Eppstein Uhen Architects will redesign Summerfest's American Family Insurance Amphitheater

Piet Levy
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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A preliminary rendering of a new American Family Insurance Amphitheater, revealed by Summerfest officials in January 2017. Fest officials announced Wednesday that Eppstein Uhen Architects will design the 23,000-capacity venue, budgeted between $30 to $35 million, with more detailed and accurate renderings forthcoming.

Milwaukee firm Eppstein Uhen Architects has landed the contract to design Summerfest's new American Family Insurance Amphitheater.

The 23,000 capacity venue — budgeted between $30 million and $35 million — is tentatively scheduled to replace the current amphitheater in 2020. 

“We are honored to be selected as the lead design architect," EUA CEO Greg Uhen said in a statement. "As the flagship venue for Summerfest, the amphitheater has played a huge role in shaping the Milwaukee music experience over its 31-year span; hosting some of the world’s best artists to sellout crowds. Production complexity and fan expectations have evolved, and I am personally excited to reimagine the American Family Insurance Amphitheater, exploring new possibilities to elevate the experience for decades to come. This is going to be fun.”

The initial discovery phase will begin immediately, with more detailed renderings and a timeline forthcoming.

Don Smiley, CEO for Summerfest's parent company Milwaukee World Festival Inc., announced plans for a new amphitheater last January, when Madison-based American Family Insurance signed on as a 10-year title sponsor of the festival and the Big Gig's primary venue.

The entire facility will be updated, from concessions to the restrooms to the seats to the technology, including sound, lights and video projection, Smiley said at the time. 

RELATED:Summerfest to build new amphitheater sponsored by American Family

EUA has worked extensively with Summerfest, redesigning its south gate entrance and the Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard stage in 2011, designing the 5,000-seat BMO Harris Pavilion in 2012, and redesigning the Miller Lite Oasis stage and mid-gate plaza last year. 

RELATED:Summerfest unveils renovated Miller Lite Oasis during 50th edition opening ceremony

The 110-year-old firm — with more than 200 employees in Milwaukee, Madison, Des Moines and Denver — also redesigned the U.S. Cellular Connection Stage and north gate entrance, both set to open this year.

RELATED:Summerfest reveals new U.S. Cellular stage for 2018

Summerfest will run from June 27 to July 1 and July 3 to 8.

Six shows have been announced so far for the amphitheater: James Taylor with Bonnie Raitt June 28; Halsey and Logic June 29; Florida Georgia Line with Bebe Rexha June 30; Dave Matthews Band July 1; Def Leppard and Journey July 4; and Shawn Mendes July 5.

RELATED:Shawn Mendes set for Summerfest's American Family Insurance Amphitheater July 5

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RELATED:Halsey and Logic co-headline Summerfest's American Family Insurance Amphitheater June 29

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Tickets go on sale for Mendes at 10 a.m. Feb. 24, and are available now for the other shows. 

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