Donning fan shirts and eccentric clothing, Billie Eilish superfans get to Summerfest hours before stage gates open
Diehard fans of singer-songwriter Billie Eilish were sure to arrive at Summerfest hours before amphitheater gates opened, hoping to catch a glimpse of the breakout 17-year-old star before her Saturday night show.
Eilish, known to walk around venues before shows to meet fans, has amassed an impressive following of young listeners who see the singer as an inspiration. Her musical accomplishments contend with even the most seasoned performers: Several of the singer's singles have landed spots on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, her headlining tours have sold out in minutes and fans have streamed her songs billions of times on Spotify.
Those attending Eilish's show at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater, Summerfest's largest stage, were seen walking the grounds Saturday afternoon donning fan T-shirts and eccentric outfits similar to Eilish's own style to gear up for the show.
Two fans who both run Eilish Instagram fan accounts, Jessica Portik of @billies_best_moments and Azza Zjakic of @eyelash__billie, started listening to the singer three years ago, around the time when Eilish first started performing.
They appreciate her unconventional style that stands out from anything else heard on the radio today. Portik referred to Eilish as a musical genius, in part because of her creative use of background noises.
"One of them is a drill from when she was at the dentist — like it's just crazy the kind of artistry that comes out of that girl," Portik said. "She just inspires me in every way."
A group of three friends — Anja Cava, Jackie Borin and Cassidy McGregor of New York — also arrived at the grounds hours before the show wearing coordinated Eilish outfits.
Cava remembered her first Eilish show: A small New York City venue before she had made it big. And just 50 people attended.
"Now, she plays this," Cava said, gesturing to the 23,000-seat amphitheater.
At Saturday's show, Cava said she is looking forward to hearing Eilish's brother and co-writer Finneas O'Connell perform in addition to Eilish.
Though Eilish T-shirts could be seen on superfans throughout the grounds Saturday afternoon, some of Saturday night's showgoers are just casual listeners taking advantage of the sensational singer performing in their backyard.
Brianna Eilenfeldt and Liam Klein came to the festival together and have been listening to Eilish's music frequently for a few months.
"It's very sweet and smoky — kind of an easy, mellow tone," Klein said. "She thinks out her music a lot; everything is really thought out."
Follow Marisa Peryer on Twitter @marisa_peryer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.