Wisconsin music scene: Summer offers music lovers a variety of concert options, tickets available

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April 8, 2015

By Amber Levenhagen

Lovers of every genre of music can find happiness at any of Wisconsin’s summertime music festivals.

Summerfest

Located at the Henry Maier Festival Park in Milwaukee, Summerfest is considered the world’s largest music festival. With over 800 acts, it hosts a wide array of genres and activities that pull diverse audiences.

Sean Ledvina, a sophomore, regularly attends Summerfest.

“I love just hanging out with my best friends and seeing some of my favorite bands,” Ledvina said.

Even though the festival draws large crowds and often hosts sold out shows, concert-goers sometimes have personal connections with musicians that stand out years after the show.

“One time, the singer of Mute Math came out and sang with me and it was amazing,” Ledvina said.

The festival is held over an 12-day period from June 24 to July 5. Among the list of headliners for this year are The Rolling Stones, Kendrick Lamar and Kings of Leon.

With 11 stages, music is the most popular feature of Summerfest, but the event offers much more than live music. With over 45 food vendors, attendees can sample everything from the traditional to the unorthodox. Notable menu items include pizza cones and fried eggplant strips.

Ticket options range in price and accommodations. A general weekday pass is $12 and increases to $19 after 4 p.m. A three-day pass is $45.

These prices do not include access to the eight headlining acts performing in the Marcus Amphitheater. Tickets to these specific performances are extra, but include general admission to the rest of the festival.

Vans Warped Tour

Also making an annual stop in Milwaukee this summer is the Vans Warped Tour, which Brendon Mendoza, a senior, says is his favorite.

“Warped Tour is my favorite because it has almost every genre,” Mendoza said. “It’s mostly rock, but there are a lot of bands that go to Warped Tour that don’t come around the area any other time.”

Among the list of artists are Never Shout Never, Mod Sun and August Burns Red. This festival might be more appealing to people who prefer alternative and underground music.

Warped Tour travels around the country, stopping to perform in numerous states. It makes its stop in Milwaukee on July 28.

Like Summerfest, Warped Tour offers more than music to its attendees. New to the roster this year is a comedy tent.

Tickets are $34.25 and do not include parking. Located at the Henry Maier Festival Park, parking prices vary depending on proximity.

Vans Warped Tour offers a unique opportunity to attendees. A Skip The Line wristband is available to ticket holders who present a donation to Feed Our Children NOW charity. Donations can take the form of three canned goods, $5 or a used cellphone. Donations will help feed and fund hungry children in each city Warped Tour visits.

Another opportunity Warped Tour offers is free admission to parents who are accompanying their minor child. Proof of relation must be presented and the guardian must be older than 28 years old in order to qualify.

Warped Tour hosts a battle of the bands competition as well. The prize of winning this web-based competition is performing at their citie’s event date. Bands can sign up online, where voting is based on likes and ratings.

Blue Ox Festival

While some of the festivals have an expansive variety of genres and tastes, others are catered to a more particular niche.

An example of this would be the Blue Ox Festival in Eau Claire, about a three-and-a-half-hour drive from Whitewater. Blue Ox is a three-day-long festival that hosts bluegrass artists. Some of their top acts this summer are The Infamous Stringdusters, Greensky Bluegrass and Yonder Mountain String Band.

Located at Whispering Pines campground, Blue Ox attendees are also invited to camp at their 76-acre location, from June 11 to 13. Camping and parking is free and passes can be accessed with a general ticket purchase.

Camp sites are on a first-come, first-serve basis. Price varies depending on demand. At the time of publication the lowest cost for three-day general admission was $150. An extra fee for reserved electrical sites is added to the general admission price, as sites are generally non-electric.

Rebecca Tutcher is a senior majoring in English and minoring in professional writing and publishing, who said she typically goes to festivals two or three times each summer.

“I like [any festival] that’s small and has lots of unknown bands,” Tutcher said. “The people are very interesting, the weather is always nice and I love camping so it’s the best combination of music, camping and good people to be around.”

Country Jam USA

Another example of a targeted festival is Country Jam USA. Also located in Eau Claire, this festival runs between July 23 to 25.

A few of the major acts include Lady Antebellum, Eric Church and Blake Shelton.

Country Jam USA also calls Whispering Pines home and festival goers are welcome to camp.  Both festivals do not allow pets.

Different levels of tickets are available. Ranging from general admission to VIP, attendees are able to pick the package that best fits their needs.

General admission is available for either one or three-day pass, $100 or $160. A student discount drops the three-day pass to $105. Camp sites are an extra fee depending on the desired campsite. At the time of publication, all electrical camp sites are reserved.

Seating is required and chairs are not provided unless a special pass is purchased. Reserved seating in premier locations near the stage and VIP area is available for different days and ranges in price from $175 to $320.

VIP packages are sold as silver, gold, platinum, and ultimate. VIP packages offer complimentary food and drinks as well as exclusive parking.

“Chef carved honey glazed ham, shrimp and cheesy grits, green chili enchiladas, island grilled chicken, beef stroganoff over rice, mashed potatoes, calypso beans, cheddar munchers, green bean casserole, California blend vegetables, KP salad bar, assorted rolls and butter, carrot cake and ice box cheesecake,” stated the official website in regards to the menu for 2014 VIP attendees.

All VIP pass holders are provided the same amenities. Different VIP packages change the location of the allowed VIP seating. Some, like the gold three-day pass, are located closer to the stage. The gold pass is $625 and the silver pass is $575. At the time of publication, the ultimate pass was sold out.

A party pit pass is available for an additional $200. This fee is added on to the ticket fee and allows access to a front of the stage pit. Holders of this pass are able to go to the exclusive pit for every act.

“I would suggest anyone who is interested in any music and camping experience to jump out and go to a festival this summer,” Tutcher said.

Ticket prices can add up fast, especially when living on a college budget. Tickets to each of these events, and every other festival, should be purchased directly through the event either online or at the specified locations.

Tickets purchased from independent vendors are not guaranteed to be legitimate by the festival. The festivals are not responsible for any loss regarding unofficial ticket purchases. Guarantee the validity of tickets, and avoid the potential of losing a significant amount of money from a ticket scam, by printing at home or purchasing online.