Enhanced security policies: No backpacks of any size allowed at Summerfest 2018

MILWAUKEE -- Summerfest officials announced on Thursday, May 31 they are implementing enhancements to the festival's security policies. These updated measures will line up with other major venues and stadiums around the country, for the safety and security of fans and performers.

Sarah Pancheri

The news comes with less than one month until the gates open at Maier Festival Park to more than 850,000 music lovers.

"Anything we can do to make the environment more safe, we're certainly going to do," said Sarah Pancheri, Summerfest Vice President of Sales and Marketing.

The following policies are in effect for Summerfest 2018:

  • All visitors and employees will enter the festival through metal detection and should be prepared to comply with other security screening requirements.
  • All bags will be searched upon entering.
  • NO BACKPACKS OF ANY SIZE are allowed inside Henry Maier Festival Park.
  • NO LARGE BAGS OVER 9X10X12 INCHES are allowed.
  • Cinch bags or small purse/clutch, maximum size 9”x10”x12” will be allowed.
  • If a guest brings ANY type of backpack or bag larger than 9”x10”x12”, they will be instructed to empty the contents into a clear bag provided by Summerfest. The prohibited bag may be donated or the guest can return it to their home or vehicle.
  • There is no storage on site for prohibited items.
  • Special consideration may be taken for parents with infants and those with medical needs.

"A backpack has a lot of different pockets, and those take time to go through," Pancheri said.

That means time away from your favorite performances.

"People bring in any bags and you don't know what's in them, and it causes a back-jam at the entrance because they have to dig through them," said Joel Meyer, a fan of Summerfest.

Also this year, water bottles and CamelBaks are not allowed. Officials say the updated policy is not only designed to keep fans safe, but also to move people through the entrances more efficiently.

"Of course, 11 days of sunshine, great music, great food, great beer; but truly, we want to make the experience as convenient and easy as possible which is really why we're trying to get ahead of this message," Pancheri said.

Fans are advised to arrive early to minimize wait times to enter the Summerfest grounds and to leave all backpacks at home - the “NO BACKPACK” policy will be strictly enforced.

"I think these policies are pretty universal at this point and we don't sense they'll be a surprise to anyone," Pancheri said.

IMPORTANT: Exceptions will be made for parents with infants (diaper bags) and people with medical conditions. This will be handled on a case-by-case basis at the gate.

Any backpacks left at the gate will be donated.

All festival-goers -- employees included -- will be required to enter through a metal detector, much like in previous years.

Drawstring bags will be available for sale on Summerfest’s website. They will also be sold on the grounds.

Summerfest 2018 takes place June 27-July 1 and July 3-8, 2018, closed on July 2.