‘Monumental task:’ American Family Insurance Amphitheater roof raised to 65 feet

MILWAUKEE -- After more than 30 years, a popular music venue in Milwaukee is reaching new heights. Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. officials announced Tuesday, Feb. 5 that a portion of the American Family Insurance Amphitheater's roof was raised to almost twice the height, from 39 feet to 65 feet.

"Lifting of the roof was a monumental task -- something that is rarely seen," said Joel Becker of Hunzinger Construction Company.

The lift expands stage production capabilities, offering the opportunity for the American Family Insurance Amphitheater to host larger and more complex tours.

"It's going to be like a brand new building," said Don Smiley, Summerfest president and CEO.

American Family Insurance Amphitheater

American Family Insurance Amphitheater

After four hours, the 607,000 pound roof was set in place.

"Connected with existing columns and pulled the roof up from above instead of pushing it up from below," Becker said.

Phase One of the project also includes revamped dressing rooms -- ready in time for this season's concerts. That also means larger and more complex shows in the future.

"Many acts want to have 60 feet of clear space above the stage to accommodate their video screens," Becker said.

American Family Insurance Amphitheater

In Phase Two, new food and beverage options will be added, along with remodeled restrooms and increased ADA accessibility.

"This facility will be one of the finest in the country," Becker said.

"We're really preparing this building for the generations to come," Smiley said.

American Family Insurance Amphitheater

The grand opening for the redesigned amphitheater is scheduled for Summerfest 2020.

PHOTO GALLERY (renderings of amphitheater redesign)

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