-air covered entertainment facility is part of a five-year sponsorship extension with BMO Harris Bank. The project also brought construction jobs to the area. “A construction project of this magnitude does a great job in helping create jobs for our area, and also, opportunities for laborers throughout the entire southeast Wisconsin,” John Boler, Vice President of Sales and Marketing for Summerfest said.

The new stage will be ready for opening day of Summerfest on June 27th.

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