Summerfest 2019: Fresh faces, familiar names and the acts we thought would be there but won't
Summerfest announced a whopping 133 headliners Tuesday for the 2019 edition of the world's largest music festival in Milwaukee.
And there were several surprising gets — and equally surprising omissions — in the lineup, plus plenty of familiar faces.
Here's a breakdown.
They're back … again
The Minneapolis-based hip-hop duo will, again, headline a daylong showcase for artists on their Rhymesayers Entertainment label, including returning players Brother Ali and Sa-Ro, on July 6.
We honestly thought Summerfest would nab T.I. as one of its veteran rapper bookings, considering he's playing Ravinia in Highland Park, Ill., July 2. No such luck, but Ludacris is back, on June 29. Considering Luda doesn't perform all that often these days, local Luda lovers should consider themselves lucky.
THIRD EYE BLIND
Milwaukee's Blind fans have to admit their lives are more than "semi-charmed." This is the third year in a row Third Eye Blind is headlining a Summerfest stage.
Summerfest has expanded its EDM roster in recent years, but the DJ lineup is a bit lacking this year, with Steve Aoki again the biggest name. (Fans will still pack his stage, hoping to get Aoki's famous sheet cake slammed in their faces.)
Practically every year, Summerfest either books Styx or former Styx frontman Dennis DeYoung. This time, it's Styx's turn.
Wait, they're not playing?!
We had to do a double take when we didn't see Vassar's name on the lineup list. He plays pretty much every year, and the last time he skipped Summerfest he was playing the Wisconsin State Fair instead. He's not playing the fair, though, and not set for Summerfest — as of now, anyway.
STEVE MILLER BAND
The Milwaukee-born Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is playing Ravinia July 2, but he's skipping his hometown festival.
The Milwaukee-born band is really busy this year, touring with X and Ben Folds this year, and doing some one-off dates. But there's no Femmes appearance at Summerfest (although X is playing the Big Gig).
THE LONELY ISLAND
According to Bob Babisch, it was an 11th-hour booking. But Andy Samberg's comedy trio is the Big Gig's most welcome get, and certainly the funniest. They're performing June 28 (opposite T-Pain — fingers crossed for an "I'm On A Boat" collaboration!).
This year's Summerfest is lacking when it comes to fresh and hot hip-hop talent, but it's nice to see socially conscious Chicago-based rapper Vic Mensa, praised by A-listers like Jay Z and Kanye West, in the lineup. He'll perform July 4.
Led by Lauren Mayberry, the Scottish synthpop group skipped Milwaukee for several years as the group's star started to rise. The band has been hitting the market more regularly in the past few years, and will play Summerfest for the first time July 2.
The acclaimed alternative-rock band was a Lollapalooza headliner last year. This year, they're a Summerfest headliner June 30, but you won't have to pay more to see them in the amphitheater.
Piet also talks concerts, local music and more on "TAP'd In" with Jordan Lee. Hear it at 8 a.m. Thursdays on WYMS-FM (88.9), or wherever you get your podcasts.