The cheapskate’s guide to Summerfest
Summerfest is a big deal in Milwaukee, but “deal” might not be the best word to describe it. After parking, tickets, a few drinks, and a favorite food on a stick, the experience can roll up to the cost of an Xbox 360 disc. This can be something of a shock to a city raised on $3 beer specials—and that’s not even counting laying out for a main stage ticket at the Marcus Amphitheater. With the 2012 Big Gig kicking off this afternoon, The A.V. Club offers a few tips to save a little Summerfest scratch.
Finding a discount ticket for Summerfest is like finding hay in a haystack. Between the discount sales, the radio giveaways, and the comps handed out to local corporate sponsors, the only people paying for a full-price ticket should be out-of-towers and time travelers. Summerfest also offers plenty of gate deals too, ranging from price rollbacks to discounts for schlepping in some canned foods for charity. There are also plenty of shuttles to the festival grounds, which solve the problem of paying double digits to park in some dude’s alleyway.
The A.V. Club would never encourage its readership to violate World Festival Inc’s carry-in policies. But not every money-saving idea requires strapping a flask to a body part. You can hit up an off-grounds ATM to avoid the loan-shark-sized fees at the ones on-site. You can take a trash bag into the grounds in case it rains to have a poncho that doesn’t cost $10. Or you can keep empty cups handy to refill at water fountains. (Plus, the cups are an easy way to keep track of how many drinks in you are by how big the cup sleeve being lugged around is.)
Many of the aforementioned shuttles heading into the grounds leave from taverns around town. Those taverns also usually offer specials that allow for two or three drinks for the price of one on the grounds. There are also plenty of taverns within stumbling distance of the festival that want to lure music fans to open their wallets and damage their livers on their way to see ZZ Top (June 30!) Summerfest also has a grand tradition of city shuttle buses loaded with the tipsy heading into the festival, and the downright sloppy heading out to the park-and-ride.